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A weekend getaway in Squamish

For RD’s birthday, I rented us a cabin about an hour north of Vancouver in the Upper Squamish Valley (and about 25km off the main Sea-to-Sky highway) through AirBnB.

We brought our own groceries with us and made most of our own meals in the cabin. This saved a ton – but also we were about a 25 min. drive from any store, so it made sense to bring everything with us anyway.

Friday after work, we left Vancouver and headed into Squamish for dinner at the Howe Sound Brew Pub. Cait happened to be in town at the same time, as well as a few Toronto gals I knew who were there for a conference, so it was nice to run into them and have a bit of a catch up!

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We didn’t stay too long at the pub though, because we wanted to get to our cabin before it got dark. The cabin itself was super cute and did not disappoint. It was located on a small hobby farm very close to Cloudburst Mountain, and just a short walk down to the Squamish River. This was probably one of my favourite AirBnB stays because the hosts were super nice people, and the area is so beautiful. Plus the tiny cabin was perfect – and it made us start thinking about what kind of cabin we’d like to own in the future. (If you’re ever thinking of staying in the area and would like more info on this listing, send me a message!)

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The next morning we went for a walk and explored Anderson Beach. I love places like this where there’s no one else around, and you can just relax. We spent a couple hours at the beach without seeing a single person, but as we were walking back to the cabin, the parade of cars started rolling in. It’s always worth getting up a little early! :)

In the afternoon, we hopped in the car and headed up a few logging roads to explore the area a little more. There are a bunch of great hikes I’ve always wanted to do in the area (and we even found a couple local trails neither of us had heard of before), so it was nice to check out the roads we’d have to take to get there this summer.

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Sunday morning we had a leisurely morning as we sipped coffee on the porch.

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Then it was off to meet Cait for a walk around Alice and Stump Lake – and then lunch at a cute restaurant in Brackendale.

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This was a really nice weekend break from city life, and even though poor RD was sick the entire time, we made the best of the time we had. :) This year of local travel has been pretty successful so far, and we’ll definitely be back this summer to get into the mountains and explore.

March happenings

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been weeks since I last wrote here. It’s been a nutty, stressful month at work – lots of overtime, and surprisingly a lot of freelance opportunities have also come up. But aside from work, any free time I’ve had has been spent enjoying the outdoors and with friends and family. Here’s a quick update on the happenings around here:

Vacation!

I’m currently writing this post from Tofino while RD surfs and I rest my tired running legs. I haven’t been here since 2011, and can’t believe how much fun the trip has been so far. It helps that RD and I had the same sort of vacation in mind – to be outside and active as much as possible.

Thursday night we took the ferry to Vancouver Island and drove straight to Tofino, arriving pretty late at night. It was a crappy drive, but waking up Friday morning already in Tofino was pretty great. RD went out for a morning surf, and I did a slow 8.5km run on Chesterman Beach. In the afternoon, we went on a couple long walks – one to Schooner’s Cove, and the other on Chesterman. By the end of the night, my legs had covered 21km of ground. :)

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Saturday morning started out much like Friday – RD went out surfing, and I went for a 9.5km run on the beach. After that, we headed into town to run a few errands, explored Tonquin Park, and then met up with my friends for a walk on the beach and then dinner at a pub on the pier. My daily output was 18km of running and walking.

Sunday morning (today) we drove down to Ucluelet to tackle the Wild Pacific Trail. I didn’t realize it was rated Trip Advisor’s #3 attraction on Vancouver Island, but the views were pretty stunning. :) The round trip hike was just 9km of easy hiking, but I really enjoyed it. Tonight we plan on hitting up Tacofino, and will try to catch the sunset at Chesterman Beach. Tomorrow we’ll be packing up and visiting my uncle in Nanaimo before heading to Powell River to visit with RD’s friends and his grandma for 2 or 3 nights. Hope your Easter long weekend has been filled with fresh air and family! :)

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Work

Freelancing has been going well. I banked $4,350 in freelance income so far this month, with another $700 to be paid out in the next week. I’ve also secured a couple more contracts for next month, which should bring in about $3,000. I’m really pleased with securing both repeat clients as well as attracting new companies I’ve never worked with before. :)

As for my full-time job, I received a small 2.5% raise last week. It’s not much, but nice to see a little boost to my salary. In terms of workload, it’s been busy. A major person in our marketing team moved across the country and is now part of the eastern team – so our little group has to absorb her workload for a while until we can determine if/when we need to replace her. That has resulted in overtime every day for me, but the good news about that is I’m banking more hours (which means more vacation time).

Miscellaneous

  • I’ve been indoor climbing 3x/week lately, and it has been really fun. We’ve been making progress up to 5.10d and 5.11a routes… although RD will be gone for an entire month for work starting in May, so I suspect our progress will be severely stunted. :)
  • We are planning an epic road trip for October. We have both individually wanted to travel north for years, and with the dollar keeping our vacations within Canada this year, it seems like the perfect time to go. So we’ll likely be taking 3 weeks in October, loading up my car, and heading north. I’m very excited to hike and explore the Northern BC and Yukon area. If you’re from the north or if you’ve traveled there, I’ll be calling on you for travel tips and suggestions, as I’ve not been farther north than Dawson Creek!
  • As a side expense to this road trip, I’ll finally need to invest in new tires for my car (and maybe a full-sized spare one for the trip) = $$$

I have so many blog post ideas (seriously, you should see how many drafts I have lined up here), and I can’t wait to start writing them and getting back into a blogging routine. :)

Keeping travel local this year

10399796_161454925247_6688913_nI really wanted to do a big trip this year – somewhere fun and exotic! Last year I went to Cuba, the year before was Hawaii, and the year before that was France & Morocco. But with the weak Canadian dollar (and my goal to save 50% of my income this year), it just didn’t make financial sense to go anywhere too crazy … so I’m making a conscious effort to travel locally this year. Or at least within Canada and the PNW region. :)

With that in mind, RD and I just booked our first vacation of the year! Next month we’ll be taking off to beautiful Tofino on Vancouver Island. It just so happens that a couple of good friends and their kid will be up there at that time too, so will be nice to hang out with them. After Tofino, we’ll be hopping on a ferry up to Powell River to visit a few of his friends and family.

This is still going to be an expensive trip. Tofino is not cheap – but we booked accommodation through VRBO.com with a full kitchen so we can cook most of our meals. And in Powell River we’ll be able to stay for free. Still though, I anticipate the week will cost us around $1,000 each.

Other vacation happenings for the year include my family’s annual trip to Seattle for the Blue Jays series (will be pricey!), at least one or two trips to Toronto for freelance work, and I’ll be taking some time off at Christmas. We’ve also talked about going up north to RD’s hometown for a visit at some point this year. Ideally I’d like to carry some vacation forward to 2017, but it looks pretty unlikely as I only get 4 weeks off.

What are your vacation plans for the year?

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