180 Degrees to Tofino
Sometimes you do not have a plan. You bounce from one place to another or from one opportunity to the next- stepping through open doors and spinning on heels in the face of closed ones. Mitch and I love living this way. There is always movement, yet a peace within its rhythm. Our Vancouver adventure, however, did not start out like this.
We had a plan. It was a loose plan, yet it involved location changes, steps forward with regards to certain areas of our lives, and a reorganization of other priorities. All in all, we wanted this blueprint to enable us for the bouncing, moving, vibrations of flying by the seat of our pants like we are accustomed to.
Long, arduous story short, the plan completely fell through. Due to the lovely United States Customs and Border Patrol, we were not able to cross through the border into Washington (if you do not already know I am American and Mitch is Canadian). Road-tripping down the west coast and setting up shop in Santa Barbara, where I am currently typing, was no longer an option for the two of us.
After spending almost five hours hanging out in the no-man’s land between Canada and the United States (which I now see more as purgatory), we made our way back to Vancouver in Mitch’s truck. Thanks to the officers, it was reorganized nicely and I did not have to reach far if I wanted to, say, grab a pair of my pants or sift through my other belongings that were strewn about the cab.
Over the next week between canceling leases, rearranging living situations, and coming up with various nicknames for the acronym “CBP” that was embroidered on the hats of the officers who turned us away, we actually had plenty of fun. Even though we were restricted north of Washington, we kept our freedom, ate it too, and made our way to Vancouver Island via ferry.
The island was the perfect place to flee when we were no longer sure where to run. Thick trees nestled against each other right to the ocean’s edge. At the base of mountains, bodies of fresh water rested as emerald as they were serene. Life seemed to move a bit slower. We cruised along the windy, coastal highway like we usually do: windows down, an arm or foot extended and catching the breeze, and stopping often to relish a view or snap a photo (or take a potty break, let’s be real). There were some charming places accessible by vehicle, but the extraordinary finds took veering off the road, hiking through the bush, and getting our feet wet.
Asking a local is always the best bet for getting native dirt underneath your nails. A gentleman in the quaint surf town of Tofino did not lead us astray. Instead, he directed us to a trail where we trekked through muddy rain forest complete with fallen-tree walking and rope-assisted climbing, all aided by hanging buoys to mark the overgrown path. Generally the best views are found at the end of a hike, though this one continually delivered throughout, and proceeded to culminate at a jaw-dropping beach.
The stretch of sand was massive, to say the least, and completely abandoned. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you arrive at an empty, secluded beach on a beautiful September day? Bingo. Ditch your clothes like a 7 am class, run in and out of the frigid water screaming like a three year old, and draw sloppy mandalas in the sand. The only thing you have to worry about when you are the only people on a vacant beach is, eventually, other people will show up. Words of advice- keep your clothes nearby.
A few beaches later, clothed and amped up on too many days of oatmeal-gogi-cacao-tailgate porridge, Mitch and I got into an argument about how Mitch cannot lose. We decided to settle the tiff with a football-throwing contest. I know, childish… but joking aside, we have learned how to resolve disputes quickly and efficiently (on our third date we got into a quarrel about the best hard cider, which we settled immediately with multiple bottles of the amber stuff, a headband that aided as a blindfold, and smelling coffee grounds in between to “cleanse the palate”… go figure).
We commenced the throwing contest to prove Mitch is a poor loser, though it may have backfired just slightly, which is pretty consistent of every bet I have ever made with the guy. I lost the distance contest, though I was not going to roll over that easily. I proceeded to argue how because he went first the football had already landed in wet sand, its slippery surface making it more difficult to launch. This perfectly explained why his first throw was the best out of all of them.
Mitch proposed we would walk down the beach and back. Then, when the football was dry, he would gift me one more throw. Not surprisingly, my post-walk throw still did not reach his line in the sand. I told him my arm was not warm anymore due to the cloudy, coastal air. My muscles had seized up. Okay, okay… I am quite possibly the worst loser in the world. Except for Border Patrol employees.
After a few days in the city of Vancouver itself and then a week exploring the island, it was time to return to a new life in separate countries. However, upon returning both of us simply refused to accept this new arrangement. Just like our bets, we quickly came up with a strategy. Some may think it is wild and borderline crazy. To them I would say we smell coffee grounds, skinny-dip in freezing-ass water, squeeze inside jokes into conversations with unknowing strangers, and spontaneously race through doorways all for the win. Wild and borderline crazy is our jam.
That being said, our Australian work visas were approved yesterday morning. HASH TAG EXCITEMENT. We fly out in one month and are ready for an adventure held together by dreams of exploring new territories and visions of cruising yet another coast, this time on the other side of the road and globe. Most importantly, there is a deliberate lack of plans. Cheers, friends, to the unknown.
(photo credit: Mitchell Taylor)