My First Month Of Solo Travel And Summer Plans

How have I found my first month of solo travel and what exciting plans have I got in line for the summer? Read on to find out…

Where have I been?

I spent two weeks in Vancouver

A week in the picture perfect capital of British Columbia, Victoria

A week in the cool and edgy US city of Seattle

I have honestly found numerous great things to do in all three cities and have lots of tips and photographs to come.

At the moment, I still have more posts to do on Vancouver, but Victoria and Seattle will feature much more in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

How have I found solo travel?

Overall, I like it. I have enjoyed the flexibility of solo travel and have met some great people along the way.

In Vancouver there were always people in my dormitory to chat to and spend time with – and I have met numerous other solo travellers.

A great way of meeting people was going on group tours, such as the Capilano trip I took…

I also visited the quaint Steveston Village in the Richmond area of Vancouver to meet up with one of my readers Darlene Foster, a children’s author and fellow blogger, who turned out to be just as lovely, friendly and interesting as she seemed to be online.

Before having coffee with Darlene, I spent the morning discovering this historic location and have a post in the pipeline on its interesting heritage and modern-day bustling fish market.

It was the same once I reached Victoria. There were plenty of people to hang around with and chat to.

Then I arrived in Seattle and although the hostel, Green Tortoise, was absolutely amazing (review to come shortly) the people in the dormitory were initially mostly couples and I found myself spending much more time alone.

Particularly at night, I did not feel comfortable walking around by myself.

But then a fun-loving Aussie girl showed up and before I knew it I was knocking back way too many rums, befriending somebody who turned out to be the wife of one of the bartenders and having a great night out with new friends.

The thing about solo travel is, you have the independence to do what you want and there are always opportunities to make new friends if you want to.

Although you will often be alone and this needs to be something you are okay with.

I sometimes feel slightly uncomfortable sitting in a restaurant by myself, but after a while this does not bother me as much.

Becoming adaptable is key to making the most of solo travel.

What next?

Working on a farm

From June 12th – July 3rd I am working on a blueberry farm on Vancouver Island through Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF). This is a work exchange in return for meals and accommodation.

What will I be doing?

I will be expected to carry out 30 hours of gardening and farm work a week – everything from weeding and shovelling to helping with the maintenance of the blueberries.

I have never done anything like this before so am looking forward to the new experience.

Two week holiday

My lovely boyfriend is visiting from England in mid-July and we will be staying in Vancouver along with spending time in Whistler and the popular surfing town of Tofino on Vancouver Island.

Another visit to Vancouver

Spotting beluga whales, polar bears and other wildlife in Manitoba

From July 31st -August 6th I am excited to be discovering Canada’s wilderness by joining the Canadian Tourism Commission on a safari-style trip to the province of Manitoba.

The tour begins in Winnipeg on July 31st, the home of the Hudson Bay Record and the under-construction Museum of Human Rights.

The next stage is a safari for black and brown bears, elk and moose in Riding Mountain National Park, followed by a Gorge Creek hike and an evening dinner cruise on the Martese.

After another early-morning safari, for some more wildlife-spotting opportunities, it is off to Churchill on the Hudson Bay.

Here I will get to discover the roads and trails in and around Churchill, take a Beluga whale and Hudson Bay Fort boat tour and have a go at evening dog carting.

Snorkelling and kayaking is next, depending on the weather conditions, with a tundra buggy ride to look out for polar bears.

The trip ends with a tour of the Eskimo Museum.

I am unbelievably excited about being able to visit and share this part of Canada with you all.

Calgary and the Rockies

I will be spending the rest of the summer in the Rockies, after having a few days in Calgary following the Manitoba tour. My plans will include lots of hiking and visits to Banff, Lake Louise and possibly Jasper.

Moving east…

I am keeping my options open for the final couple of months of my travels. But my aim currently is to make it east, seeing Montreal, Toronto and maybe even the Maritimes.

Hopefully I can fit in a week in New York at some point as well and I am keeping my fingers crossed that my sister can visit me here.

One month down, five more to go…

What do you think of my summer plans? Has anybody worked on a farm through WWOOF before?

 

 

18 Comments

  1. June 6, 2012 / 02:43

    I hope you manage to squeeze in the Maritimes. It is one of the prettiest and most unique areas in Canada.
    Sheila recently posted..WhyMy Profile

    • June 6, 2012 / 15:48

      Me too, I especially want to get to Nova Scotia because of the Scottish heritage, as I’m half Scottish. I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and try to make it happen.

  2. June 6, 2012 / 03:50

    Your plans look fabulous. So glad you will be going on the Manitoba tour. It will be amazing. Have fun at the Blueberry Farm! (BTW thanks for the mention)

    • June 6, 2012 / 15:42

      Thanks Darlene and sorry I put Phillips! Quickly realised this was wrong. I had a memory lapse and then Arlene Phillips must have popped into my head. She’s a dance judge on a TV show in England. Ah, my brain :-) The Blueberry farm should be an interesting experience. I’m worried I won’t be too useful, but going to give everything my best.

    • June 6, 2012 / 15:43

      Definitely going to be busy, just how I like it. And the three weeks on the farm should be like a weight-loss boot camp, which is another bonus. That’s if I don’t do my back in :-)

  3. June 6, 2012 / 12:31

    Wow that month has flown by! Really enjoying reading about your Canadian adventures so far and those plans – especially the Manitoba tour – sound fantastic.
    Lucy recently posted..Weekending: Sorrento in ItalyMy Profile

    • June 6, 2012 / 15:46

      Cheers Lucy, I am like an excitable kid over this trip and hope to do it justice with lots of posts and pics. The beluga whales was one of the top things I wanted to see when planning Canada, but wasn’t sure I’d make it to Churchill initially.

  4. gina till
    June 8, 2012 / 07:53

    Great blog ali, really interesting and sounds lke you are having a fabulous time.
    Wish I was travelling with you this time around.

    gxxx

    • June 8, 2012 / 22:05

      Thanks G, it would be great if you were travelling with me this time, ha ha. It was so much fun in Australia! I can’t wait for Dublin in November.

  5. gina till
    June 8, 2012 / 07:53

    Great blog ali, really interesting and sounds lke you are having a fabulous time.
    Wish I was travelling with you this time around.

    gxxx

  6. June 8, 2012 / 20:09

    Wow looks like a busy summer. I am quite interested to see if you do actually see polar bears in the summer. I somehow (perhaps wrongly though) think of them as wintery animals. Glad you had some really pretty weather to see Vancouver. That and Seattle are both places I would love to get back to.
    Andrew recently posted..Becoming an Expat to EscapeMy Profile

    • June 8, 2012 / 22:02

      I thought the same thing about the polar bears, but they are around in the summer to see – just in different locations. The sunny weather in Vancouver was pure luck I think. There was even a bit of sun in Seattle and it was really humid sometimes.

  7. June 18, 2012 / 00:03

    Just stumbled across your blog – funny, I’m a Brit literally just up the road from you, living in Courtenay. :) I’ve been here about seven months now. Qualicum is a lovely place to be, in fact, this whole island is a beautiful and fantastic place to stop for a few weeks/months/years ;) Have a great time WWoofing.

    • June 19, 2012 / 00:57

      Hey Gemma, cheers and happy you found my blog! Qualicum is a great and quirky place. I’ve spent most of the time on the farm, which is stunning, but visited places such as the ‘goats on the roof’ and all the hippy shops around it.

      • June 20, 2012 / 21:09

        Haha, I work with someone from Qualicum and it just so happens that she’s the craziest hippiest (if thats a word) person I know! Maybe something in the water? If you haven’t already, make sure you get some ice-cream from shops by the Goats….over a hundred different flavours, pretty incredible and very yummy. If you decide to come north at any point, drop me a line, I haven’t met any other travelling Brits in this area. :)
        Gemma recently posted..Driving the Croatian Coast – a mixed experienceMy Profile

        • June 21, 2012 / 00:13

          The only place I’ve ever visited that was on the same hippy scale was Byron Bay in Australia. It’s fun being here though and I tried some of the ice cream at the goats on the roof the other day. That place is so quirky, all of the little shops and the statues at the back.