blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures

If I were to narrow it down to the most valuable thing that I learnt from our working holiday in Whistler, it would be gratitude. Although I had some understanding of what gratitude was, I had never truly practiced it.

Gratitude: noun [mass noun]
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness

When Jordan and I arrived home, I felt overwhelmed. The sincere love and support we received from family was so special. I had a new appreciation for where we lived and the home that we had created. We came home healthy despite travelling through the peak of Covid-19 and stayed safe during our trips up the mountains. We grew as individuals and, for that, our relationship is stronger than ever. We overcame obstacles and challenges that were thrown our way and I wouldn’t change anything about our trip, for it has made me the person I am today, and for that, I am blessed.

Part 3/3 – March 2020

“adventure is out there”

If you haven’t checked out my short film on our trip into Canada, you should, it’s great, the links here

On another note, hello Vancouver!

By the time we got to the hotel, the sun had retired for the day and my tummy was starting to grumble. Although my entire being just wanted to flop onto the giant, white, fluffy marshmallow conveniently placed in the centre of the room, I fought through the pain, grabbed my purse and headed out the door.

As you may have seen from my video, Jordan and I were staying at The Burrard, conveniently on Burrard Street. The friendly host at reception suggested we checkout Davie St for a meal, being it quite close with an array of options. We went with his recommendation and made ourselves comfortable at a table in Banana Leaf. We chose well and were awarded mounds of fried rice and stir-fry vegetables. The waitress kindly warned us that the dried chilli’s in Jordan’s meal were extremely hot. Sleepy and incapable of heeding her words, we both grabbed a chilli and bit into it with passion. I was fine at first, but then as the heat intensified so did my desire to complete the challenge…whatever that actually was in the first place…

About ten solid minutes later, some crying, some laughing, some crying again and some sugar and water, I was able to eat my meal in peace. Oh boy, that must have been hilarious to Jordan whom spat his chilli back onto the plate mid-bite;  I really showed him.

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The next morning after a dreamy sleep, we started our exploring. We found this cute bistro on Granville Street, Twisted Fork, where we filled our bellies with baked eggs and percolated Canadian coffee.

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Over the next couple days we walked a lot of the city. We spent some time setting up our Canadian bank accounts and our SIN for our jobs in Whistler. We also looked at a lot of snowboard gear, as I was new to the scene. We looked around Gastown and perused the markets of Granville Island. We took full advantage of our complimentary Steve Nash gym passes that we received from The Burrard. We also gave the hotels’ free bike hire a spin and zoomed down to Stanley Park; we rode all the way round! I was really proud of myself, as I hadn’t ridden a bike for many years; it was a success!

We took a second day to visit Stanley Park, with intent of exploring more inland. We spotted a couple squirrels scurrying through the parklands and admired the autumn leaves. I think the reason that I really loved Stanley Park was because of how peaceful and serene the environment was, even being in the middle of the city; a very enjoyable and wonderful way to spend our last day in Vancouver.

Click here to see Stanley Park from my eyes behind the handlebars

italy / day eight / matera

After all the pasta and breads, olive oil and wine, I was so excited to get to the well equiped hotel gym downstairs, that I barely slept! Jordan and I headed down to basement and I had a really good arms session. We had a quick shower and then enjoyed a westernised style breakfast buffet, whilst going over plans for the day. Today we were going to Matera, in the small region of Basilicata, approximately an hour, by train, out of Bari. The ancient neighbourhood, namely Sassi, are a series of caverns carved out of limestone, nestled in a small canyon.

On arrival, we picked up a map of the Sassi and a punnet of strawberries for our journey. We soon made sense of the layout, breaking it up into a distinct New Town, Old Town, and in my opinion, Very Old Town. The train station is higher up and you could basically follow any of the streets down towards the main square. From there, it’s more of a wander and get lost kind of situation. I loved this, as the small number of tourists that were there just dispersed and you were solely there to immerse yourself in the seemingly small, but literally huge Sassi.

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Mid afternoon refuel of pizza bread and fruit smoothie, and we were back exploring the Sassi. Closer to the ravine, deeper into the town, there were many empty grottoes ready for me to explore; semi fenced off but not really.

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After farewelling the enchanting Matera, we ate at one of the only eateries we could find in Bari, Tankard Gastropub. We put some washing on at the laundromat across the road, whilst eating some delicious ribs and salad. The person manning the venue was lovely and so helpful with the menu, even though he couldn’t speak a drop of english. It was one of the tastiest meals we had.

To this day, Matera is one of the most incredible, absolutely magical places I’ve ever been and is seriously underrated. If you’re going to Italy and not sure whether to go, as it is a bit out of the way, I’m telling you now, it is 110% worth it.

honeymoon day four

After a refreshing nights sleep, we headed to breakfast with a motivation to do some exercise. We filled our bellies and borrowed some tennis gear. It was hot. We pumped ourselves up with some Pnau, Chameleon in particular, and some pre-workout (yes – I packed pre-workout in my suitcase, so what) and started hitting back an forth. It didn’t take long for the sweat to start pouring off of us.  Soon enough, it was time to hop on a boat and head to a deserted island for a picnic. _DSC9576_DSC9583

The resort organised us boat transport to the island, with a small esky of baguettes, some nibbles, a rug and an an icy cold bottle of wine. After Jordan had his fun on the swing, we had lunch then went for a walk through the jungle. We even ran into some locals with machetes (not scary at all). We tried doing some snorkelling but unfortunately, there wasn’t too much to see on this side. So we lazed on the beach awaiting our boat.

Once back on Efate, I grabbed my backpack and new hiking boots and we walked down to the closest village. There were nice big houses closest to the resort, but as we kept walking,  the scenery changed. Besides the many goats that were tied up to trees and roaming chickens, there wasn’t much else happening. Perhaps it was the time of day or maybe season, but it was surprising. We hadn’t yet seen how poor Vanuatu actually was. Most of the buildings were tin or looked to be only half completed (maybe in light of the recent hurricane). But I was shocked. As we started to enter the village, we met up with a staff member that worked at the resort. He had cut through on a different pathway. He walked with us and took us through the village, pointing out his home, church and other places. It was most enjoyable talking with him and learning about his community and culture.

Cutting back through on the dirt path, Jordan spotted some humongous trees and decided to attempt climbing one. I was actually quite impressed how far he got!

Now back to the restaurant for some more seafood and maybe a mango daiquiri or two.