Try This: Close to Home, a World Away

We always feel blessed to live on such a beautiful island. On any given evening or weekend, there is an abundance of trails, beaches, and favourite spots to take in. It’s all about finding that balance between family, work, and fun and connecting with both people and nature in these moments is  usually balancing and rejuvenating.  But sometimes… You need something a little more!  When you wanna escape all of the crazy sh*t (yeah, quoting R. Kelly here), you just need to get away. Lucky for us on Vancouver Island and the Gulfs Islands, there are an abundance of amazing resorts, cabins, campsites, and Airbnbs to take you a world away and still be close to home.

Cox Bay Beach Resort, Tofino
Why you should do it

Do you love having something to look forward to? I do! I love getting excited about planning a trip! Staying somewhere different brings me great joy. I love knowing I’ll be waking up somewhere different, often to beautiful views, and explore a new area. It replaces feelings of the routine every day life with feelings of adventure.

I’ve found that even being just thirty minutes away from home can provide a totally different and unique experience.  There’s something exciting about being in a different town that gives you a fresh view, unfamiliar faces, and different streets & shops to browse. I feel it’s got to be good for your brain to not know what’s around the corner and experience curiosity.

Roberts St, Ladysmith
Do it FTM (“For the Memories”)

Some of my favourite memories of this year have been when I was able to get away. Whether I book far in advance or last minute, I’m always grateful for the relaxing and exciting times I have on these getaways and have found that being away from home takes so much pressure off day-to-day life. On any get away ever, I find you bond with people in different ways and I’ve always arrived home cherishing the hours of conversations and experiences I’ve shared with the friends and family I go with.

Another approach is to honestly leave it all behind… no work, family, friends, or agenda.  It’s a very special gift to give yourself to take the time all to yourself… And that’s just what my friend Andrea from Good Life Juice did!  She described her time away as reigniting her desire to take care of the self and we couldn’t agree more!  A get away, especially a solo get-away, is your perfect time to get some sleep, read a book, and slow your mind down. Time spent alone allows you to unwind and reflect.

At the beginning of the year I made it a goal to visit more of the Gulf Islands and booked a cabin through Airbnb on Gailano Island.  The beaches were the main reason I wanted to visit the island, but there was so much more to enjoy! Did you know Galiano has spectacular sunsets? Or a Peace Park?

This year Alina and I went to the Courtenay Rotary Beer Festival and stayed at a hotel there. We discovered that downtown Courtenay is a happening place on a Saturday night! Within walking distance from the hotel was the festival as well as restaurants, breweries, and bars. They were open till late and packed. The next day we took a random drive to Strathcona Park. We had an awesome afternoon exploring and we were so glad we made the drive (one and a half hours from Courtenay). Permission to creep our Instagram page for pictures.

Keep costs down

There are some places on the island that will put hearts in your eyes while simultaneously making you cringe over what it might cost.  We firmly believe you’re not likely to regret taking a weekend for yourself/with your besties/with your partner and, while the weekend away does a world of good in relaxing and rejuvenating you, it’s also something you can plan and stretch your budget doing more so than travelling out of the area (which ultimately helps us go exploring more often!).  Being people who like to save money yet still have these amazing experiences, here are a few ways we keep costs down:

  • Book with a friend who will split the costs with you.
  • Book off season for a better deal. The Islands are beautiful all year round.
  • Find a place with a kitchen. We often fill a cooler with snacks, fruit, and easy to prepare food like salads, pasta, and good ol’ PB&Js.
  • Shop your fridge and cupboards first.
  • Redeem rewards points to help with expenses like gas, restaurants, and attractions.
  • Check out Groupon, Social Shopper, or Island Daily Deals for amazing deals before you head out.
  • Follow your favourite resorts or attractions on Facebook and Instagram. Businesses will often post deals and contests on social media.
  • Bring an emery board, a nail buffer, and face masks for a DIY spa experience.
  • BYOB.  You’ll always have your fav bevvie this way 🙂
  • Top up the BC Ferries Experience Card before you visit the Gulf Islands.
  • Bring a book or two. Even reading somewhere different is extra relaxing.
  • Take advantage of the amenities your accommodation provides. Relax in the hot tub, sip coffee on the deck, go for a paddle.
Sointula Ferry Terminal | The Oceanfront Hotel
Myra Falls, Strathcona Park

As I mentioned, we have some incredible places to stay around here. Alina stayed at Fossil Beach Farm’s glamping tents on Hornby Island. Read about her stay here. Unlike traditional camping, packing was minimal and unpacking was quick. The view: unreal. She also booked herself a trip to the Free Spirit Spheres in Qualicum. She wrote about her stay and when I saw her the day after her stay she was absolutely blissed out by the experience.

Even one night away is enough and you can always just plan to leave as early as possible to get the most from your getaway. Heading off an adventure early will wake you up and you’ll feel the excitement creep in! I always like to treat myself to a caramel macchiato when my vacation begins. And then, my brain just knows. It’s time. Vacation time.

Stay close(ish)

Vancouver Island certainly has variety and, according to Conde Nast, it’s consistently voted one of the best islands to visit on the planet. Why not explore more of your own backyard? Every place on the island is only a days drive away. A tank of gas and a reservation are all you need to start your getaway. Be a tourist. Meet the locals. Find out what they love about their town. Support local businesses. Be inspired! It doesn’t take too much effort to be a world away.

Bonus points for printing pics from your trip to display around your home.

Gladstone Brewery, Courtenay

Where are your favourite places to get a way? Have you stayed somewhere amazing that is unforgettable?

To check out more of our Van Isle adventures, click here

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