British Columbia, the first adventure while living the VA(N) Life as a virtual assistant. One province over from home, I’ve only visited BC twice, which is pretty pathetic considering it’s only a 7-8 hour drive from Edmonton. If you want to know what it’s like to be a VA and now live mobile, keep reading. Van life, it’s got its perks and it has its drawbacks. I can’t guarantee I can convince you to join my van gang (name, yet to be determined) but I can try to convince you to go after what you want in life. We’ve got one time to make life what we want it to be, and I’m just trying to have amazing experiences with incredible people.
Typically super organized, I made literally no plans for this trip. The plan was to be in British Columbia for a month, then head back to Alberta. That was it. Then, Facebook made the first decision when my friend Mallory had asked if anyone could check in on her goats while she happened to be in Alberta, I commented, and that was my first destination.
This is a cute suburb/small town of Kelowna. I had never been there but she sent me the address and that was programmed into maps. Of course, I did take my time getting there … you know all those random cool pull-outs by beautiful lakes you always drive by, I stopped at a tonne. I would back the van up, work for an hour or two, and then keep ongoing. Jasper has sooo many of these and I’ve always just driven by instead of stopping to enjoy the beauty. Lake Country, WAS A BLAST! Mallory has a small acreage with chickens, goats, a bunny, and a nectarine tree (also a walnut tree, I think). I was pretty spoiled to be able to start off VA(N) life with a kitchen, hot shower, wifi, and a paddleboard Mal had. I worked during the mornings and explored the place in the afternoons.
I am also fortunate I have business friends who have a similar lifestyle, and Mike from Overhaul fitness was in town at the same time. We hit up some Sea-Doing (he went cliff jumping, not me though) and went to a drive-in movie theatre called Starlight (super cool place, turns out you needs radio and mine had broken the DAY I started my trip, soooo we downloaded the movie from YouTube and played it off my phone for the sound)… modern problems, modern solutions. Walked downtown Kelowna and marveled at all the boats, people, and the lifestyle of the Okanagan.
After Lake County, I went north to Blind Bay for two days. Checked on a friend’s house, built a fire, enjoyed this quaint little place, and continued west to the island. I’ve only been on the ferry once before but it was basically the same so no great adventure here, different with COVID 19 and mask rules though. I went up to the deck for a bit, then it got dark so the very nice thing about having a converted van, naps are pretty easy to come by. The trip went by quickly and then ended up staying by the ocean in a parking lot that Georgie (a sweet van lifer I met before getting on the ferry) had told me about. I enjoyed a few morning walks here, some quaint cafes and a lot of hills.
Headed north to Uclulelet and I LOVE this town. It is so quaint, so cute and everything you would expect from a tourist/destination town. There were so many neat shops, restaurants and people. Typically they get a tonne of European tourists, but with borders being closed this year, all Canadians. After this Tofino, the illusive Tofino. There was an incredible beach just before that I had gone to that had the most perfect soft, white sand. There was absolutely no service, so no work got done this day but rather watching surfers ride the waves and the sun glisten down on the ocean. The town was SO cool, but I did prefer Uclulet over Tofino for some reason. Tofino has more of a touristy vibe maybe, I am not sure but regardless, Rhino coffee shop was lined up all day and it was a great coffee, I did visit Tacofino, but was too impatient to wait an hour for Tacos.
Qualicum Beach is a cute (but rocky) beach just north of Parksville on the island. It was super busy as I was here during the weekend this time. I stayed at a campsite that was close to town and basically only slept here. I found a great Starbucks to go here to get some serious work done. Kinda a boring couple days here as far as adventure goes, I guess that’s a working lifestyle for ya. I did happen to stumble across some of the greatest cookies I think I have ever had from Eat Urban Fresh Market. I would go back to the island, just for these lemon poppyseed cookies. From here I headed into Victoria where I visited with my childhood best friend one evening, then went for brunch just down the street. She just moved out there and lives in the cutest house, in an incredible location in Victoria.
Back to Lake Country
The original plan was to stop in Vancouver, visit some friends, but I was just not interested in going through the city and hanging out here so I headed back towards Lake Country. I spent two weeks here and had a GREAT time. Something about staying on an acreage (feels like home) and then having warm days and great lakes to go to on the daily, just makes me happy. I still had a tonne of work to do in the mornings, but had some fun adventures. I went to Okanogan Beach Club for a few drinks and tacos one afternoon, a very laid back place and ended up meeting the owner, who is originally from out here in Alberta, and he was so kind.
Downtown Kelowna had some cool bars, restaurants and places to go but one place that I met up with some friends was called BNA. It’s similar to a Rec Room, but very cool style, independently owned and cool vibes. I also felt very comfortable here with some moose head decor (the country girl in me). Upstairs had a few bowling lanes, they were full but they had some arcade games that we played for a bit. When we left, I was touring my friend’s date around the van, giving him the house tour, when two other guys walked by. Long story short, we all became friends, and me and those two guys had an incredible day a few days after going to Carmeli’s (which is this amazing goat farm, that creates amazing Gelato – I would recommend the salted caramel), we did a wine tasting at Cedar Creek Vineyard and then ended the day before one of them had to fly out at YWL Tacos (YUM)!
I got to see Shawna, a fellow VA, and we hung out at the beach. We ended up on a boat one afternoon, where I learned how to wake surf for the first time EVER! I got up and did alright, although the boat wasn’t exactly the best boat for a wake. Two days later, I really got the wake experience. Lindsey, a local PT, has ladies' night surf every Thursday on Wood lake. It was SOOOOO fun! Surf Kelowna is the company she hires, we got an insanely nice boat to learn to surf with and she coached us ALL on how to get up, get comfortable on the board and let go of the rope – and surf the wake! SO MUCH FUN! I love the water so this was definitely a highlight (and I can’t wait to go back) next year!
The last day before heading back to Alberta, I went to Oyama beach to enjoy the lake one more time and started my journey back to Alberta… I almost wrote home (but where is that anymore).