So I had returned home for 4 weeks to see the family, I hadn’t been home properly in 5 years, when I left there were lots of babies being born and on returning these were actual walking talking humans so it was well worth the trip.
After a short trip home to the UK to see the friends and family and to do a load of life admin, (moving money, printing visas) I was heading out to Canada on the 2 years IEC working holiday visa.
I had the choice of flying on a Tuesday for £1200 or Friday for £200 so I chose Friday, I decided to head off from Manchester as well so I got to meet up with my boy Danny Knight for a couple of beers.
I managed to pack everything I owned into a 75 Litre backpack, with careful planning and percision only to put my bag down at the train station and have a guy spill a whole cup off coffee over it, my bag now stunk and I was well aware the next time I would have a chance to unpack and clean it would be 72 hours later in Canada… great start.
It was a very basic 9 hour flight (or 3 films as I call it) and I had landed in Vancouver, the main thing people worry about is the immigration department but even that was easy, 5 minutes of chat and I was given 2 years in the country.
With 20kg of everything I owned on my back including a $600 mountain down coat for the winter and other winter type clothing I soon realised my mistake as I stepped out into 20+ degrees as it turns out it doesn’t just snow in Cananda all year round but the summers get hot hot.
Also I made the mistake that all of the hostels were very expensive and very sold out, some offering an 8 bed room for $40 a night ($75 CAD).
I ended up having to bounce from one hostel to the next grabbing the last bed in the city each night, basically meaning I had to re pack all my stuff each morning and walk across the city. I stayed at a place called Cambie hostel where they were in no way helpful about my situation.
Taking in the sights and smells of the city
Apart from my obvious disorganization the city was incredible, I was sun burnt on day 2, the province of British Columbia has just legalized Cannabis so as you walked into the more downtown areas you would get big wiffs of sweet smoke coming out of apartments and people relaxing in public parks, which is crazy coming from a country that has upgarded it to a class B and coming from Thailand where to be caught is jail time.
One of the must do’s is to cycle around Stanley park just north of the city centre, so this was a good way to kill a day as it takes about 2 hours and you can see views of the skyline one side and views of the mountains on the other.
Boats and.. H.. beers
On one of the days I met up with friend Giles who I met 5 years a go when I first started travelling, we did our open water dive course together in Koh Tao Thailand, 5 years on it was almost like going full circle to see him again now in Canada.
He was meeting a couple of his friends to go kayaking and invited me along, we grabbed some beers at 9am and headed to Deep cove.
Although this was mainly snow melt water and freezing so you didn’t want to go in, the cove was incredible though with mountains on all side and little islands throughout, we managed to kayak out to one of these and walk around only to find the place full of Canadian geese which are normally known to be agressive.
It was a great day and great introduction to the country, also while all this was going on I had been going hard looking for jobs as I had been unemployed for 5 months now.
I had a phone interview for a travel agents in Banff Alberta and was offered the job so that was my time in Vancouver over, although only short I can see why people speak so highly of it.
Tune in next time as we Follow Jon Along as we take a 13 hour over night bus to Banff to start work.