It’s 7:15pm and I’ve just boarded the Greyhound bus bound for Jasper, Alberta where I’ve been living for the last 4 months. It’s been a long year and a half in Canada and I’m finally heading back to Australia in a couple of weeks, which is why I decided to take a small vacation while on a vacation to the beautiful city of Vancouver.
Exciting right? You’re probably wondering why I didn’t go to Mexico or Cuba or somewhere more exotic. I chose Vancouver because for the past 16 months I’ve lived in towns that are up to 4 hours from any major city. It sounds wonderful to you to get some space from the crazy, bustling city life. Sure, for a little while it’s rejuvenating. But if you’re anything like me, sometimes being in the midst of all the crazy is where you find the most peace.
It’s a 12 hour bus ride from Jasper to Vancouver. It wasn’t bad at all considering they have wi-fi on board and chargers for laptops. Better than a flight, to be honest. I chose an adorable Air BNB apartment on the corner of Burrard and Nelson street in the heart of Vancouver. I say in the heart because I was literally walking distance from the shopping malls and a cinema was not even a block from my apartment. If you haven’t tried Air BNB before, you MUST do it in your next location. I used to be a travel agent, and though hotels can be more trustworthy and have smoother and more reliable check-ins, Air BNB apartments are what you go for if you want to pretend you actually live in the city/town you’re visiting. In this case my lovely host Sierra showed me to my apartment and I instantly felt like I was Carrie from Sex and the City (being a writer, it was almost fitting!). The apartment had floor-to-ceiling windows, it was quaint and packed full of girly antiques and the bed – oh God, the bed! – was heavenly. It was perfect for what I wanted from these 9 days.
Now I did things. I went shopping, I cruised along the waterfront, I stalked some celebrities (I walked past Keegan Michael Key just strolling along a sidewalk and barely realized it was him until it was too late). I saw 4 movies, because I love going to the cinemas and they don’t have cinemas in Wallace, Nova Scotia, so I was very deprived. And I treated myself to a facial on my first night just because I could.
But those things weren’t my sole purpose for my mini vacation. I wanted to go somewhere where I knew absolutely no one and just … write. No work. No distractions. Plenty of inspiration in the gorgeous view overlooking the city right in the comfort of my bed (which is the cover photo for this post). It was heaven waking up with nothing in my schedule but free time to write.
When you’re on a working holiday like I am right now, you tend to get caught up in the drinking and the partying and all the little dramas that come from sleeping with your roommates fuck buddy or some guy whom you know has slept with at least 5 of the girls in your building and now wants to pull you. To be honest, I feel like that kind of environment – though stupidly fun and crazy – has been poisoning me all this time. And I am so thankful that I chose to step away from that life and just be with myself for a while.
When I get back home in a couple of weeks I’ll be moving back in with my parents (joy) to save some money. I won’t have this kind of independence. And maybe you’ve already settled down and you have a family of your own or you’re living in a cramped apartment with your mates and their friends, but I cannot stress enough the value of taking time out for yourself and truly getting away from the world ALONE. It doesn’t have to be in a farmhouse fifty-six miles from the nearest gas station in the middle of the Scottish countryside. You can do what I did and find a little home away from home in the hustle and bustle of a big, beautiful city and still feel relaxed and rejuvenated because without people in your life just for a brief moment, you won’t believe how happy it can make you.
I’m so glad that I took a vacation from my vacation. Do yourself a favor and escape your life just for a few days even and make sure you do it alone. You might find that little bit of happiness that’s been suffocated by your everyday life and rediscover your ability to breathe.