All of it changed quite a bit

It’s been almost 6 years since I wrote a post here. It was before the time that allowed you to do that impressive looking Drop cap effect for the first letter of a paragraph. Writing daily on the round the world trip was something I knew I wouldn’t keep up. To say that was a life changing trip is accurate, ever moreso in retrospect.

It may cost me a few dollars a year to keep this site going, and it wouldn’t disappear if I didn’t, but I still like preserving it. If someone wants to read about what a 25 year old did on a world trip 12 years ago, I say let them. Ideally it will find that higher purpose of memorialising how things were travelling then, but I’m not the only one who did that.

In case anyone is reading this who isn’t friends with me and/or on Facebook, I’m now a father to an awesome little girl, engaged and excited to be married to the best person I’ve ever met. I’m living in North Vancouver, have been since about 8 months after arriving in 2009. I’m tremendously fortunate to be able to make living here of all places work, it can be quite a challenge. Driving a car that’s bigger than anything you’d dare get in Europe and towing a tent trailer behind it. Yes I’m being a bit vague, if you know me well you can fill all of these details in yourself, this is a broad update.

You can’t avoid talking about COVID-19 these days. All the family out here have avoided it, but several in the UK have not. Everyone is fine and there’s no sign of long covid. It has stopped my otherwise regular trips to the US, and cut off a lot of our camping options with that tent trailer. That said, things are looking up at the time of writing in that regard, I’m sure we’ll be there soon. Before the pandemic, we discovered just how much we love Hawai’i, both the Big Island and Maui!

Travel wise, the Sea-to-Sky area and Okanagan Valley still do well for us. Manning Park is also a real gem. Honestly I could write this blog about those alone.

There’s a lot going on but not a huge amount for this blog’s audience as it was. I do hope I’ll have a use for it some day and by no means is this some sort of dramatic final post, it’s entirely motivated by seeing 6 years had passed.

More in the future I hope!



I’ve wanted to go to Tofino since I moved here (which was almost 6 years ago, good grief). It’s always described as a small town but I think you’ll find it’s a bit bigger than you expect, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Great for surfing (which I’ve never done), the outdoors (which I do a lot) and food (which I’ve done since birth). Actually, “food” doesn’t do it justice, it’s some of the best dining I’ve had in Canada!

This was also a chance to try out my new Sony a6000!

Day 1: Getting there + Ucuelet + Food Find

From Vancouver you’ll have to take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo and then drive the full length of Highway 4 to get there. Takes a while and you get to stop at Port Alberni and several lakes.

You’ll know when you’re close when you see the Pacific Rim Visitor Centre, there you can go right (South) to Ucluelet or left (North) to Tofino. Since it was a good break in the weather, we decided to head to Ucluelet and do the Wild Pacific Trail.

After this, and with the weather setting in, we headed up to the Tin Wis Resort for our first two days. Really nice place I have to say. Every room seemed to have an ocean view, and our one also had the grounds as well. Didn’t spend a huge amount of time out there given that we were in the middle of winter.

After that we headed into town and ended up into Tofino itself, we spotted a pub and thought “that will be a cozy place for a quick dinner”. It was Shelter, and was a full blown restaurant with a pub feel. Food was fantastic! We knew that Tofino had a reputation for good food but didn’t expect to be falling over it this way.

Anyway, home, up somewhat early the next day as the morning as it was expected to not be rainy (this was playing on our minds a bit as you can probably tell).

Day 2: National Park Exploration

We knew today would be the one we would dedicate to the Pacific Rim National Park. This is where the main set of beaches and surfing spots can be found. It’s also worth noting that I became a Canadian Citizen in October last year… so I have a Cultural Access Pass that gets me into the park for free!

Anyway our first stop was Wickaninnish Beach and the Kᵂisitis Visitor Centre. Surfers were out and we got talking to an Aussy who had moved here and done much the same thing I did 6 years ago, except she was surfing rather than skiing, and we talked about the glorious Cultural Access Pass that was saving me a few dollars a day. 🙂

Eagles started to make an appearance too, but didn’t get any good photos yet

While we were at the Visitor Centre, I read a few concerning signs about Unexploded Ordinance. Tofino, during World War II, was a military firing range and it seems not all of it went bang when it was supposed to. (As I was looking for a link for this, I found this list of UXO Sites and saw there are a few near my house!)

We headed over the rocks and went to the South Beach nearby, well worth it if you get a chance

After that, we had quite the debate about where we should go for lunch. I was firm that I wanted to go to Tacofino at some point this weekend, but Tripadvisor and several friends were mentioning the Wildside Grill. In the end, Wildside it was.

After that, we headed for Long Beach and more Eagle spotting.

Finally, we headed up Radar Hill, site of, you guessed it, an old Radar Station, where there is a memorial to Canadian Forces during the Korean War.

The views we got were not as spectacular as the ones on that page.

Anyway, back to the Tin Wis, where I managed to get a good panorama and just decided to have pizza for tea as we were going to a more fancy place tomorrow.

Day 3: Hotel change, more beaches and trails and Tacofino

No photos of this one, but I headed up to the Common Loaf Bakery for an awesome breakfast for both of it.

We roamed the beach near the Tin Wis after checking out (“roamed” sounds like a great word doesn’t it).

Then we went to the Tonquin Trail as the weather was nice and we wanted yet more roaming!

After that, we could finally scratch my Tacofino itch! Headed off to Chesterman Beach to eat it.

The Eagle eyed amongst you might have spotted a building on the peninsula, that’s The Pointe Restaurant, where we would be going later.

Anyway, we headed to our second hotel, the Pacific Sands Beach Resort. Watched the end of the Superbowl then did a little exploring on the beach.

We watched the end of the Superbowl then headed out for dinner. The Pointe was certainly fine dining if I’ve ever seen it.

Thing is, I didn’t take many photos of it. Was fantastic none the less! Excellent staff too!

Day 4: Heading home

Well it was rainy, so one last breakfast stop at Common Loaf then we headed home.

Gear Review: Kleen Kanteen Classic

These Kleen Kanteen bottles have caught my eye for a while now. One of my hiking friends seems to have had one forever, when I searched for them I saw lots of spare parts so you’re not throwing them out when you lose something and one of my favourite review sites, The Wirecutter, likes them. I was offered the chance to review one and decided to give blog-based gear reviews a go, because why not?

bottleinwoods2014-12-21 15.23.13I was sent one a couple of weeks ago and tried it out at the office for a bit, but decided that the break in the weather was a good time to go hiking at Buntzen Lake to test it. The day we chose was hardly short of water, if you’ve been anywhere in Metro Vancouver, you’ll know we’ve been rained on, non stop, for weeks now and this was the only day it let up.  So enough Christmas shopping, let’s head to the woods and take a few photos of a water bottle!

The bottle is 800ml (27oz) and made of stainless steel for the most part. The lid/drinking spout is plastic with a rubber nozzle and (what I think) is silicon for an air valve. I mention that valve as it’s a clever idea, essentially letting air in so you can drink easily (as opposed to having to suck the water out against the vacuum you create). The lid has a loop that you can use for a carabiner and the neck is just the right size for holding between your thumb and index finger, ergo you are not holding the body of the bottle and heating up your water (I assume you’re not after hot tea when you buy a water bottle like this).

It was easy to walk along drinking from it. Perhaps the one criticism I have is that the valve doesn’t give any tactile feedback that you’ve opened it or closed it, it just slides back and fourth with no click feeling. If I’m talking that sort of detail for the not so good points, it’s clear that I like this thing. The shape is just right for a small bag. I was using a hydration backpack bag without the hydration pack and it didn’t take up so much room that it looked silly. Actually that’s a debate my hiking buddy and I had, on hydration packs vs. bottles. My view is that it’s easier to refill a bottle from a stream and easier to pack them in a backpack, but if you’re running or need your hands most (not all) of the time, then hydration packs it is. I just forget to drink from them when hiking.

Anyway, overall impressed and will use the Kleen Canteen… I mean Kleen Kanteen (yes, I’ve been writing Canteen a lot in this review). The real pluses for me was the clever shape, the stainless steel body and the very usable sports cap.

bottleagainstlake2014-12-21 15.35.48-2

NOTE: I was given the bottle I reviewed above for free.