I’m having one of those “where do we begin?” moments because I feel like we’ve done so much in the past month. We’ve gone on weekend and weeklong adventures, we’ve had family in town and not to mention…real life is still happening so there’s work and daily mundane mixed in somewhere in between.
Kile and I were racking our brains for weeks as to what and how we’d spend celebrating the 4th of July. We talked to friends to see if we could collaborate, but nothing ended up panning out – so, we decided to say screw it and go to Canada! Sure, ditching our country on its Independence Day sounds a bit unpatriotic but Canada is gorgeous and super accessible, so why not?
We chose to go to Victoria, B.C. for a couple of reasons – it’s fairly close to us (4 hour drive plus an hour and half ferry) and not to mention it’s a beautiful and cultured tiny little city. It feels like we’ve traveled to Great Britain when really we’re still in the Pacific Northwest! There’s fantastic architecture and even better food. Given that we’re still on a budget (and Canada isn’t exactly cheap), we decided to take the Airbnb route again; we have yet to be disappointed. Only this time, instead of renting out the entire home, we decided we’d save even a bit more money by renting out a room and staying with another couple. Anyone who knows me, knows that this is so out of my element – as much as I love traveling and experiencing other cultures, I’m quite the introvert and get very nervous when it comes to meeting and speaking with new people. Turns out, as usual, my fears were completely unwarranted. The apartment and the couple we ended up staying with were fantastic. We had an adorable room in an apartment walking distance from the harbor – our hosts Simon and Malakai were beyond hospitable and even made us breakfast in the morning.
Aside from picking up a nasty cold right before leaving, we still had a blast. If there’s one thing this historic city has to offer, it’s fresh and delicious seafood. It’s becoming a tradition for us to visit a sushi place called Azuma (located on Yates St.) – no joke, this is some of the best sushi we’ve ever had – and we come from the land of fresh seafood!
Kile and I spent most of our time in Victoria walking and eating – I really wish I had been feeling better because I wanted to eat so much more! The fish n chips at the Fisherman’s Wharf look incredible – unfortunately Kile was the only one able to indulge. A farmer’s market was in town, along with a ska & reggae festival – both of which added to some great sights and people watching. I mostly just love the architecture and feeling of history that’s embedded in this small Canadian capital. There’s something about it that we both just adore.
After a quick two nights in Victoria we headed home for a short work week – that next Thursday, we left for the Cayman Islands!
I’d like to interject and say that Kile and I are by no means well-off or wealthy people – we are average low-mid middle class people who live in a 325 square foot studio. The Victoria weekend we had was completely on a budget. This Cayman Island trip could and would not have happened without the generosity of my dad and stepmom who hosted us. Just want to make that clear because trust me…we know how lucky and blessed we are to have these opportunities.
The week we spent in the Cayman Islands was much needed. I was really craving some family time and it was so great to spend an entire week with some of the people I love the most. My dad, stepmom, Kile and I all met up in Atlanta and flew on down to the Caribbean. A highlight of the flight was, we got to fly over and see Cuba! Until recently, American airliners were not allowed in Cuba’s airspace – so that was pretty cool! My parents own a timeshare on the East End of the island so we rented a car and spent a week in paradise.
A couple of our favorite highlights were the Turtle Farm and Stingray City. The Turtle Farm was incredible because you were able to see these gigantic sea turtles in a comfortable and safe environment plus swim with some babies in a wading pool! Yes please! Stingray City is located out on a sandbar in the North Bay of Grand Cayman Island – you get to hop off your boat and swim with stingrays! If you’re lucky and coordinated enough, you can even hold one for a bit (I got scolded by one of the guides telling me to hold still in a current that kept moving me around uncontrollably.)
A trip to the Caribbean isn’t complete without a trip to a rum distillery – so of course we tracked one down. Our neighbors at the resort told us it was a bit hard to find – they weren’t lying. It took us a good 45 minutes, multiple roundabouts and some potholes, but we finally found Seven Fathoms Rum Distillery – located at the Cayman Spirits Co. This place was so fun – after a quick tour of a beautiful distillery with copper stills, we pretty much all had a free for all on all of their spirits. Gotta love island life. If you’re ever able to visit – try the banana rum – to die for.
The whole week flew by way too fast, as it always does – but there’s so many moments in the Caymans that I won’t forget. I loved driving in the car with my family being silly to the music on the radio. I loved finding random local beaches to sit at with a cooler all day. I loved eating local food on the beach and watching the sunrise over the same beach the next day. And I really loved laughing and smiling with the people I love so much.
I’m sure I’ve left out a lot of details – we had so many great moments. It was a busy, sometimes sick, fun, exhausting, exciting, stomach-filling and love-filled month! We even managed to squeeze in some time with my aunt and mom in the midst of all our travels. Our hearts are full and we look forward to sharing our next adventure with you!