Posted by: MarlaHB | October 29, 2012

Rainy British Columbia Canada Won’t Dampen my Travel Bug

For weeks we have been covered by an umbrella of gray cloud, seemingly endless rain, and a damp cold that sinks deep into the bones. It’s to be expected – it is October on Vancouver Island BC after all. Still, you can’t blame me for feeling utter disappointment since finding out yesterday that the sailing trip in Belize I hoped to take with my favourite adventure travel girls got sold out – before I could confirm my berth.

I envisioned nurturing my travel bug by flying off to travel solo in a place I haven’t experienced yet. Sun, sand, sailing, snorkelling the Belize barrier reef. Trying new foods and exploring different cultures – maybe island hopping. My plan was to set sail for a week and then take extra time on my own to check things out and do some travel writing while I was there. Now that those dreams have been crushed (for now anyways), I have to lick my wounds and come up with a backup plan.

Some other women-only sailing vacations in the Caribbean this winter are now on my radar. But as I’m sitting here feeling sorry for myself, I realize that it’s crazy to wait for ‘big’ adventures. I live in a beautiful place (as wet and gray as it is during this time of year). So why not explore my own town as if I was travelling abroad?

Comox, British Columbia (meaning “Land of Plenty” to its original Salish inhabitants) is a cute little town surrounded by the natural beauty of ocean, snow-capped mountains and mature forests. Free roaming deer nibble on the plants in our gardens. People are friendly. Every day you’ll see folks of all ages actively walking their dogs or cycling. The pace is fairly slow and the quality of life is excellent.

These are all reasons why I am grateful for living here. And there’s more. Here are 5 things I love to do in Comox:

Beach Fire:

  • There’s nothing like the smell of a wood fire mixed with the fresh salt air that you get when you make a fire on the beach in our area. During the summer, Goose Spit is very popular for beach fires. My favourite spot any time of year is at Point Holmes (on Lazo Road) where you can see planes, boats, eagles, sea birds, harbour seals, mainland Coast Mountains and the Beaufort Mountain range all in one spot. Bring some marshmallows, hot chocolate and a warm blanket and you’ve got the makings of a perfect afternoon activity. Don’t forget to watch for orcas that may be passing by.

Fresh Fish at the Wharf:

  • Fisherman’s Wharf is the place to get fresh fish and shrimp right off the boat. If you’re in the area, check the online “Catch of the Day” or watch the notice boards as you enter Comox along Comox Road and at the Comox Road/Anderton Road intersection. My favourite is bringing home a couple pounds of shrimp or prawns, giving them a quick boil and drowning them in garlic butter (sometimes we dunk them in butter and then white vinegar for a bit of a kick). Turn on the fireplace and some great music, add a bottle of wine, a stick of French bread and people you enjoy spending time with – and life can’t get much better.

Comfort Food:

  • Comfort food is a must for me when I travel. In Comox, we have a number of great little spots to grab a quick bite. At Church Street Bakery they make wood fired goodies including my favourite breads, carrot walnut muffin or the more decadent cream-filled Long John. Twisted Dishes Cafe is another local favourite. Devin serves it up fresh, local and yummy in this cute and cozy little spot that used to be home of the Purple Onion Deli. Benino Gelato is where we go for traditional hand-made gelato and excellent Americano and Cappuccino (served with a little piece of dark chocolate).

Library:

  • Call me a nerd, but I love libraries. Get out of the rain at the Comox Branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library for a cozy seat by the fire while you catch up on the latest news or get into a book. Four public computers with Internet access are available – as well as access to free Wi-Fi.

Thrift Stores:

  • On a cold, rainy day, why not search for treasures! Thrift stores are so much fun to browse. You never know what you’ll find. Two of my favourites are in Comox: the Salvation Army on the main strip of Comox Avenue and The Cottage Thrift Shop behind St. Joseph’s Hospital.

And there’s so much more to enjoy here. Sailing in Belize would have been a fabulous adventure. In the end, it’s not so bad being home. I live in an incredible place offering many simple pleasures. I just have to remember how fortunate I am and live every day with the curious and adventurous heart of a tourist.

Keep the travel bug alive! What will you discover in your home town?

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