Adventure, Culture

Jetset Nerd: What I Took Home From the Canadian Rockies

“O Canada…”

It’s really hard to put into words that beauty of what my wife and I experienced during our trip to the Canadian Rockies. It was a brand new experience for us to travel Canada. Also, we’ve never been to such an isolated, quiet town named Field, BC which has a population of roughly 169 people.What inspired such a trip?

An Instagram picture of Emerald Lake from the profile “Wonderful Places.” It’s pretty much travel porn. It will make anyone want to adventure out and explore new places.

So I figured out how to get to Emerald Lake and how to best accommodate ourselves around it for our anniversary.Best decision ever.

Even a Pano cannot capture Emerald Lake

But the feeling of going somewhere new isn’t always a good feeling. It’s actually pretty scary. There may be some irregular breathing patterns or flexed face muscles involved while contemplating. I remember looking up hotels and BnBs around Emerald Lake wondering if I was going to get scammed or place myself miles and miles away from my favored destination. I had to double and triple check Google Maps that I was in the right vicinity of where I wanted to be. Then I found myself in the rabbit hole of reviews for each hotel and inn.

Of course, I pulled the trigger after I spoke on the phone with the inn keeper, Luc, who was nothing but courteous and informative. But even after that, I still had a handful of “What If’s?”Travel expert Chris Guillebeau writes about fear and traveling to new places in his book The Happiness of Pursuit:

Trying to embrace Moraine Lake

Embracing new things often requires us to embrace new fears, however trivial they may seem. You deal with fear not by pretending it doesn’t exist but by refusing to give it decision-making authority. When you venture to new lands for the first time, it is a big deal.

I ended up booking with Luc at his Canadian Rockies Inn (for a great deal).We ended up crossing the border to Calgary for our anniversary with unpredictable weather as we thought it would be bright and sunny being the end of May. No, it was cold, rainy and snowy with occasional sunshine. But it was still unbelievably gorgeous.

Field is small but has a big heart

What I Came Home With:

  • Exclusives: This may seem weird, but when I travel, I have try to make it a point to grocery shop and try chips or snacks that we don’t have back home. In this case, Canadian Ketchup chips stole my heart. Heck, I don’t even like ketchup, but these. Oh my. Also, in a symbolic sense, when looking at destination pictures on Instagram or Pinterest, it’s like “I want to go there” means “I want to collect that.” Being able to reach a destination is a notch and equivalent to acquiring an exclusive item from a convention. But it’s more personal and story driven. It’s more organic. Seeing something as pure and untouched in the Canadian Rockies, something bluer than blue or a canvas of colors unlike anywhere else on Earth, that’s coming home with one of the best exclusives whether caught on camera or not.

    Relaxation: Exclusively found at Lake Louise
  • Appreciation: One of the best ways to learn about the area you’re traveling is by interacting with those living there. So when my wife and I are talking with our server at the restaurant who happens to be one of the 169 people living in Field who recently moved from Europe., we’re generating a sense of appreciation for our origins both us and our server. When we spoke with the teenager running the deli who has lived in Field her whole life with no desire to move, we definitely walked away with the appreciation of living in the U.S. and Los Angeles because of our massive “fish bowl.”Β But it’s conversations with the locals, the nationals that inadvertently establish peace and appreciate culture. PS, there are only two restaurants in Field. One closes at 6pm.

    Truffle Pigs: One of two restaurants in Field
  • Stress (Less of It): Rain and snow were predicted during our whole stay. When I called Luc for his thoughts he said the weather changes by the hour. That’s better. It was rain and shine not only by time but by location. This was liberating. No itinerary. Just roll with the clouds. Whenever the sun came out, we maxed out time by the water. During rain and snow, we took long drives to Jasper or stayed in watching cable. Learning to be flexible on vacation is one of the best ways to relax. This trip was one of flexibility and relaxation.

    Empty roads, Cruising thru the Rockies

Choosing to go to Canada would’ve never been on my radar if it weren’t for my wife. She’s the one who picked the place to celebrate our anniversary. I’ve had this creed for the past few years to explore as much of the U.S. as we can before going to Italy. Sometimes it takes someone or something to explore beyond your frame of mind, your own borders (different).Though we were a bit anxious because of the new country, new culture, new language, and little to no internet, we are glad we embraced the fear, looked over its shoulder and saw the beauty behind it.

How often do you travel to a new destination? Is it exciting or frightening?

Where have you gone that totally took you by surprise for better or for worse?

Drop a comment below. Would love to know!

Nerd Coolture