Change of Summer Plans

For the past two years, I've been planning a trip to Russia and Mongolia with a friend. Our original plan was to take the Trans-Siberian Railway in the summer of 2015, but that was quickly scrapped for a trek up Kilimanjaro. Last summer, we again changed our minds when she decided she wasn't willing to quit her awesome job as a flight attendant quite yet. 

We've been talking about it all year: planning our route (east to west), reading guidebooks and stories, justifying our choice to not go to China. 

But yesterday she confirmed that she, once again, wasn't ready to quit her job. Understandable. She gets to travel the world every week. And get paid

In flight over green fields, somewhere between Belgrade and Athens

In flight over green fields, somewhere between Belgrade and Athens

As a teacher, my vacation schedule is set. I have eight weeks off every summer during which I can travel and explore the world at my leisure. Usually I have my vacations planned at least a year in advance. Of course, when I say "planned" I mean "I know where I'm going" and little else; details can be worked out much closer to departure, or on the road. 

It's unusual to find myself three months away from my summer vacation with no plans and no idea of where I'm going. 

There is, quite literally, a world of possibilities for my summer vacation. With a month in mind for my vacation timeline (leaving time for a friend's wedding and a camping trip with some girlfriends), I quickly brainstormed a list of options:

  • walking the Camino de Santiago across Spain
  • backpacking along Brazil's coastal cities and exploring its rainforest
  • driving up through northern British Columbia to the Yukon

And that was all it took. I made my decision. 

It's Canada's 150th anniversary this year, making it the perfect summer to stay at home and explore more of my own backyard. Despite visiting BC regularly as a kid and moving here almost seven years ago, I've still never been further north than Kamloops or Port Hardy on Vancouver Island—neither of which, by the way, are north at all. In all of Canada I've never been further north than Edmonton. And I've been to all ten Canadian provinces but not to any of our three northern territories.

(Oh, and, as a kid, when schoolmates told me they were "going up north" to their cottage, I imagined they were going to be keeping warm in their cottages while blizzards raged outside. I thought it was an unusual choice for a family vacation. Imagine my surprise when I learned that the "north" they were referring to was Muskoka, roughly two degrees of latitude north of where we lived in southern Ontario.) 

It's about time I drive north and discover what it's all about. 

Fall in Kamloops, BC—one of the northernmost cities I've been to in British Columbia

Fall in Kamloops, BC—one of the northernmost cities I've been to in British Columbia

My plan, so far, is to drive up slowly and explore the small towns and cities I've heard of but never seen: 100 Mile House, Prince George, Prince Rupert—and that only takes me halfway up the province! There's a lot to learn about the place I now call home. 

I've checked off the first thing on my summer to-do list (besides choosing my location, course): I've booked a rental car. 

Now my summer vacation is back on track.

Do you have any tips for taking a solo road trip? Where British Columbian town or attraction should I visit? Let me know in the comments below!