Most of the time I really like living in Victoria. But then there are those times that I really just want to get off “the rock”. Call it a byproduct of my upbringing in Southwestern Ontario, that my hometown was in the middle of so many places to go and that my parents were very much the kind of people that wanted to go to them. Many a weekend day growing up we would hop in the car, have a loose destination in mind – which could be something as banal as a Picard’s Peanuts store somewhere in the middle of nowhere – pull out the map and put the car in drive. Often it was just a “crop tour” through the back roads on the way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house or to visit some other member of my wide-reaching family. We were always going somewhere, and we never had to deal with a ferry schedule to get there.
When I became a car-driving teenager (no graduated licensing program there then of course) I did the same thing with my girlfriends. We would hop into our little white Nissan truck and hit the road, taking ourselves to London, Hamilton, Toronto, Waterloo or wherever our great ideas happened to lead us. There were always multiple ways to get somewhere and I even remember that sometimes we played crazy games in the car on the way, like writing notes and sticking them up in the windows to signal cars of passing guys!
I find that the urge to go somewhere strikes me often, and it bores me to stay in the city week after week. But the reality is that not only is Victoria an expensive place to live, leaving us with not much extra money left over for our “travel jar” but that I feel hemmed in by the options of where I could go. We’re the biggest city on Vancouver Island and, down here at the southern tip, the only place to go is up. Honestly I’ve run out of ideas for interesting places to go for day trips. I could take any number of ferries to the small Southern Gulf Islands but ferry trips make me have to fit a schedule and leaving the island seems a momentous thing that should involve forethought, not a “pick up and go” kind of mindset, following thought winds to wherever.
And so I sit, passing another weekend trying to figure out what to do with myself in town and combatting the urge to pick up and ferry to Vancouver for just one night, just to get away and feel that I’ve been somewhere. But I just looked at my Mastercard bill from Christmas and, in my mind adding ferry and hotel costs up for even just one night, it’s just too scary. Tell me Victorians, what do you do to feed your urge to gallivant? How do you get away from it all for just one or two days without it breaking the bank? Even though I’ve lived here for seven years, maybe I still need to figure out how to be a local and do what the locals do. Do tell! What works for you?