On Friday the 17th I randomly decided to journey my way to Vancouver Island. A trip so spontaneous and serendipitous it’s hard to believe it really happened, as I ride the 1pm ferry back to the mainland. I can’t help but smile at all the moments neatly crammed into what turned out to be an extremely eventful weekend.
A Pink Bag:
The idea of a trip to the island had been trickling around in my mind for about a week. I talked it over briefly with my dad and thought I could do it on a hundred dollar budget. He challenged me, “if you do it, I’ll pay you the $100.00”. The idea settled for another couple days until Friday, when a friend of mine from Vancouver Island asked me to pick up a lost bag of hers from the Translink lost and found.
“Hey man, I’m here to pick up a bag for Jordan?” The guy at the lost and found looks at me quizzically, “What does it look like?” Realizing that I didn’t know, “Uhhh, it’s got a bra inside it?” He returns moments later, with a poorly hidden grin and a flamboyantly pink Victoria’s Secret bag.
I don’t really know why, but I decided then, that I was going to the island. I went home and threw a toothbrush, underwear, and $100.00 in cash into my bag and jumped on the first skytrain out to the ferry terminal.
As the boat started to leave the terminal, realized I had no plans of where I was staying, how I would get to the city from the ferry or what I was going to do with my time there. I made a post on Facebook, and sent a few messages to people I knew in the Victoria area.
“Hey Jay! So… hypothetically speaking… What’s your couch doing tonight?”
“Hey Jordan, I have your bag… Thanks for letting me know that it’s flamboyant pink and containing ladies underwear! When can I get it to you?”
Throughout the weekend, it just seemed like things worked out. The forces of the universe were in my favour as I glided from place to place going with the flow of activity. People accommodated for my almost startling lack of direction and made my stay amazing with wicked personal suggestions and effort on their part to make it interesting. I never turned anything down, whatever was happening I said yes and figured out how later. The first “yes” landed me in the downtown clubbing scene with Jay.
Clubbin’ With @TypicalJay and Girls:
Jay and I jump in old Becky (a middle aged Honda Civic) and head downtown to meet up with some girls, finding absolutely prime parking in the heart of downtown for free. (BOOM!)
The cover band belted all the classics and we danced like buffoons. As everyone bounced and swayed their way around, my gaze falls on the ATM, charging 5$ per withdrawal, sitting lonely in a darkened corner of the bar. In the cash drawer I notice a glint of something reflective. I took three steps over and picked up what had been left behind.
I stood near the machine looking around for disgruntled customers until I was satisfied that the drunk who left it was probably better off without the extra money for his hangover. In a second of sober awareness, luck had doubled my weekend budget by $100.00 in cash.
We danced on chicks like it was a high school prom night, and I bought the drinks! Before the night was done, Jay informed me that in the morning, we were going garage sale-ing.
Garage Sale Winning:
With four hours sleep, a list off craigslist, and bit of rope, the team rolls out for our morning of treasure hunting. The first spot we hit is run by a really awesome mother of three who was so nice as to take silly pictures of us with her kid’s old Nerf guns.
It seemed like the woman could read our minds! After packing the single bed frame, working vacuum cleaner and coffee maker into the trunk of the car, the total cost came to a whopping zero dollars. (That’s includes the iconic garage sale mask shown below).
In keeping with the weekend’s theme, an interaction with the woman running the sale summed it up perfectly: “Dyou think it’s all going to fit in there?” she asks helpfully. I turned to her and said, “We’re twenty… it’ll fit.”
VIP Sight Seeing:
From epic garage sale-ing, to city sight-seeing, my journey flowed seamlessly from the treasure wagon with Jay, to the private-island-tour-truck with Jordan. I felt as though I was being whisked about the country-side on a guided tour. “All I want… ” teasing Jordan as she drove me around, “is to ride one of those double decker busses! They are so cool! ”
At some point as we drove, the winter clouds parted and the sun beamed down on our majestic journey. My tour, hosted by a Victoria local, was full of hidden beaches, spectacular views and wharf neighbourhoods otherwise unknown to tourist mobs.
Victoria, and the Island in general, is so spectacularly beautiful. There were moments of reflective silence as we gazed over the rolling hills and oceans with colossal mountain ranges peaking in the distance. There is a reason why west coast rhymes with best coast.
Shark Club Catch Up:
Our adventures came to an end with the sunset, and Jordan drops me off at a pub on her way home where I meet an old friend from another time. Camron and I spent the majority of our childhoods together in sports and in school. After a few moments of conversation, we established that we had not spoken, one-on-one, in over 6 years.
The Shark Club has a game where you pick a puck from a basket with a player’s number on it. If that player scores you get free shots and the house Stanley Cup on your table. I chose a third line defensemen, number 6, Yannick Weber. Despite his scoring odds, I called it, “We’re gonna win this shit!”
After a random opening brawl, 4 defenders are kicked out of the game and Yannick gets put on the first line. Just like I said, Yannick went on to score two goals that game awarding our table two rounds of shots. The Canucks won the game, and we won the Sharks Club Cup.
The game was a backlight to what I found amazing about that dinner. I met with a friend who I hadn’t seen in 6 years and carried on 4-hour conversation like nothing had changed. Being able to connect with an old friend shows you the value of your relationships and the importance of keeping awesome people in your life.
As the game wrapped up and our evening came to close, I reconnected with Jay. We discussed awesome deals found at garage sales, views and vistas around town, and the awesome existence of double decker busses. Around 1:30 a.m. it was established that an early breakfast was to had at Floyds Diner downtown with Breanne.
Breakfast OF Champions:
Floyds is a renowned restaurant in Victoria, I had been told on many occasions of the legendary “Mahoney” meal. A feast concocted by the chef’s inspiration of the moment. There is no telling what you will receive on your plate, and no idea how much you will have to pay for it when it arrives. The odds are fifty-fifty, a coin toss to see if you pay double the price, or nothing at all.
From the moment “The Mahoney” hit the table, until we forced it into a to-go container, we could not stop laughing at the insanity of this meal. The triple-decker breakfast enchilada hung over the sides of a full size dinner plate. Inside was chorizo sausage, seasoned chicken breast, bacon, cheese, onions, red pepper, banana peppers and a mountain of fresh salsa, sour cream, and guacamole on top.
And then… A completely unnecessary (but also really awesome) side of potato wedges with hollandaise sauce. I managed to get through a quarter of the meal before tapping out. The waiter comes up to us then pops the question, “so how’re you paying?”
I pulled a loonie from my pocket and handed it to the man responsible for the monstrous meal in front of me and called tails. Yeah… the meal I just described? FREE.
I proceeded to pay for both Jay and Breanne’s meals and tipped generously, including the winning Loonie on top.
We laugh our way out of the restaurant making sure to shake hands with the owner. Some tearful goodbyes and a thousand thank-you’s later, Jay went home and Breanne walked me to where I would take the bus to the ferry. On the way she casually points out “one of the funkiest thrift places in Victoria”. I casually take note and imagine the jeans I would love to buy from such a place. We share a big hug of celebration being able to see one another, and Breanne gets on her bus.
With 20 minutes to wait, I wander over the consignment shop with a pair of Levi jeans in mind. I walk into the store and make my way to a sale rack of denim where I found a pair of 514 Levi Strauss jeans. I took them to the change room, realized they were perfect in all ways, and then wore them out of the store… A rare and perfect fit for $25.00.
The smile could not have been bigger, I literally skipped across the street back to my bus stop just in time to catch a DOUBLE DECKER BUS to Schwartz Bay.
I think it was at this point that my inspiration boner was biggest. I got on and immediately found my way to the top deck where I sat for the duration of the trip. The bus took a scenic route, and soon I found myself sitting in a fishbowl 20 feet off the ground, looking out over fields and little country communities with the ocean spanning out behind.
On the freeway, we passed the scene of a tragic car accident where someone had lost their life. On the ground, medical crews loaded an ambulance as the silent bus rolled past. The roadways into town were backed up for miles, thousands and thousands of cars lined up at a standstill at the scene of someone’s death. I found myself looking at the scenic beauty during the rest of the trip with a deeper appreciation.
Final Ferry: Closure
I was silent for much of the ferry ride home as I wrote this entry. I realize now the amazing impact this trip had on my psyche. I wrote about depression on my way to the island, having just recovered from a recent funk, and composed this uplifting story on the way back… wearing a garage sale mask.
This trip meant a lot to me beyond the relief of my daily tasks. The connections I found with people, and the passion of living in the moment made me happy. After something as freeing as my experience this weekend, it makes me excited for the future. There was a point in my life when I was not sure if I would ever be able to do anything fun, or spontaneous, and this weekend I proved it all wrong.
To all those who I saw in my time there, and those who I missed, thank you.
Victoria now has a special place in my heart.