The first time I visited Tofino was the summer after my first year of university when I had some time between the end of my classes and the start of exams. When I should have been studying, instead, I was out exploring. The rained the whole time I was there. I was cold and wet and I was miserable. Tofino was also the first time I had ever stayed in a hostel and in a co-ed room too! I was so shocked that there was a guy in our room (there is photo evidence of this exchange). The poor Aussie didn’t know what hit him and probably thought that my friend and I were extremely strange.
So when the opportunity to go back to Tofino came up over the Easter long weekend, I was really excited to hopefully change my poor memories of the town. This time around, I was pleasantly surprised. While it did rain, and I got ridiculously cold and wet on my whale watching tour, there were moments of beauty and sunshine.
Tofino, BC on Vancouver Island is hailed as a surfer’s paradise with great waves coming off the Pacific Ocean. A 2-hour ferry ride and 3-hour drive away from Vancouver, Tofino is the perfect escape from the city.
Tofino is so off the grid, that there was barely any internet access. The thought of having no access in this ever-connected world didn’t even crossed my internet obsessed mind. Turns out, all the internet in the town is satellite so it is incredibly slow. One Canadian provider, Telus is working on it, but it is slow going. If you’re on the Telus network you should have no problem (which my boyfriend is), but if you’re on anything else (aka me on Rogers), all you get is this:
At first, I was freaking out because I hadn’t posted my blog post for the day and I had promised to do some work for a volunteer event. Of course, both of those went out the window the moment I realized I couldn’t get online. My super-duper awesome boyfriend allowed me to tether every so often, so I was able to post a few social media updates along the way. By the end of the weekend, I didn’t even miss the internet (much). [Note for you desperate Internet folks – there are a couple cafes in the city that have faster internet: Rhino Coffee House in town and the Driftwood Café inside the famous Wickaninnish Inn.]
Tofino was quiet. Really quiet and the room we stayed in at Jamie’s Rainforest Inn looked directly out into a dense patch of trees which made this weekend escape even better. At night, driving on the highway was eerie especially when there were no cars around. It was so dark.
The town, while small, was extremely quaint. With a regular population of 2,000 people, during high season they receive so many tourists and are so incredibly accommodating. It wasn’t just people from Vancouver or the mainland coming to visit. No, we heard a variety of languages the whole time we were there and a surprising amount of German. Surfers, nature lovers, campers, whale watchers. You name it, they were there. Even though we weren’t there during high season, the town still had a lot of visitors.
I had forgotten how much I love the beach. Not the beaches of warm climates where people are sun tanning and playing various beach sports, but the beaches of the Pacific Northwest where it’s cold, damp and silent. When I lived in Victoria, BC for university, I would regularly go to the beach for quiet time.
Just me, listening to the sounds of the waves. I would have virtually the whole beach to myself which just doesn’t happen at the beaches of Vancouver. Standing on the beach in Tofino in the slight drizzle, watching people conquer wave after wave, brought be back to that time. It was calming and it was exactly what I needed. Providing clarity and stillness in my mind.
Going to Tofino came at a time when I was feeling a lot of instability in my life. You might have noticed that I haven’t been posting as frequently. I would start posts and they would go nowhere. The long list of ideas I have for content and improvements to the site just kept on growing and I had no motivation or even will to tackle it. Unhappiness in other parts of my life was affecting every part of me. Blogging and writing about travel was my escape, but it started feeling like work.
Tofino was my opportunity to refocus and just relax. Turn off all the screens (well as much as possible for me. I still couldn’t resist having a camera with me all the time) and just be in the moment. My second visit to Tofino was so much more than I expected and I left the town feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, and definitely a little bit disappointed to be returning back to reality.
Where do you go for peace and to escape from life?
I received a media discount for my stay at Jamie’s Rainforest Inn, however, all forest praises are my own. I really did love having a forest literally right outside my window.