Before 2012, I had taken the plane once in high school (12-13 years ago). This year, I travelled to San Francisco, now Vancouver/Surrey, Brussels next week, and Puerto Plata mid-November. If you had told me that at the beginning of the year, I would have laughed.
It all just happened, without a plan. And without any complaining. 😉
I enjoy discovering new cities, especially in a way that is both touristy and non-touristy. Sure, Tiffany and I did a classic wine tour in Sonoma Valley and visited Alcatraz, but we also walked around San Francisco for the sheer pleasure of it.
That’s part of what I’m doing in Vancouver.
Since I landed yesterday, I’ve done non-touristy things, which allowed me to discover Vancouver’s character. I think I would describe it as easy-going. I don’t know if it’s a side-effect of the luggage I carried around, but I had some nice conversations with strangers all the way from my seat in the plane to my Couch Surfing host.
Total of people I met yesterday (as in ‘spoke with for at least 15 minutes’): 8.
Only one of them spoke with me because it was part of her job. Two of them welcomed me into their home, gave me a key, a pillow and a sleeping bag, and went on with their super busy life, treating the stranger crashing their couch (me) as a trusted friend.
Even the bus makes transit easier than Quebec’s system: the buses announce every stop. It may sound silly but it makes it so much easier for visitors to find their way!
Today, I have a bit of touristy stuff planned. Chinese garden, art gallery, etc. Then I’m moving to Surrey, where another stranger told me how to get into her house and invited me to make myself at home even if she will get there later than me.
She’ll host stranger-me for five days while I attend Surrey International Writers’ Conference (where I’m sure I’ll meet a whole lot of other people).
And that’s how I like to travel: allocating time to discover what a location is proud to show to the world (the touristy stuff) and time to meet and understand the people a bit.
I think I’ll take public transport at least once in every city I visit from now on.
I was due for one more quirk anyway. 😛