by Lara Gladych –
Seaside Magazine wants to live up to our slogan of being “the voice of the Saanich Peninsula,” so, in every issue, we’ll be asking people to answer a question. We’re looking for responses from all ages and across the diverse neighbourhoods that form our community.
Travel. It has a way of evoking so many feelings and pictures in the mind’s eye. We recall the experience of our favourite travel destinations through all five senses: how the air smelled; what colours were prevalent; what tastes still linger from the food and drink; perhaps the music of the area or the sounds of nature; and then, what we touched such as the water, sand, machines, monuments and so much more.
At the heart of a wonderful travel experience is how we felt, and how we can transport ourselves back to those feelings when we remember. It may have been a sense of connectedness to a place, a particularly exhilarating adventure, or possibly special people we met along the way who were unforgettable. It all comes together to create that glimmer in our eyes when we recall a vacation or destination that will always make us smile.
“What was your favourite vacation?” I asked the people who lazed about the front lawn outside the Pier on a beautiful July evening.
Many people had to clarify that I meant “ever,” because this added a broader layer to the question. I suggested that the truest answer probably lies in whatever trip comes to mind first.
“Touring the Middle East,” was the first answer I got, and what a wonderful way to start! This couple loved the “food, people culture … everything. Just gorgeous,” said Peter and Theresa, 62 and 65.
“We went to Italy a couple of months ago. The food was amazing, and we’re big history buffs so we did a lot of seeing the sights. It was a great trip.” Katie, 22, and Alex, about the same age, laugh that to date it’s really their only vacation.
Having come up by sailboat from Oregon, Andy, 74, says: “It’s probably here! It’s great to sail up through the Gulf Islands on to Nanaimo, and then to Desolation Sound.” He says they come almost every year. Another reminder to my kids that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Siblings Megan, 16, and Andrew, 14, agree that their trip to Australia was their best vacation ever. “It was really warm, there was lots to do, and a lot of fun activities.” Friends of their moms were part of the draw Down Under. They’re on vacation from Alberta as they speak.
Monique, 58, shared that visiting Spain, and Barcelona in particular, was her most memorable trip. “It was experiencing the different culture, the food and the wine.” Her friend’s answer is touching: “I took a vacation to Yellowstone with my family in 1976, and that probably holds some of the most wonderful family memories. Everything I saw was so unexpected but natural.” That was Katherine, 55.
“That’s a tough one … actually, I feel like I’m on vacation every day when I’m here.” Karoline, 27, is not vacationing. She moved here from Niagara-on-the-Lake, in Ontario, which is where she grew up, and is her second favourite place to vacation now that she lives here. “I’ve travelled a lot, and you know, I think Canada has some incredibly beautiful places and we’re incredibly lucky. As much as I love Europe and all those other places, here and [home] are still my favourites.”
“Here.” Another someone who loves this very place! “And Vietnam. I loved the people, the food, the culture, the history, the fantastic architecture and the design of the buildings. They had a really different approach to the way they designed the city so that you get different quarters that look and feel very different depending upon where you move. That was kinda cool, I enjoyed that.” This comes from Steven, 44. Accompanying him is Kevin, 26, who loved Norway best. He got on a train in Oslo, and recalls the snow in the mountains and the small houses along the way. “It was pretty great.”
I approached three girls enjoying the peace of the bandshell. Sophie, 14, loved Europe and the Netherlands, where she was able to meet family; Hawaii tops the list for Aynslie, 14, where the warmth was the main attraction; the British Virgin Islands were most memorable for Julia, 14, who vacationed there for a family reunion.
This is a funny coincidence, but two interviewees in a row cited Turks & Caicos as their favourite destination, where the scuba diving and beaches were second to none for both. And finally, for the last couple I spoke with, husband Russell, 63, was enthralled with New York City, while his wife, Vivian, 61, will always remember Paris, “but we love coming here to Sidney.”