So, as of this afternoon, I have officially joined the millions of others who have had to cancel a trip abroad because of what’s going on in our world right now.
And this had such a profound effect on my day that although I was originally going to write a post recommending the top 5 places I officially think you should visit, as a follow up to my most recent post, The Top 5 Places I Officially Can’t Wait to Visit, I think that many of us have dealt now with cancellations and so I thought it might be more valuable to share what’s come up for me due to cancelling this trip, as well as how I’m handling it.
To start, honestly you guys, what’s come up for me is that this really sucks.
But if you’ve had a trip cancelled and are anything like me, you know there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s not just knowing that we won’t be getting that much needed vacation or that those spectacular sites we’ve been planning see for months are going to have to wait. It’s not just the disappointed feeling of losing out on precious time spent with the friends and family you’ve planned the trip with.
No, it’s so much more than that.
It’s a really harsh reality check about the state of the world right now and a heartbreaking reminder of what all of this could mean for our futures.
In my daily life I have by no means been avoiding the news or trying to live in a fantasy that we’re not living through something really scary. I actually had to make a conscious effort to stop reading the news as often as I was because it was taking a real toll on my mental state. (Highly recommended if you’re feeling constantly overwhelmed by all of this). So it’s not as though this was the first thing to hit me hard about the changes our world is going through.
But, there’s something different about reading your friends’ posts about their trips being cancelled and then suddenly being one of those people posting about cancelling a trip.
Now, I absolutely recognize that having to cancel a family trip is nothing compared to what a lot of beautiful people on this planet are having to deal with right now. And I promise I have no intention of making this post out to be that way. But we are all going to be affected in different ways every single day, and for me, today, I’m both heartbroken about missing out on this time with my family and shattered at the reality of what this all means for not just our world, but for the future of travel and for everything else being impacted by this chaos we’re living through right now.
And I thought that important to share because I imagine many other people have had the same feelings come up when canceling their trips, and I think one of the most valuable things we can do for our fellow humans right now is to remind each other that we’re not alone in this, and we’re all going through this together.
Weeks ago when this all began, I promised you guys a constant flow of optimism in these posts. And though I think it’s important we all recognize and process the emotions our individual situations bring up for us, I think it equally important to find and share silver linings where we can.
So, that’s exactly what I’ve done with this trip cancellation.
Visiting Vancouver would have actually been my family’s second trip to Canada. The first time we went was in May of 2018 and the whole time we were there we kept just saying we have to come back here. The consensus was that 10 days just wasn’t long enough.
So, because I can tell you that Vancouver is soo worth a visit, I thought instead of writing about the disappointment that’s come with canceling our trip, I’d share with you guys my favorite spots to see in and around Vancouver, and maybe it’ll add a little inspiration for how to deal with your trips being cancelled as well!
First on the list…
If you enjoy botanical gardens then this place is a must for you if you visit Vancouver (though these are actually located on Vancouver Island). It’s easy to spend an entire day just taking in the breaktaking views, bright colors, unique and interesting flowers and the beautiful art they have created.
Something that makes Butchart Gardens so unique is not only it’s size, but that it boasts multiple different gardens, which are planted with thousands of varieties of plants all following the theme of that garden. I could tell you how amazing the gardens are, but I honestly wouldn’t be doing them justice. So, I will let pictures show you how beautiful they are instead.
Sunken Garden – 5 full acres of planted gardens
Rose Garden – 280 varieties of roses
Japanese Garden – Over 200 meters of streams and a small waterfall
Italian Garden – Nearly 22,000 square feet of gardens
Mediterranean Garden – 110 different Mediterranean inspired plant varieties
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
So although the bridge itself is pretty cool, the park also features a lot of other activities that make it a must-visit when you’re in Vancouver.
The Treetop Walk
The park has bridges built between magnificent towering trees, connecting to platforms that wrap around these huge tree trunks. The views from so high up are truly something spectacular!
But what’s more impressive is that all of these bridges and additions are done in such a way that there is no damage done to any of the trees. That’s one of my favorite parts about this park. They take extreme care of their environment, ensuring that things like littering is not allowed, that no one walks where they could damage any of their nature, they monitor and take care of the wildlife that lives there and they shared in detail on their tours the lengths they go to ensure this all takes place. There’s also a treetops scavenger hunt for kids, but it turns out if you ask nicely the ranger will let you play too…
They warn you on the website that this isn’t for the faint of heart, and I would say if you’re afraid of heights this part might not be for you. However, you have to cross the suspension bridge just to get into the park, so if you can manage that I definitely think you can handle this!
The Cliff Walk is made up of suspended walkways coming off of cliff edges, boasting glass walkways under your feet on some parts. It’s a great experience if you want to feel like you’re just floating above a beautiful canyon filled with trees, plantlife and a flowing river.
Another aspect I loved so much about this park was learning about the lives of British Columbia’s First Nations people. The park has dedicated part of the grounds to highlighting the historical connection between First Nations’ culture and the natural world. Using Totem Poles displayed throughout the park, making up the largest collection in North America, they call Kia’palano (Capilano) B.C’s earliest human connection to nature.
Kia’palano was actually the First Nations name for the river, and over time as the land was bought and developed into the park it was anglicized into Capilano.
These just barely skim the surface of what makes Vancouver so exciting, and I’ll tell you looking through my old photos and reminiscing about that trip has only made me grateful that I got to experience them before this all happened, and even more excited to go back!
And because a part of what’s keeping me sane through all of this is still planning for the future when travel does return to normal, you can bet I spent a lot of time not just reminiscing, but also planning for our future trip!
If you’re like me and have had to cancel travel plans, I totally understand if you’re still feeling too disappointed or overwhelmed to start planning a possible re-do of your cancelled trip. But, I can tell you looking through my old photos of Canada and remembering the fun times we had definitely made me feel better and improved my outlook on everything going on.
So, maybe if you’re not feeling up to re-planning just yet, sit down and look back through old travel photos from a past trip. And if you’re lucky enough to be quarantined with the people you took that trip with, I highly recommend doing it together. Sharing the stories you all remember will not only make for some good laughs, but will be a wonderful distraction from what is going on in our world right now.
Until next time searchers. Stay safe out there.
Have a favorite place in Vancouver or the surrounding area you think is a must-see? Let me know in the comments below!