After the short trip on the ferry I arrived in Nanaimo. Seeking the wild nature of the island, I headed straight north with the intention of reaching Tofino. Half way, dawn would
set in and quickly turned into a clear night. Of course I hadn’t made any detailed plans on where to stay at night. Now that I have the possibility of sleeping in the car, however
accommodation in the traditional sense is out of question.
Anyway, once the night had set in, it was quite hard to find a cozy place to park for the night. I really had wished for more regarding the first night in my new home than a
pullout on the side of the road, but at this time, I just didn’t have much of a choice. To be honest, at first it was strange to sleep in the middle of nowhere on your own. But I
got used to it quite fast!
On the next day the journey continued. I was dazzled by the beauty of the landscape. Crystal clear lakes surrounded by dense, lush, green forests. A winding road going up and down
until reaching the westcoast of the island. Tofino, a hub for surfers and whale watching enthusiasts. Even though it was already off-season, the little town was well-visited by
all kinds of tourists. I parked my ride pretty much in the centre and quickly found a bakery with Wifi and good coffee. After a quick research I knew what the main attractions
were. I wasn't that eager to do any of them though. It’s in my nature to seek the un-touristy experiences. That in mind, I left Tofino after the first night towards the more
down-to-earth Ucluelet or short ‘Uki’. It didn't take me long until I got in touch with the locals. Martin told me about his current job here as a Shanterelle picker. Shanterelles
are mushrooms - no not hallucinogenic ones, but very fine first-class cooking mushrooms. All my life I’ve been a passionate mushroom picker, so it wouldn't take me long to ask if
I could come along. Later that night I had the pleasure to meet Antoine and Luke. All three of them would share a empty real-estate. I loved there enthusiasm about living a simple
The Shanterelle hunt would be a great experience. Equipped with a huge bucket, a swiss army knife (thanks for the gift) and a compass, I would fight my way in to this dense
forest. After three hoers my bucket would overrun with this golden delicacy. After a second run we would call it a day and head of to a hippy community deep in the forests. I’ve
sold my daily gatherings for 75$. Good money considering the fact I did something I really like.
This community would house around 30 very alternative folks during summer. Most of them make there living the way I’ve just spend my day. This place is located by one of the most
amazing lakes I’ve ever seen (see picture with the old rainbow bridge). What better start can you imagine? What better lessen than, you don’t need much to be happy can you take
for such a trip?
Vancouver Island offers for sure a lot of incredible hiking routes. But the real adventure lies deeply hidden in the woods. A WWII Bomber crashed not far from Radar Hill in to the
side of a hill. And the biggest adventure is to get there. Martin and me started the hike through complete wilderness, only with a vague description where to enter the woods from
the highway. After a couple of minutes we found the marker we where desperately looking for, a deserted building in the middle of nowhere. Reassured to be on the right way, we
continued our ‘run’ through a boggy marsh. Yes it became a run because we didn't had any idea on how far it is and by this moment it would be already late afternoon. Someone would
be kind enough to mark the trail with bows. Unfortunately this must have been during the dry season. The marsh would force you to find an alternative route on every step.
The daylight begun to fade and we where just about to give up, when we noticed a shimmering object just ahead of us. There it was the wreckage of a Canso bomber, a Canadian-made
flying boat that crashed into the these forests in February, 1945, just months before the end of the war. Serendipitously all of the twelve crew members survived the crash!
The next day I would ride back down south to Nanaimo with the goal to play more discgolf. Out of convenience I parked my car in the park with the discgolf course and spend the
night there. By this I could make the most of my time playing even after sunset.
My journey actually started already at the end of June. I spend the first two and a half months of my newly gained freedom all over Europe. For the first time in years, I finally
had enough time to visit friends and family across all my ‘homes’ in Poland, Switzerland and Austria. In addition I went to Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and
However, this blog will focus mainly on my fantastic journey on the other side of the big pond, so let’s get started!
Imagine sitting on a plane towards the biggest adventure in your life. You would expect to have a rush of thoughts swirling through your head, maybe even goose bumps arising on
your skin. Well, nothing like it appeared to me and I must admit, I was surprised. It might be due to the fact that I had just left the three-day wedding of my polish cousin and
his wife and still hadn’t recovered from the extensive celebrations. Another explanation might be my earlier traveling experiences. However, I guess the answer was even simpler- I
just didn't realise that this was finally happening for real! It would take me another couple of days, yeah even weeks, to fully grasp what was going on.
I got picked up on the airport by Kris Hunka, a friend I had met in Thailand earlier this year. He was actually responsible for the fact that I had decided to start my trip in
Vancouver and not, as originally planned, in Seattle. I didn’t regret this decision.
His cozy apartment was located in Vancouver downtown. After celebrating my arrival, the main task consisted in finding a suitable vehicle for my adventure across the
Pan-Americana. To find out more about this mission, see as well the section ‘Mi Casa’.
Vancouver turned out to be a lovely city. During my ten days there, apart from searching a car I would spend my time on walking the different districts of the inner city, hiking
through the ‘rain’-forests of Stanley Park, seeing the main attractions and playing a lot discgolf! Vancouver is one of the most diverse places I’ve been to so far. By that I mean
especially the people and the culture they bring along. It’s home to a huge Asian population. Some would say it has the biggest population of Chinese outside of China. Honestly, I
didn't do my research on that. There is also an impressive amount of homeless to be seen on the streets. Due to a very open policy on drugs, you can’t walk the streets without
constantly smelling the scent of weed!
Kris was a great guide with a lot if background knowledge on the more hidden places in town. Especially when it comes to cities, it makes a huge difference to experience them with
Once I had acquired my car, I would spend two hours in a parking lot of a hardware store, in order to modify the inside into a comfortable home- including a bed, a storage room
and even a fold-out table in the back. I was finally ready to hit the road!
The next day I drove north to Horseshoe Bay, where my so far nameless car and I got on the ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.