Skookum Tour – Wrap Up

It’s been well over a week since I returned home and I would be remiss if I didn’t write some final words about my adventures on Vancouver Island.

Donna (Retirement Reflections) and Deb (Widow Badass) have both written great summaries of our time together. There have been so many possible stories and giggle-induced moments I could write about here, but the thought that crosses my mind with each memory is how welcomed I felt.

I will always carry that enduring feeling of having been lovingly enveloped into this family of friends. Thank you to each of Donna, Deb, Erica (Behind the Scenery), and Ann (Unretired Life).

Family of friends” is completely the right term to use here. Welcoming someone who is not family into the safety of one’s bubble during a pandemic is like accepting them as family, and I know that each one of these ladies have taken their social bubbles very seriously.

I feel genuinely honoured by the generosity of this privilege. Only 7 months ago it would have been a simple gesture, but the world has now changed.

Sign on unisex washroom

Just being on Vancouver Island this summer has been an extraordinary event.

Hiking Jack Point

I’ve travelled a lot over the past 20 years, so getting on an airplane for 5 hours is not an event I consider unusual. However getting on an airplane for 5 hours during a pandemic is … especially as numbers are starting to creep upwards again in Canada.

There have been new challenges – from sitting for hours and hours in a mask, to having to convince a reluctant spouse that I hadn’t lost grip on reality. This amazing trip wouldn’t have been possible at all without the kind understanding of my husband. This is a man with strong opinions at the best of times … and we all know this hasn’t been the best of times.

Hike at Jack Point

And lastly, there is my host, Deb.

I’ve stayed at Deb’s place when she lived in Ontario, and she has stayed at mine. We’ve travelled together, and returned home even stronger friends than we were before.

But could even a solid friendship survive me as a houseguest for 10 days?!!

Well, apparently yes ❤️ The Sisterhood is still strong, and we’ve decided that our upbringing by Dutch mothers probably has a lot to do with it.

Only real sisters could be so dissimilar and so alike at the same time.

We share easily with each other, from silliness to rants, but it’s also the still moments in-between where real friends can be comfortable in the silence of their individual thoughts.

And we both need that to recharge.

Paddling with Deb in Nanaimo off Saysutshun (Newcastle) Island

I’ve been asked numerous times about my favourite experience while on the island, but on a trip like this one, it’s impossible to say. From the first giggly day Deb and I spent with Erica in Victoria, to the last margarita-fuelled day we spent with Donna in Nanaimo, it was all wonderful.

If this post reads like a sappy love letter, well it is. The friendships we make in life are precious. However, the ones we make in the virtual world have an even greater sweetness, if for no other reason than their improbability.

50 comments

  1. Yesss, simply excellent. That’s the way to do it. I also made a friend here in Italy, my first, and we have shared our bubble several times this year and I’m so grateful to her for all our getaways. To many more, yours and mine.

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  2. Joanne, I’m just sitting here smiling, joining you in the special time spent with wonderful friends. Your experience gives me so much hope for the future. Thanks so much for taking us along with you on this incredible journey. You are all so fortunate to have found each other. I know you’ll cherish that. ~Terri

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    • Occasionally I ponder the lives we live right now and how different the world is from our young adult lives. The internet has changed everything and some of it – like this – is pure magic.

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  3. You are right Joanne, sooo many stories and giggles. I love the “Family of friends.” It says a great deal in few words. All of this says a great deal about you, Joanne. You attract what you give and you bring out the best in people. ❤️

    I have been following the flight numbers carefully and the cases on the flights. You likely have kept an eye out on all of this, too. You remind me, Joanne, how just the act of living can put us in harms way, unexpectedly, yet we have to live life. And, I do understand how a wife and husband work as a team when making decisions that affect the family. Comfortable in the silence in huge. I am all for the sappy love letter. Back at ya!!!! xoxo ❤️

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    • Thank you for the beautiful compliment 🥰
      I too believe we attract what we give, so you and Chuck must have plenty of blessings showered on you. Both of you are treasures ❤️

      Yes, I have been watching news about cases reported from flights in and out of Toronto. It is with great relief that I haven’t seen my flights pop up, nor have I received any notifications from the app. Whew! I wanted to believe the risk was low, but validation is greatly appreciated!!

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  4. I am so happy you followed your instincts & decided to set out on this adventure, pandemic be damned! It sounds like you had such a wonderful time & perhaps was exactly what you needed. Beautifully written my friend💕

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    • Thanks Lynn. I can’t believe how hard it was to write these posts. I have fallen out of the practice and now find it extremely difficult to do.

      This trip would have been special even without the complexity added by COVID, however these friendships have taken on a far deeper meaning now 🥰

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  5. Flying is not a priority for us right now, but boy do I need a change of scenery! Vancouver Island is a very special place so glad you enjoyed your visit there, but it is friends that make it exceptional.

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    • The company of friends changes everything! 💕

      I’ve had my change of scenery and now I’m ready to hunker back down at home. With schools opening here tomorrow, and infection numbers already on the rise, I have a lot of concern.

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  6. I loved this post and am glad I found your blog again (not sure why happened.) I read the other blog posts and looks like such a wonderful trip. We missed taking our annual trip to the PNW this summer because we are not ready to fly. Sounds like everything worked out well for you, though.

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    • Glad you enjoyed it Tracey. There was a lot of angst leading up to this trip … not to mention during and after as well 😏. No question there was a heaping helping of boldness mixed with crazy to proceed with it.
      And it was worth every minute!!

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  7. I love this post so much! Not only is it beautifully written, but being able to enjoy, once again, your travels to Vancouver Island though your gorgeous pictures is a gift that keeps on giving. I feel so lucky to have met all of you (except Deb, but I feel like I have) in real life, and to have visited the Island myself just last year. Like Kathy said, I hope to be able to join you all the next time you make that 5 hour plane trip out west.

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    • This post was so hard to write – so many thoughts and ideas all competing for attention. I’m so glad I was able to pull it off in a manner that was coherent.

      The truly best friends we have in life are like family – in many ways, more family than our real family.

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  8. Hey Joanne! Once again you have shared your wonderful trip with us. I agree that it was “adventurous” during these times…I haven’t been on a plane and have no plans to do that anytime soon. But I totally get your attraction. I do think it helps that you’ve becomes good friends by zoom (except for Deb of course) beforehand so in many ways it is reconnecting with dear ones in person. Of course I agree that all the women you touched on your journey were exceptionally wonderful and I hope to be there when you return next summer! ~Kathy

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    • I agree that our Zoom calls over the past 6 months have been a major contributor to this growing friendship.
      But being together in person is SOOO sweet! I really hope we can all get together some day (soon!). The party will be epic 🙂

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    • Oh, how our priorities have changed in a year … when staying virus-free is #1 😕

      Was it wrong that I tossed out an off-the-cuff comment yesterday with Husband about me already planning next year’s visit? 😏

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  9. What a lovely ode to sisterhood Joanne. I’ve enjoyed your hikes, photos and reflections on friendship -all from one of the most beautiful places on earth. I’m not yet ready to get on a plane again but thank you for sharing and as always candid observations.

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    • I understand the attraction of the island if you love outdoor sports. I feel like I could have happily settled in for the long term while there.
      Sadly, I think it will be long time before I get that chance again.

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        • Whew!! I bet this is one scenario where she is happy to have received a bronchitis diagnosis!! I have had my bouts with bronchitis in the past and know how nasty it can be. Best wishes for her speedy recovery!

          We had thunderstorms overnight and it’s windy and gray this morning. I think I’m just going to hunker down and putter today 🙂

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