This journey brought many beautiful people into my life. Each added a rosebud to my healing flower, but the stem belonged to Ramona!
At the end of October 2022, I received a message through messenger from a solo traveler named Ramona asking me if I was planning to visit Padre Island in the next two weeks. She read one of my posts on a solo travel Facebook group of which we are both members. Two weeks later, we met for a walk on the beach at Padre Island (Texas).
It was indeed an instant connection. We both let our vulnerability create a friendship base on trust and integrity. We met again a few days later in San Antonio and a few months later in Yuma, Arizona. Since then, we have kept in touch with phone calls and texting.
Resting and slowing down gives me time to be a local. I love the landscape and the slow pace here in Maple Bay. I have time to socialize with Ramona's friends and have the pleasure of meeting Denise, Lea, Darlene, Alan, Minerva, Irene, and Mark. I will surely miss our morning routine when Darlene joins us for coffee and breakfast. We create a little tribe that brings me a lot of comfort and good healing. I get introduced to numerology and find my number is 6. It is funny to find out that Darlene and I have so much in common when it comes to our personalities. And, of course, I fall in love with the cutest dog ever, Ramona's Jelly Bean.
This health hiccup reveals a weak link that we all have to deal with while traveling, but if I plan to live a life on the road, I need to consider in my budget to be back home every six months to keep my health in check.
This experience undoubtedly shakes my confidence; getting on the road feels more like a push this time than the excitement I usually get.
I'm starting to gain my energy and start with a small day trip with Ramona. We start our day with a visit to a local artist studio Wilma Millette. Wilma is a collage artist; her work is so clever and unique. I love meeting artists and learning how they think about art and how they express it. If you are ever in Chemainus, I highly recommend visiting her gallery. Chemainus is a small town on the east coast of southern Vancouver Island famous for its over 60 outdoor murals. Now that the sun has come out, walking around admiring the murals feels like a wonderful outdoor gallery. As we travel further north, we stop at the town of Ladysmith for a short walk on Transfer Beach. We drive further north to Roberts Memorial Provincial Park for a short hike through the woods to the Island's edge to view more islands across the channel. As we sit to enjoy the peaceful landscape, the sound of the ocean's gentle waves takes over the pleasant sounds of the birds we enjoyed just a minute ago. Experiencing nature and its music is a beautiful gift from mother nature that I cherish deeply.
Since I had to change my plans, some due to fire-related road closure and some because I needed to rest, we are heading for a long day trip today. There are remarkably few main roads on the Island. So I am surprised to find out that even a main road can be remote. The drive to Port Renfrew through the mountains feels more like a hike in the woods. Just before we left, Darlene mentioned the unique bonsai tree that grows on top of a tree stump in the middle of Fairy Lake. Wow, that is a sight to see!
Our first stop is Botanical Beach Provincial Park, best known for its sandstone tide pools and rock formations. We do make sure to be there at low tide to enjoy this beautiful garden of the sea. (I must say the pictures didn't capture the true colors and beauty of the tide pools). At one point, Ramona and I split as she continued on the main trail, and I enjoyed the challenge of navigating and jumping from rock to rock as I figured out the puzzle through the sandstone, letting the child in me have fun.
I found it amazing that as we explored the West Coast, visiting different beaches, each has its own character. On our way to the next stop, the sun is a welcome warm and light. We are heading to China Beach. It's a small stretch of pebble beach lined with a wall of trees. In the distance are the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula layered with long clouds playing peekaboo. The mountains create a soft allusion of depth as the bold eagle flies above the sea. French Beach is all cobble rocks; walking requires a good balance here. I love the crackling sound of the soft waves rolling away from the shore as they gently dance between the cobble rocks.
We want to squeeze in one more stop today before heading back home. Since we are passing through Sooke, we stop at Whiffin Spit which protects the harbor. It is a nice and easy walk with a beautiful landscape. I plan to return to Sooke when I return to Victoria to check out Sooke Potholes Provincial Park.
Another gorgeous day today. Ramona, Jellybean and I are taking the ferry to Saltspring Island. We go with no particular plan; Ramona lived here twenty years ago, and it is her first time back since she left. We stop at Southey point beach to take in the peaceful landscape. The water is so clear and inviting. I can stay here forever!
You can't get lost here; it is a small island you can explore in a day. By noon we are hungry, and the plan was to drive to Ganges, but as we got to Fernwood Point Beach, we noticed a little cafe on the side of the road and went to check it out. What a wonderful surprise this decision rewarded us. Lunch at The Hen and the Hound Brasserie was fabulous; the food has so much flavor, and the presentation is so delicious.
We don't have all day to explore the island since I need time to pack my car and prepare for my next adventure, exploring the northeast of Vancouver Island. We do stop to see the house Ramona built twenty years ago as it is on our way to Ruckle Provincial Park. The view from Ruckle Park is of a sea of islands; you can even see some islands on the USA side in the distance.
Since the beginning of my travel, there has been a silent quest in my heart to find a new place to call home one day. I would love to have a place where I can have a small cabin surrounded by trees, mountains, and water. Well, I am starting to feel I am finding it...