R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find Out What it Means to Me: Week 4 Abroad

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Last week was excellent. Amazing. A complete 180 from how I’d been feeling.

I really needed that.

What made it so incredible? A few things, actually. The first being that we spent 5 days in Whistler, B.C.

TBH I couldn’t wait to get out of Vancouver. It’s a great city with a lot to do, but it’s just too big for me. Don’t throw stones, but I just haven’t felt comfortable there.

We’d had a week in Whistler planned for months, and I was counting down the days to escape bad traffic and mediocre food and head for the serenity of the mountains.

I didn’t really know what to expect from Whistler. I had heard of the resort city’s fame as a skiing destination, but other than that…? I guess I thought it would be a bit like Park City, Utah: a main street of posh shops with a perimeter of rental homes all centered around an upper-class ski resort.

Well, Whistler’s not not like that, but I’ve found it a lot more laid back and more authentic.

Let me explain.

Yes, there are posh shops and fancy restaurants, but everything centers around super muddy people in Keens and outdoor gear who are here to ENJOY NATURE. This clientelle isn’t about throwing their money around in designer jeans, they’re hitting the bike park or ATV’s and then going straight to dinner. All of the employees have actively chosen to dedicate their lives to entertaining in the mountains (from other super beautiful locations around the world) just so they can spend all of their free time hanging out in the wild. I love the authenticity of that!

I felt comfortable as soon as we arrived and was my happiest in months every day we were there! The joy and excitement from the outdoors-loving tourists and employees around us is just So. Dang. Contagious.

Our wonderful week was enhanced by the fact that this was a work trip for me.

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I spent months coordinating with different marketing departments to arrange 5-star hotel stays and premium adventure activities as a travel writer. Yes, I was committed to constantly photographing, recording, writing, and social media-ing (which gets stressful and distracting), but I was treated to exceptional service and the deepest respect. Our whole family dedicates so much time and energy to properly showcasing the areas we travel to, but usually the people we work with don’t really understand the work involved. Every hotel employee and activity guide in Whistler seemed to genuinely appreciate the effort we were putting in to promote their town.

There’s something about feeling respected in your (usually misunderstood) chosen profession that is so satisfying. I’ll be living off of that recognition for months.

It was a great week for Whit, too!

We signed him up for 3 mornings at a kid’s mountain biking camp in town so he could be around other children. He hasn’t been ready to start pedaling on his own, though, so the camp arranged for him to have a private biking lesson with their director before his first day of camp. I kid you not, within one hour he was playing tag with her on their own bikes!

Whit was Over. The. Moon. It was an incredible parenting moment to see him feel so proud of accomplishing something we’ve been talking about and working on for months! And we love that it happened in Whistler; an area known around the world for incredible mountain biking.

 

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Thanks to our contacts, we were able to pack in all of the adrenaline-pumping activities we love with and without Whit. We went canoeing, drove ATVs and RZRs, spent a day at the Whistler Bike Park, rode the Peak-2-Peak gondola, had a treetop adventure, a private session at a Scandinavian spa, and solved an escape room.

 

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We were also treated to multi-course meals specially prepared for our critiquing pleasure from world-class chefs. Man… the food in Whistler is what I have been seeking for weeks! We honestly never had a bad meal. And some of those meals were even in my top 5 dishes of all time.

 

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Imagine doing what you love and eating great food in the comfort of a great hotel in a beautiful town.

Now do you understand why last week was heaven? 

We sadly left Whistler on Friday morning to head back to Vancouver. We were actually excited to get into the city this time, though, because my sister and brother-in-law came in for the weekend! We had lived down the street from them during our few months in Utah this past year, and we all became very close. We knew they were planning a trip to Vancouver before we left, which has been fun to look forward to for the past few weeks.

We wasted no time in showing them the sights. Playing tour guide all over the city even made me appreciate Vancouver more! I realized after recounting odd facts we’d learned that Vancouver really is a strange city. I like that.

 

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We toured downtown, walked the harbour at Canada Place, ate poutine and smoked meat sandwiches, took a ferry to Granville Island, did everything at Capilano park, biked around Stanley Park, ate great Chinese food, took a ghost tour, another escape room (because Whit is obsessed now) and went to the Canada Day festival.

Oh, wait, I forgot something…

The reason they came into town is because my sister is on tour with the Grammy award-winning music group The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They’ve been touring the West Coast for the last 2 weeks with a stop in Vancouver! What are the odds?!

Her husband I had a great night out seeing their concert. I love their music and always listen to their Sunday morning broadcast, Music and the Spoken Word, but the music in the concert was so much more technical than I’m used to hearing. We were BLOWN AWAY.

Afterwards I was star-struck every time we’d be introduced to one of her MoTab friends. I even got the courage to get in pictures with some! Geeking. Out.

We sadly said goodbye to these loved ones yesterday, and tomorrow we say goodbye to North America.

 

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That’s right, we’re almost on our way to Hong Kong! We have a few last-minute things to do to prepare for this loooooooong international flight, but at least our week in Whistler and weekend seeing family were the very best possible things to do to say goodbye to our home continent!

Wish us luck on the next leg of our journey!