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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Banff & beyond: #ExploreCanada the local way.

“So when are you headed to Banff again, Elena? Later this month? Excellent! You are most welcome to stay with us of course ..!” (In actual fact, we insist, Bill seems to add). This is my friend Bill and his beautiful family, who I’ve met during my wonderful stay on Vancouver Island in Tofino. They truly embody the very essence of the typical, Canadian soul I’ve felt and experienced all across the country so far: A most warm-hearted, welcoming spirit that has the capacity to move a traveller’s heart to the point of sheer emotional overflow.

 

I have become lost, my dear readers. Lost in the beauty of a place that has reached my heart, mind & soul in ways unimagined. That’s the Canadian Rockies & their outstanding community of people speaking.

As always, people are what make a place. Many of you, I imagine, will have heard about the “king of all road trips” in the Rockies, heading north or south between the two national park towns of Banff & Jasper. Heard about the masses of tourists that go there each year, the area’s stunning natural beauty. This time though, let me tell you about the human face behind one of Canada’s most popular travel destinations.

So what is truly local in a place like Banff that has just under 10.000 residents, but more than two million visitors each year? For me, it starts with a sense of community. No matter if it is the lady at the public pool, the Creative Arts Centre staff and their international conferences, festivals or arts retreats, the local restaurant owners or the Farmers’ market people we talk to: Banff has a lot going for itself, and this is reflected in the people that live and breathe to tell that story. How lucky for a curious, open-minded traveller therefore to be invited to “Banff’s backyard party”, staying at Bill & Fern Hodson’s family home in the town’s quieter, residential area …

... surrounded by unlikely peace & mountain glory all around!

… surrounded by unlikely peace & mountain glory all around!

 

Taking my first walk downtown ...

Taking my first walk in downtown Banff …

 

... I stumble into the most warm-hearted, welcoming shops such as this one, called "Branches" & priding itself on selling only local, Canada-made artisan produce, design articles, textiles & more!

… I stumble into the most warm-hearted, welcoming shops such as this one called “Branches”. It prides itself on selling only local, Canadian handcrafted accessories, design articles, textiles & more!

 

Just a little further down the road, make sure you stop a "Crock A Doodle" for creating your own pottery piece of art - a perfect place for a creative traveller like myself!

Just a little further down the road, make sure you stop a “Crock A Doodle” for creating your own pottery piece of art …

 

Just a little further down the road, make sure you stop a "Crock A Doodle" for creating your own pottery piece of art - a perfect place for a creative traveller like myself!

… a perfect place for creating art and hence a creative traveller like myself!

 

The people at next-door's Wildflower Café are very, very friendly too (and so are their coffee & cakes measured in taste!)

The people at next-door’s Wildflower Café are very, very friendly too (and so are their coffee & cakes matching in taste!)

 

For lunch, I can recommend heading across the street (yes, it really is all that close!) to the local Farmers' Market, where this lady is offering me a "hot elk" with meat from her hand-raised, farmed elk near Calgary!

For lunch, I can recommend heading across the street (yes, it really is all that close!) to the local Banff Farmers’ Market, where this lady is offering me a “hot elk” with meat from her very own, farmed elk animals near Calgary!

 

Not to forget my very own, beautiful family here themselves, likely gathering for a true "family picture" at the end of my stay.

Not to forget my very own, beautiful family here in Banff, likely gathering for a true “family picture”: THANK YOU, dear Bill, Fern, Talia, Adam & Penny (from left to right) for taking me in and allowing me to feel as one with you!

 

Already start missing you heaps, but good to know such a dear part of me as my "baby book" is with you ..!

Already starting to miss you heaps, but good to know my “baby book” has stayed with you ..! Read more about “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook” here.

 

Beyond Banff: Canmore, Minnewanka Loop & the Ink Pots at Johnston Canyon.

The magic of course does not stop in Banff itself. Many more attractions are offered within about a 20 kilometre radius of town. As my time on this visit has been limited, I opted for “going with the flow” and listened to what my friends & family would say: Care to join us for a visit to Canmore Farmers’ Market? Have you been to see the Inkpots yet? Let’s go for a drive around the lakes ..? Oh and Elena, you must go and speak to the people at the Banff Creative Arts Centre .. They will certainly be able to point you in the right direction.

In actual fact, let’s go there right now!

Visiting the Banff Creative Arts Centre and hearing about their possibilities for supporting artists, all the way to considering another writer's retreat here ...

Visiting the Banff Creative Arts Centre and hearing all about their possibilities for supporting artists, all the way to considering another writer’s retreat here …

 

... is something I would simply love to do and come back for, especially in an environment as attractive as this one.

… is something I would simply love, especially in an environment as attractive as this one.

 

Just a little later, we leave Banff to go for a ride ...

Just a little later, we leave Banff to go for a ride …

 

... visiting what is easily one of the most beautiful places on Earth: Minnewanka & Two Jack lakes.

… visiting what is easily one of the most beautiful places on Earth: Minnewanka & Two Jack lakes on the Minnewanka Loop.

 

Thank you Adam for taking me there. <3

Thank you Adam for taking me there. <3

 

And to Penny, who I share an afternoon's worth of exploring Canmore Farmers' Market with, including our stop at ...

And to Penny, who I share an afternoon’s worth of exploring Canmore Farmers’ Market with, including our tasting stop …

 

... at Fallen Timber Meadery, a local honey wine producer.

… at Fallen Timber Meadery, a local honey wine producer.

 

They also recommend I go to see Johnston Canyon, just near Banff on the Bow Valley drive ...

They also recommend I go to see Johnston Canyon, just near Banff on the Bow Valley drive …

 

... where it is possible to see wildlife up close, such as this cute little mountain grouse ...

… where it is possible to see wildlife up close, such as this cute little mountain grouse …

 

... all the way to the so-called "Inkpots", a system of underground cold springs further up the Johnston River valley. Extending the canyon hike by a half-day hike up the mountain to the Inkpots gives you fewer chances of meeting other people - and more opportunities

… all the way to the so-called “Inkpots”, a system of particularly colourful (and cold) springs further up the Johnston River valley.

 

Gotta love the sheer beauty of the Rocky Mountains near Banff !!!

Gotta love the sheer colour burst of the Rocky Mountains near Banff !!!

 

Next up, I shall spoil you to even more natural beauty, sharing my top picks of travel stops & glorious mountain scenery on what I deem to be “the most beautiful 300 kilometres on Earth”: National Park Highway 93 on my road trip from Jasper to Banff & back.

For even more of that mountain glory in & around Banff, check out my entire photo gallery of my trip through the Canadian Rockies here:

 

I have also produced a travel video that highlights some of my travel adventures in Western Canada, all the way from Vancouver to the vast open plains east of the Rocky Mountains. A fascinating, funky take on what has truly been a life-changing journey. Enjoy with sound & smile 🙂

 

See you in Banff! 🙂

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
The Okanagan #Winelover Valley: Top Travel Stories from a World Class Wine Destination.
Between Banff & Jasper: The most beautiful 300 kilometres on Earth.

2 Comments

  1. Fern

    Wow! 
    Just filled my heart with happiness to see from your perspective all I am blessed to live with. 
    Although we call this beautiful part of the world home, I see us as citizens of the world and we are open to other beautiful souls such as yourself! 
    You are a part of us now and will forever bring forward all you received and we will keep your loving smile and joy for life with us! 
    Xoxo
    Fern

    Reply

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