Tofino. I came here because somebody whispered its name. Twice. Even three times, I can’t remember. “Go to Tofino”, is what I’d hear unanimously, moving across from Vancouver to Salt Spring Island. “You might as well go all the way west.” – “Oh you can’t miss Vancouver Island on your trip. And especially Tofino … Oh my God!” – “Tofino, it’s … It’s such a gorgeous place. Beautiful and rich, well-known for its aboriginal art, roots & heritage.”
Tofino, then. Have YOU ever heard of it?! I am going somewhere on a far-away-from-home trip, following nothing but, and only, local people’s advice this time. It is something we should all do – and much more often, really.
You can only win from opportunities like these, and being open to what’s around you. So I’ve made it to Salt Spring Island in the Southern Gulf Islands of Greater Vancouver. Beautiful spot and here is why you should really go there (not just to Vancouver). To leave out its large sister island, Vancouver Island, would be like travelling to Vienna and not going into the Austrian Alps: It’s okay of course, but you are going to miss out on a big part of what the entire area, geographically, historically and culturally, is all about.
For the first time in a long time, I have managed to do “nothing”. As in, sleeping in, waking up to coffee conversations, lazing by the beach, writing for the sheer fun of it, sharing my life and stories.
As in: Enjoying life at Lone Cone Hostel & Campground.
Now since when does all of that account for “doing nothing”, you may wonder? Lone Cone Hostel & Campground, a 10 minutes boat ride across the sheltered inlet from Tofino, has a way of pulling you into “doing nothing”. Waking up late, taking a good hour for morning coffee, going for a little (or long) walk, renting out a kayak, or simply enjoying the sunshine as well as the incredible natural surroundings. We live in such a hurried world. Out here, it’s like deflating the air mattress of modern-day, urban civilisation for that extra bit of getting touchy-feely with nature, and back to being in touch with your immediate surroundings.
This is the difference I perceive this place to be, as I write up these lines, sitting on a wooden table, coffee cup by my side, the afternoon sun warming my back and listening to the gently rolling sea waves coming in.
The local Ahousaht people have got a thing or two going for themselves. From cultural expansion plans, to providing excellent services for international travellers: It’s refreshing to witness such a thriving First Nation community out here.
As a visitor to a land that has been inhabited by countless First Nation generations over time, I am forever grateful to have shared in a part of their story. To have been here and listened in on the recent development of what has only decades ago been an abandoned site in Native American history. To hear of encouraging signs, where local Chief Nathan Charlie is talking about expansion plans entailing cultural centres as well as more state-of-the-art accommodation for travellers. It is encouraging indeed. “We have had a business partner that has helped us set up the hostel”, he would tell me on one occasion. And adds: “It has since provided employment opportunities to a good dozen of people in our community.” We are very proud of that, he seems to add. And so he should. I do not miss to compliment him on his recent successes, only running Lone Cone Hostel & Campground for the past two years. Given the incredible amount of international travellers that have since picked up, stayed at and returned to this place, it definitely has potential to give the entire Tofino area a heads-up of what is possible in terms of First Nation community business development. Check this out.
So what else is there to see & do around here? Go visit Long Beach (surfing, walking, or else). Check out the local art galleries. Eat at Tacofino! Enjoy life, really.
I dedicate this last part of my article to the beautiful people I’ve met here on my way. To the inspiring, three-hour / nine kilometre walk I’ve taken barefoot across Long Beach, listening only to the sounds of Pacific Ocean waves breaking, thinking of the whales further afield. Next stop out there: Japan. Incredible.
Oh, and if all that talking has made you hungry (it sure has!), then be told of this one little, super popular place I recommend you to go to, called Tacofino. It’s about a fifteen minute ride out of downtown Tofino, and well worth going for. You are guaranteed a good tasty meal there, as well as seeing some muscular surfers. Hm!
More pictures from my travel adventures around Tofino are 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 🙂
And you, which question would you like pondering over in a place as beautiful as this?