West US & Canada Road Trip – Week 6: Edmonton & Banff
It's hard to believe our six week roadtrip of the Western US and Canada has come an end. What an amazing adventure we have had through desert canyons, giant tree forest, Western coasts, big cities, and campsites in the middle of no where. This final week, we spent our time relaxing with friends in Edmonton and exploring in Banff.
Throughout the journey, we continued to work and build our relationship. We enjoyed audio books and podcasts that motivated our hard work. We relaxed every time we had the opportunity to do so. We found a lot of balance. I remind you to keep that in mind if you plan to make a similar trip.
The beginning of this week's recap sounds like a boring one - we spent a lot of time on the couch and at home. This is real life. We can't be going and moving and exploring all of the time. That's important to remember whether you are traveling or just living out your life at home.
Totally worth the exhaustion and crazy!
Here is a recap of our six weeks:
Week Six: Edmonton & Banff
Here's a recap of Week Six
Day 29 - Vancouver & Kamloops
We woke up bright and early, ready to pack up our belongings and head out of our "meh" airbnb. I was super motivated because we had made plans to grab some bicycles and explore around Stanley Park. Stanley Park is this gorgeous oasis in Vancouver that is almost entirely surrounded by water. They have these great walking and biking paths that run along the outside of the park with great views.
Finished with our morning touristing, we had to head on into work. Luckily, Vancouver has a huge list of work-friendly cafes that have killer reviews. Unfortunately, everyone knows about them! We stopped by 2-3 cafes in Gastown before finding a coffee shop with an open seat.
We ended up at Nelson the Seagull, which is not only known for coffee, but also some damn good bread. We were fans.
Once work was done, we had to kiss Vancouver goodbye. We had a long trip to Edmonton, Alberta in front of us.
We have been listening to some amazing books along our journey, such as the Happiness Advantage, Extreme Ownership, and many more. I highly suggest audio books for long drives.
We stopped less than halfway to Edmonton in a town called Kamloops. Another night in a cheap motel.
Day 30 - Long Drive to Edmonton
Honestly, there is not much to describe here for you. We did our usual morning routine - shower, pack up, and head out to a coffee shop.
We made our way to downtown Kamloops and found a cute coffee shop called Cafe Motivo. We enjoyed some nice coffee and got through our workload as quickly as possible.
We had a big day of driving ahead of us. From Kamloops to Edmonton is about eight and a half hours...
Lucky for us, the trip was actually gorgeous. We headed through the mountains to the North of Banff, passing through Jasper. Although I am bummed I didn't see any moose, I did spot a good sized male elk.
I have to take a second to admire Canada for how great these drives are. There are clean public restrooms every couple of miles. They have public trash containers that are animal-proof. Plus, they have animal passes over or under the roads for safe crossing. I was impressed.
We made it to my friend's home around 1 am. Exhausted.
Day 31 - Edmonton Chill Time
While I did have to get up unreasonably early for some work calls, we enjoyed a relatively lazy Friday. We stayed with my friend, Amelia, and her family. Their home and backyard are the perfect oasis to recover from weeks of travel.
We didn't leave the house. In fact, we hunkered down and ordered in some food, watched movies, and did nothing. It was glorious.
Was very, very happy to be reunited with one of my besties, Amelia.
Day 32 - Edmonton "Night Life"
Is it embarrassing to say we spent all of Saturday morning working? As entrepreneurs, it feels like Connor and I are always working. It sort of comes with the territory.
Plus, it was raining all day. We cozied up and watched the rain from the giant windows on the living room, grateful to feel at home.
We did, however, leave the house today. #winning
Connor has an uncle that moved from the UK to Edmonton a few years back and he was excited to meet up. His uncle, Anders, took us to some fun dive bars where the locals freaked out over the British accents. (Or are they Australian? asked a few...)
We met at one local bar before a quick dinner. Then, onward to the karaoke bar! The place was called Rosie's and I would link it for you, but I couldn't find a website. It was such a fun dive bar, full of drunk locals and a bachelorette party and so much country music that is felt like home.
Connor made everyone laugh with his ridiculous dance moves and I enjoyed singing publicly, which I truly miss from my years of performing on stage as a child. It was a solid night.
Day 33 - French Food and Family time
I enjoyed another glorious morning of sleeping in before Amelia and I headed out to brunch. The reunion of Connor and his uncle may have had some consequences on his stomach... he decided to stay home.
We met with some of Amelia's friends in the French town of Beaumont. Chartier was incredible, with giant cinnamon rolls and delicious prosecco.
I spent the afternoon with Amelia, running errands and picking up groceries. We picked up some cute succulents for her parents who were returning from vacation that evening. I got to spend some time filming yoga classes in her magical backyard oasis.
Back home, we ordered food again (yes, we are enjoying lazy life) and chilled with her parents.
Day 34 - Family BBQ
Monday morning rolled around and we were back at our workloads, although from our cozy spot on the couches again. Amelia's friend, Tom, had come over to cook the family brunch and I got to enjoy someone else cooking for me.
Monday was an exciting day for two reasons. 1.) We were reunited with our fellow Earhart, John, who had rode his motorcycle all the way up from Colorado. 2.) Amelia hosted a family/friend barbecue to get everyone together.
We had the best time! We played yard games, including some new one that had to do with smacking frisbees into a bin. Have I ever mentioned I am not hand-eye coordinated? Moving on...
There was tons of food, good wine, and everyone was so welcoming to us. I have adopted Amelia's parents in addition to my own. Plus, we taught Connor all about the luxuries of S'mores.
It was a successful day.
Day 35 - Prepping for Banff
While I would like to tell you that we had an exciting day of doing something other than work, that would be a lie. We worked from Amelia's house all day again...
Something fun? I did get to interview Connor for the blog. We filmed two episodes - one on wellness and the other on business and lifestyle practices. I cannot wait to share!
We had family dinner and I enjoyed a local yoga class with Amelia's mom. Then, we packed up the car, said our goodbyes to the family, and headed for bed. We would be waking up at 4 am the next day to leave for Banff.
Day 36 - Banff
I don't know how I ever regularly woke up at 4:15 am every morning to drive to early morning yoga, but I am clearly not cut out for it anymore. These early morning drives tend to be brutal, but I am grateful for a loud stereo in my car and lots of coffee.
We made it into the town of Banff in time for my morning calls and I spent the day working in cute coffee shops. If you ever need good wifi in Banff, go to Whitebark Cafe. It was awesome and the food was great too.
John had picked up Connor on his motorcycle and they'd gone off to search for campsites. We had used freecampsites.net to find some sites in the area, as all of the paid campsites in the national park were full.
By the time Amelia and I had finished work, picked up groceries, and made our way into the area near Lake Louise, the boys still had not found a campsite. All the places they went to were full. Even worse, nearly all of the hotels in the area were fully booked. Yikes!
We got to work frantically requesting airbnbs and searching like made for a hotel room(s) that would fit our party of five (Amelia's bf had joined us). Luckily, Amelia was able to secure an amazing condo back in the town of Banff for us to rest our head for the night.
Moral of the story? Plan ahead when going to Banff! This is the only time we had any problems not planning our trip ahead of time.
However, the three story condo had a balcony with killer views and we enjoyed our time together at the spot. Everything worked out.
Day 37 - Exploring Banff
Woohoo! I have a scheduled day off. There is a bit of a misconception people sometimes have about my lifestyle - that I am on vacation all of the time. This is far from the truth, as I find myself nearly always working. So a day off where I get to turn my cellphone to airplane mode is a big freaking deal!
We shuffled out of the condo early in the morning and made our way back toward Lake Louise for a day of hiking. The area was really crowded already when we got there (around 8:30 am), but we were determined to find our views and get to hiking.
The trail we selected took us past Lake Louise, Mirror Lake, and Lake Agnus. Then, we make the steep trek up to the top of Big Beehive. While the trail exhausted me, the views at the top were worth it. I sat in meditation for a bit, watched the chipmunks, and, admittedly, cuddled with Connor a bit.
I was trying to stop myself from being in denial that he would be leaving the following day for the UK.
After hiking, we were desperate for more coffee and a big plate of food. We enjoyed a late lunch at one of the restaurants at the Fairmont. Then, Connor and I made our way to Calgary for the night, to a hotel near the airport.
We stayed in for the evening, just enjoying our time together and making sure Connor was well packed for his trip home.
Day 38 and beyond - Heading Home
Yikes! This is probably one of the toughest mornings I had the entire trip, but it was 100% worth it.
I brought Connor to the airport and we spent the morning enjoying coffee together. Saying goodbye was tough. We are both digital nomads. We move around constantly and are pretty unsure of when our paths will meet back up. He's off to the UK and Indonesia for a couple months. I am making my way back to Arizona before I decide on my next adventure.
The cool thing about love is, you want the other person to fly and find gratitude to the moments we are together.
I spent the next few days making my way back down South. Friday night, I made my way out of Canada and across most of Montana, stopping at Butte for the night. Then, I made my way into Salt Lake City for a couple days to see my dear friend Ruth and her family. Monday night, I made my way to a cheap hostel in Vegas, then onwards to San Diego.
I'm here in San Diego for less than a week, seeing other friends and ready to go crazy celebrating my bestie, Krystyn's bachelorette party. Then, onwards to Arizona for a couple months (details on my plans coming soon).
This road trip was freaking amazing! While exhausting and unexpected, we saw incredible scenery, got to connect with many people along the way, and enjoyed a truly nomadic summer. I would totally do it again, although perhaps schedule a bit more time for each national park.
Really freaking blessed to have a partner I can adventure with, one that I love and respect dearly. To really understand the kind of love I'm talking about, check out this email I sent out just after we said goodbye.
Life is truly unexpected. And magical!
Questions about our adventure? Comment below! I would love to chat about our experiences.