Tofino and a Baby - How I Travelled With No Money - Part 3

Monday, February 9, 2015

  • Road to the Rockies

    Road to the Rockies

  • Welcome to Tofino

    Welcome to Tofino

  • Baby Jordan and Zoey

    Baby Jordan and Zoey

By: Zoey Ross

Part 2 here.

People often ask why I absolutely had to hitchhike alone. It’s the same reason I woke up at 7am and left those two other hitchhikers back at the hostel. It’s all practical, there are certain rules I’ve adopted and that’s one of them.

Someone driving down the road is much more likely to pick up an individual if they are alone, look like they smell good and have the ability to stop. No one has room for you, your friend and your German Shepherd. I’ve always strived for a fresh college look and I am certain that my aesthetics and positive attitude have helped a lot.

I made it to Calgary no problem. I even spent a night in a transport truck. Paul the driver was a cook, he had a crock pot in his transport truck and seemed like an awesome dude. One glaring caveat, he was a self-hating, first nations racist. When you are traveling in the company of others, you often come across many polarizing or controversial views. The challenge is to grin and bear what they are saying, because otherwise it gets very awkward. People often just want a good conversation and even more so, someone to listen - no matter how ridiculous they may sound.

I arrived to the entrance of the Rockies in style, a married couple from California on their way to Alaska picked me up in their camper. I sat on a RV sofa as we took a ride through Banff National Park gawking at the mountains in all their humongous glory.

After arriving in Kelowna, I decided it was time to meet my great grandmother Rusty. Turns out her real name is Amy, but the nickname makes sense. It was a good experience and learned and loved a lot, but I couldn’t stay, I had to get to Tofino - time was running out.

So, I mentioned how I didn’t think of others when I left for this trip; two of those others would be my unborn nephew Jordan and my super pregnant sister Candice. I realized that I actually needed to be there, so I started to race the clock. By this point everyone knew I was gone and mum and sis were furious, but Tofino was waiting.

Finally, the Pacific Ocean. It smelt funny, looked beautiful and made me feel warm inside. After my first time on a boat in the ocean and some seriously scandalous (as in I should of called it a night earlier) hitchhiking, I wound up in Port Alberni just before midnight. I was only 2 hours away but could not get a ride. After sleeping in a park for two hours (first and only time – there were no hostels) I swiftly made some progress.

After being dropped off an hour away from Tofino in the middle of a conservation area, a park ranger picked me up because he was worried how I would fare with mountain lions. I’m 20 minutes away, it’s 8am and I haven’t slept but I’m in luck a painter picks me up. Half lucid, he drives me into town and all of a sudden there I am, standing at the crossroads in Tofino.   

I walked the town half asleep taking a few photos and feeling like I could fall fade at any instant. Although the town was beautiful, the pinnacle of the trip was Chesterman Beach. I didn’t have enough money to rent a surfboard but putting my feet in the water was enough for now. That one action with the sun blazing above me and the tide caves behind me, was enough to make the whole trip a success.

The ride home was a blur, I didn’t stop. I broke my rule of hitching after dark and just kept on going. It took me five days to get back to central Ontario, one less then it took to get to Tofino, BC. The speed didn’t matter though, by the time I was in east Saskatchewan I got the call; Candice had delivered a beautiful, healthy boy.

Baby Jordan was the first to hear the story you just read.

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