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We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.

A Closer Look at a Halcyon Backpacking Company Tour - Exploring Western Canada

A few days ago, I revealed Halcyon Backpacking Company, a new outdoor-adventure travel company for 18-35 year olds living with mental health issues. Today, I would like to share an example tour itinerary with you, showing you what a potential Halcyon tour could look like for participants. More info on this tour and other examples can be found here.

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Tour Itinerary:

Day 1 - Arrival in Calgary

Participants will arrive in Calgary and check in with the tour staff at our hotel base camp. Any gear needing to be rented, will be sorted out as clients check-in. Participants will gather for a meet-and-greet dinner, where they will meet their fellow travellers and get to know the tour staff. After dinner there will be an optional guided tour through Calgary.

Day 2 - Calgary to Banff

After a quick breakfast at the hotel base camp, we will pack up and start making our way West towards Banff and the Rocky Mountains. After lunch in Canmore, we will meet up with a local tour company to take a scenic bike ride up the mountainous slopes. We will then head down the road and check into the campground in Banff. Once getting the tents up, we will jump on the Banff Gondola for a dinner atop Sulphur Mountain. It will then be back to the campsite for an introductory therapy session with the counsellors.

Day 3 - Banff

As we cook breakfast during our first morning in the mountains, a park ranger with Canada Parks will share their knowledge and expertise with the group. After cleaning up, it is off to our first hike of the trip, a moderately difficult trek up to the Castle Mountain lookout. Our counsellors will lead a brief group session over lunch at the top of the mountain over lunch. Once returning back to Banff, we will make dinner and the remainder of the evening is free time for participants to do what they wish.

Day 4 - Banff to Jasper

We will rise early for our departure from Banff as we will have a long day ahead of us. Breakfast will be in Lake Louise, after which we will go on a walking tour of the mountain town. Then it is back on the bus for the afternoon until we arrive for a short hike to Pyramid Lake to stretch the legs, before checking in to our campground and pitching camp. After our dinner around the campfire, we will have a relaxing evening soaking in the natural Miette Hot Springs under the stars.

Day 5 & 6 - Jasper

This is the first day of our individual sessions with the counsellors, so after breakfast the group will get split into two smaller groups. One half of the group will go on a day hike to Mt. Edith Cavell with the tour guides, while the other half will stay behind in camp to have their solo sessions with the counsellors and to explore Jasper. On the second day, the two groups will switch. Those who went hiking the first day will remain in camp, while those who did the individual sessions with the counsellors will go off on their hike.

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Day 7 - Jasper to Kamloops

Our longest travel day of the trip won’t be without breathtaking sights as we head through the Rocky Mountains and into the British Columbia interior. We will have several lovely stops along the way to stretch our legs before nestling into the campground outside Kamloops for the evening. Our counsellors will run a group session in camp to summarize the individual sessions from the previous days.

Day 8 - Kamloops to Kelowna

Today is our relax day from the long bus ride and hikes the days before. In the morning there will be an optional city tour for those interested, but otherwise the day is yours to do what you wish. Sleep, eat, shop, whatever you need. We will also be spending the night in a hotel instead of in tents, so you can catch up on some sleep.

Day 9 - Kelowna to Hope

Back on the road as we head closer to the Pacific Ocean. We will traverse the Coquihalla Pass and experience one of the prettiest section of highway in the world, before arriving in Hope, British Columbia. We will pitch camp in the early afternoon and go off to explore Kawkawa Lake and Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park. There will be some hiking, so have your boots on. We will unwind after dinner in Harrison Hot Springs, and head back to camp for an evening session with the counsellors.

Day 10 - Hope to Vancouver

Into the big city! We will arrive in Vancouver in the early afternoon, perfect timing for lunch in Stanley Park and a walk along the Sea Wall. The tour guides will have some recommendations for activities in Vancouver, before heading downtown for a nice dinner. We will spend the night camping along the Pacific Ocean, with the sound of waves crashing outside the tents.

Day 11 - Vancouver to Victoria

In the morning we will get on the ferry to Vancouver Island and Victoria. After a lunch in Victoria, we will head north to explore the island and find our campground. We will explore Pacific Rim National Park by day, and by night we will hike into our secluded campsite with a nature lesson by a BC Parks ranger and another group session with the counsellors.

Day 12 - Victoria

After breakfast in camp, participants will have a wide range of activity choices. There is sea kayaking, zip-lining, hiking, surfing, whale watching, and many more. The bus will have a drop off and pick up time for whatever option you choose. Once everyone is back in camp, we will head out for our farewell dinner. The counsellors will lead their final group session, wrapping things up and leaving you ready to face the world when you get home.

Day 13 - Victoria to Vancouver

Departure day. After packing up camp, we will head back to Victoria where participants have two choices for drop off. The first stop will be at the Victoria International Airport for those flying out of Victoria. Those flying out of Vancouver International Airport can remain on the bus as we take the ferry back across to the mainland.

More information on this tours and other tour examples can be found here.

**This tour is just an example to show potential trip layout and planned service offerings. There will be a much greater variety of tour locations and options once tours actually become available, with tours making stops in as many desirable locations across North America as possible. Final tour details are subject to change.**

Vote for me in the Big Blog Exchange!
I have just signed up for Hosteling International’s Big Blog Exchange and with your votes, could swap countries (and blogs) with another travel blogger from a different continent for 10 days! Here is how it their website explains it:

"The Big Blog Exchange is run by Hostelling International and is an exciting and unique project where 16 passionate bloggers swap blogs and countries with each other simultaneously for 10 days - and share their experience with the world. The project was first explored in 2013 and was a great success engaging over 1200 bloggers across 100 countries."

Voting goes from now until September 3, and all you need to vote is an email address. You just go over to my profile page and put in your email. They then send you a confirmation email where you have to click on a link to confirm your vote and make sure you aren’t a spam robot, and it is done. 
They pick the winners on September 16, and then at the end of October, the bloggers do their exchange. The top two vote getters from each region win, so vote for me and any other Tumblr travel bloggers participating. If you have anything remotely resembling a travel blog, I encourage you to join as well. If you end up joining the competition, let me know and I would be happy to vote for you too.
Let’s get someone from Tumblr on this thing this year!
Click here to vote for me.

Vote for me in the Big Blog Exchange!

I have just signed up for Hosteling International’s Big Blog Exchange and with your votes, could swap countries (and blogs) with another travel blogger from a different continent for 10 days! Here is how it their website explains it:

"The Big Blog Exchange is run by Hostelling International and is an exciting and unique project where 16 passionate bloggers swap blogs and countries with each other simultaneously for 10 days - and share their experience with the world. The project was first explored in 2013 and was a great success engaging over 1200 bloggers across 100 countries."

Voting goes from now until September 3, and all you need to vote is an email address. You just go over to my profile page and put in your email. They then send you a confirmation email where you have to click on a link to confirm your vote and make sure you aren’t a spam robot, and it is done. 

They pick the winners on September 16, and then at the end of October, the bloggers do their exchange. The top two vote getters from each region win, so vote for me and any other Tumblr travel bloggers participating. If you have anything remotely resembling a travel blog, I encourage you to join as well. If you end up joining the competition, let me know and I would be happy to vote for you too.

Let’s get someone from Tumblr on this thing this year!

Click here to vote for me.

I have been informed that I don’t post enough selfies. I typically prefer to be behind the camera, rather than in front of it. For those wondering, that is an attempt at a smile, not a demonic stare.

I have been informed that I don’t post enough selfies. I typically prefer to be behind the camera, rather than in front of it. For those wondering, that is an attempt at a smile, not a demonic stare.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Perfect seats to watch the incoming storm.

Sunday Song

To The Top - Twin Shadow

I haven’t been addicted like this to a song for a long time. I just can’t stop listening to it, on repeat, all day.

I’m not scared if you run to me
lost like when you were mine
and you can take what you want from me
just offer me your time

[Previous Sunday Songs]

Spring vs. Winter at Johnston Canyon, Alberta, Canada

The beautiful hike, though familiar, still felt like a different experience 16 months later during the melt of spring.

Beacon Hill Park, British Columbia, Canada
My office for the afternoon.

Beacon Hill Park, British Columbia, Canada

My office for the afternoon.

Besseggen Ridge, Jotunheimen National Park, Norway
A trail leads down a steep mountain face to a lake fuelled solely by glacier runoff. I am currently working on a longer post about my experiences in Jotunheimen which I will publish next week, one year after my visit.

Besseggen Ridge, Jotunheimen National Park, Norway

A trail leads down a steep mountain face to a lake fuelled solely by glacier runoff. I am currently working on a longer post about my experiences in Jotunheimen which I will publish next week, one year after my visit.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
I took a walk along the breakwater at Ogden Point, a 750 metre long concrete walkway that shelters docked cruise ships. To the far left is Victoria and my apartment building; in the hazy, far-off distance straight ahead is Washington State.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

I took a walk along the breakwater at Ogden Point, a 750 metre long concrete walkway that shelters docked cruise ships. To the far left is Victoria and my apartment building; in the hazy, far-off distance straight ahead is Washington State.

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

I went for a walk last night as the sun was setting and the moon rising.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to condole yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but inconspicuous despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom no to do desperate things.
- Walden, Henry David Thoreau
Anonymous asked:
Hey there! I just wanted to pop in and say I've spent a whole afternoon on it now and I love your blog :) Your advice is so carefully thought-out & useful and your photographs are pretty awesome too! I can't wait to travel myself and although I'm currently at Uni, I'm taking a Study Abroad additional year, hopefully to Sydney. I'm currently though planning a Europe inter-railing trip for next summer- would you have any advice on that front? Or recommended places in Europe I should? Thanks :)

Hey. Thank you very much for your kind flattery, it is very sweet of you to say.

My main advice as far as travelling through Europe by train would be to research your trip costs in two different ways: buying a per country train pass (such as Euro Rail) or just buying individual train tickets. I found it cheaper to just buy the individual train tickets I needed rather than a train pass to a certain number of countries. But that is because I had an itinerary in mind before hand, and certain countries I wanted to visit. If you are more flexible and want to explore a smaller number of countries but in more depth, something like a Euro Rail pass may be cheaper and easier for you.