A month housesitting in Canada! I’d been looking for a house sit on Vancouver Island for a while as I was keen to spend some hiking and photographing wildlife. I’d last visited the island back in 1995, on my first round the world trip, and has enjoyed Victoria. Now I wanted to explore more of the island.
The sit was in a town called Campbell River.
I had expected a pretty marine to wander around, quaint cafes with moose cravings and easy to access wilderness. You don’t always get what you expect…
I got a commercial fishing port, one decent café right by the highway and hiking trails that you need a car to get to (I didn’t have a car).
Not every housesit is what you think it will be even when you’ve done your research.
Still I figure there is always an adventure to be had. During my month in Campbell River, I learned a lot…
1. They like their cars big here. As I pulled up to a stop sign on my push bike I heard a big truck behind me. When it pulled up alongside me I had to laugh as the wheels were as tall as me! Monster truck rally anyone?
2. Caps are a compulsory part of every man’s wardrobe.
3. Canadians like wood. They like to climb it, chop it and run on it. I went to the Loggers Sports one weekend and saw a lot of wood.
4. Every time I see a snake I jump, then laugh at myself. I can’t help it, simply not used to seeing the little beasties.
5. Courgettes (or zucchinis to some) triple in size over night…
6. “Push bike” is not a word easily understood by 20 year olds, even while holding a bike helmet in my hand.
7. The bathroom is called the washroom.
8. You flick switches up to turn them on.
9. Canadian shop assistants are very friendly.
10. Walmart is not my favourite place. Broccoli is wrapped in plastic. There are entire aisles full of junk food. I was spoiled living in Mexico prior to this housesit and having local farmers markets close by.
I was lucky to be looking after Kitty while I was there. She wasn’t the best office assistant as she kept falling asleep on the job, but she did make me smile every day.
Having a vegetable garden was my second piece of luck. I love to grow things and to be able to create dishes directly from the garden. I had so many courgettes that I was giving them away to the neighbours and coming up with different recipes. I tried my hand at bread which come up pretty well, especially topped with butter!
Across the road from me was an empty piece of land that has been taken over by blackberries. Picking berries reminded me of doing the same when I was a kid – they grew wild by the side of the road so we’d pick them on the way home from school.
I did get to see some wildlife as deer would wander across the back lawn, which was wonderful. On a hike down to the river I was also lucky to see bald eagles.