SPEED ROUND: What do you think of when you hear the word adventure? Beautiful vistas? Thrilling activities? Food so fresh and inventive it’ll knock your socks off?
In recent years, I’ve become acutely aware that there are few diversions as lovely as exploring something new. It’s indeed the reason 2022 has been dubbed the year of ‘revenge travel.’ The wanderlust-starved have seized the opportunity to traverse a less restricted world. Border crossings have eased. Mask mandates have lifted (mostly). The world is buzzing and humming again.
And while ‘carpe diem’ feels more in tune with the order the day than ‘revenge,’ the sentiment that immersing yourself in every available opportunity rings true; it is not just important, but essential. There is something about venturing beyond your hometown, to a shore where the oysters are fresh and the air hangs thick with the smell of saltwater and seaweed, that awakens the soul. Yes, as humans we are good at putting down roots. But exploring gives those roots bigger, fuller, and more diverse legs.
As a relatively new mom, venturing beyond the nest can feel like a Herculean effort. But I’ve found that doing so, whether with my family or solo, brings me back with a renewed sense of energy. It’s that sentiment that makes this issue of explore:NW that much more appealing to me. That energy is something that we all need and can be found here, whether we get it from sampling locally-made salt or exploring a hidden gem.
Now that summer is winding down and fading into fall, we’ve reached a golden hour in the Pacific Northwest. A time when the crowds begin to dwindle and the spurts of rain make the countryside lush with green growth. It’s one of my favorite times of year because while there are those who view travel season as ‘over,’ I see it as just beginning.
Now is the time to explore a new wine destination, like Cowichan Valley. Located just an hour outside of Victoria, this small subset has begun to attract attention for its high-quality wines, intimate tasting rooms, and exceptional views. I personally can attest to the noteworthy pours and singularly welcoming hospitality.
For those whole like their adventuring with a bit more effort, consider kayaking in the San Juans. Lisette Wolter-McKinley’s shares a multi-day kayak excursion is rife with views, wildlife, and scrumptious food.
Planning to make it a DIY getaway? Consider Orcas Island, where inventive chefs are making new menus daily and easy hikes range from easy to hard. Our 48(ish) hour itinerary highlights some of the best shops, bakeries, and wine-tasting destinations on the island. And the best part about it is, it’s the kind of itinerary that allows you to pack as much (or as little) into a day as you wish. Pick and choose. Linger longer over brunch. Pick up the pace on your hike or slow it down and rest a while.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that your time to travel and explore is coming to a close. It’s not. Traveling in September, October, and even early November offers so much that many people forgo because they think summer is over. Side note: Summer officially ends September 22nd. Heck, in the Pacific Northwest summer unofficially ends in mid-October. My advice? Seize the day in the way that suits you best.