So it begins! We’re planning our train trip across Canada!
This will be our first trip since we opened the shop three years ago. We’ve closed down between Christmas and New Year’s every year, but we’ve mostly stayed around Toronto, relaxing, packing a few online orders, cleaning up the shop after the holiday craziness.
Now that we have Caleb, and a bit of help in the shop, we’re finally venturing out for our first trip as a family! We don’t have all of the details nailed down yet, but the basic idea is that we’re taking a train trip for around a week or two in the summer.
It’s a bit of a shame that Toronto is near the middle of Canada, because it’s meant we have to pick either going west or going east. My Canadian geography has gotten a lot better since we’ve begun the business, because we’ve shipped orders all over Canada, but I’ve yet to see the west coast with my own eyes.
I’m around 90% sure we’re heading west, mainly because I think it would be amazing to see the mountains, but there’s still a chance we could head in the other direction. I spent a semester in Nova Scotia and it was really gorgeous there. You know me and my flair for nostalgia. And also good seafood. And Anne of Green Gables.
I wanted to plan most of the trip by booking individual train fares to different cities, and stop for a few days along the way, but it turns out it’s super expensive and kind of complicated to do that. I talked to a very friendly person at Via Rail who said “lots” of people do it, but after around 15 minutes on the website checking arrival and departure times, I’ve once again realized that my logistical and organizational skills have a fairly low limit.
So we’re thinking we’re going to take the train straight across western Canada, which should take around four days, and then hang out in Vancouver for a few days. I’ve never been to the west coast, but apparently it’s gorgeous, and there’s hiking and trails and water and good sushi.
If you have any advice on what to do or see in BC, or tips on train travel, I would love to hear it! This is going to be our first time with baby in tow. While for the most part he’s a pretty easy-going kiddo, he’s a kid that likes to run around barefoot and lounge half-naked on the floor.
I can’t wait for this trip – I’m already planning out which pens and notebooks to take. I think traveling by train must be the most romantic way to travel, and if I had more time and money, I think I’d take the train back and forth across Canada just for fun. You can walk up and down the cars, you can sit at a table, staring dreamily out the window with your notebooks and pens in front of you, a cup of coffee rattling on the table, the windows open so you can feel a breeze.
Now years ago, Jon and I took the Trans-Siberian from St. Petersburg across Mongolia to Beijing, and it was one crazy ride. The toilets drained straight onto the tracks, so as you did your business, you could see the tracks and stones flying underneath you. When we were crossing the Gobi desert, we had no air conditioning, and we were right behind the coal engine, so we could either open the windows and breath in coal dust and heat, or close the windows and suffocate more quickly. We had one stretch of four days with no showering, so we became a bit pungent, but at least we had love.
I think if the Chan family is going to travel, we’re going to do our best to do it by train. Next summer, Jon has promised to take the family to Japan, and I’ll bet the Japanese train system is something else.