My two weeks in Victoria

I have been in Victoria for just under two weeks and have really enjoyed my time there. For the first 10 days I was house sitting for Richard’s parents Hilary and JP when they went to Florida, my time was both productive and relaxing. I had fun working on the van and also did some work on various websites – some my own and some for others. I also did lots of running with no shortage of stunning trails and Taz the dog joined me for all but the longest of these.

I managed to get a nice combination of work and play and enjoyed doing some work on the computer looking out of the window and then going outside to work on the van, tending to the animals or going for a run. It seems like a nice lifestyle – having a few animals and growing a few vegetables, reducing the cost of living and having to work less. Living in such a beautiful part of the world also doesn’t hurt! It’s a kind of lifestyle I have been thinking about recently and though I am a long way off living like this, one day I would like to give it a go.

The running has been going well and Richard and his parents were able to recommended lots of great trails around the area. My first long run was 20k around Goldstream Provincial Park just outside of Victoria. The park was beautiful but super hilly so I was extremely tired by the end. I also incorporated running up Mount Finlayson which may have had something to do with it! My quads were pretty sore for most of the following week, I think from running downhill more than anything.

IMG_1786An old railway bridge to run over. It was pretty high!

Last weekend for my second long run in Victoria I ran the coast trail (both ways… so twice really) on Richard’s recommendation. This is a hike that I did the first time I came to Canada two years ago with Richard, Karina and Taz and me and Richard didn’t remember it being too hilly so I though it would be a nice run for my recently recovered legs. This was also to be the longest run I have ever done at 23k so no need to overdo it! … it was SO HILLY! And technical, and wet, and slippery. It was probably the toughest terrain I have ever run on. The whole 23k was hard going with the constant rocks meaning I couldn’t get any speed or rhythm the whole way. Instead I was constantly tacking huge slippery rocks (climbing at times) and dodging slippery roots, all the while ascending and descending! The run took me 3hrs 45mins so was my far the longest run I have ever done as well and the furthest and on quite possibly the hardest terrain.

I was pretty beat by the end (both mentally and physically) but not disheartened, this is just along the coast for the Juan de Fuca costal path so a great training ground for the big run but definitely some good perspective as this is probably about half of what we will be doing in May. Though I am telling myself that the terrain isn’t that bad the whole way along the JDF from hiking it last summer… but that may just be what i’m telling myself. I don’t seem to be able to trust my memory when it comes to such things and hiking a trail and running a trail are very different. I am very happy with how I recovered from this run and although my legs were tired the next day I didn’t experience any soreness. Which is good because I am running 25.5km this weekend! I sure have my work cut out for me.


The same place two years apart. I actually rested the camera on the post you see in the first photo to take the second one two years ago

It was nice to hang out with Richard when he got back from Florida and after showing off the van we got to put up my new one man tent under the watchful eye of Taz (I am still planning on writing about my new gear when I get a chance)

Trying out the new tent

Karina came down for a day at the weekend and we went for a walk along the coast with the dog which was lovely. I could live here for sure, especially with all of the excellent trails and parks. It’s just a 25 minute drive to downtown Victoria too. Ideal!

I could get used to this!

I managed to sell the second row of seats from the van for $75 and dropped the third row bench off at a used car parts centre. They didn’t give me anything for the seat but apparently there is a charge to dispose of anything at the dump and I had had little interest for the bench seat so I figured it was better to give it away than to pay to throw it away. I left it by their gate next to the customer car park as instructed and about 30 seconds later a car arrived and bumped straight into it! I felt a bit bad to leave it here… I don’t think it is going to be treated well at it’s new home!

Richard and Karina headed back home to Comox, while I stayed in Victoria and today took the ferry to Saltspring Island to do some more HelpX-ing. Richards parents have shown me such kindness and I helped out a little in the garden to try and say thank you.

As I stood on the ferry today looking out at all of the small islands just off Vancouver island I had very mixed feelings. On one hand I am sorry that this marks an end to living with Richard and Karina, especially as he isn’t working so much right now and I am now further away from the good friends I have back in Comox. On the other I am excited to be heading out alone for new adventures and to find out what is around the next corner. I have been living in the same spot since last summer and this is the first step in moving away from that. I will be returning to Comox again before I head off on my big road trip but at the moment i’m unsure how I will spend the next two months – which is just how I like it! I do know for sure I will be very sad to leave when the time comes.

As I write this I am full from a lovely dinner (and wine!) at my new HelpX host. They seem like very nice people and have a lovely piece of land overlooking the ocean. My accomodation is a small basic (but self contained) cabin set aside from the main house which gives me the independace I like. Evening meals are together with the family at the house and already I have a very good feeling about this place. I will update soon on how things are going.


Hi, call me Joe. I am a traveller, a runner, a beer drinker, a film lover, a web developer, a hiker and not a very good darts player. I am from the UK, have a BSc in Computer Science from Cardiff University and currently live in Canada.

1 Comment

Jessica A. Hawes

about 7 years ago

That's a very full life your living out there, Joe and it's so good to hear of your being surrounded by such good friends along the way. Good luck with the run this w/end. Don't push yourself too hard . love, Grandma'


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