An Australian living overseas – Alissa Jenkins- Freelance travel and lifestyle journalist.
I grew up in Tumut, a small country town in the NSW Snowy Mountains, but more recently I called Sydney’s eastern suburbs home for many years before moving abroad.
I’ve been in Kitsilano, a seaside neighbourhood in Vancouver, Canada since September 2016.
Living in a place that’s on the doorstep of both beautiful beaches and world-class ski slopes like Whistler Blackcomb lends itself to so many readily accessible activities.
In winter there’s no shortage of nearby places to snowboard or ski, and then in the warmer months cycling and stand-up paddle boarding are popular, plus you needn’t drive far to find seriously beautiful mountain hikes.
Wreck Beach in the Pacific Spirit Regional Park. Popular among locals but not so many visitors, this beach stretches over seven kilometres and comes alive in summer.
Expect nudists, drum circles and magic views of Bowen Island.
On the cusp of Downtown and Gastown is an adorable little bakery called Purebread – a family-owned operation that originally started in Whistler.
In Vancouver, sushi is king.
There are well over 600 Japanese restaurants across the city but my favourite is the waterfront Miku, with a lengthy list of melt-in-your-mouth specialty rolls showcasing local salmon.
Having said that, foodies ought to make a beeline for nearby Gastown, a hotbed for Vancouver’s best eateries.
Main Street for great upcycled fashion stores like F as in Frank and clothing and homewares boutiques including 8th & Main and Much & Little.
Oak + Fort in Gastown for contemporary cuts and fine fabrics, and dutil. for all things denim.
There are also a few cracking second-hand stores like Community Thrift & Vintage.
Between Kitsilano Beach and Hadden Park.
I’m a sucker for the West Coast sunsets here, and I never tire of seeing snow-capped mountains alongside ocean.
Start the day downtown with a Mediterranean breakfast at Café Medina, then drive 30 minutes north-west to the quaint township of Deep Cove, where you’ll find the leisurely Quarry Rock hike.
Less than four kilometres long, it weaves through forest passages, past fern-fringed streams and takes in stunning views over Deep Cove.
Stop for lunch at Honey’s Doughnuts, and pick up a tray of its famous honey-soaked offerings.
Then return to Vancouver to watch the sun sink behind the ocean from Granville Island, and while the rest of the day away in its cluster of bars and microbreweries.
Like all travels, being removed from your ordinary life makes you more thankful for what’s at home.
I certainly have a newfound appreciation for Aussie humour, golden sand beaches and $2 jars of Vegemite, but I’ve also gained a heightened appreciation for the outdoors and some lifelong friends.