Savoring Every Moment with Adaptable Adventuring


Mikaela Cowles explore:NW Editor

I’m the sort of person who wants to pack as much into a day as possible. I practiced the mantra ‘Work Hard — Play Hard’ before the mantra was even cool. In high school and college, I balanced three hours of homework and two hours of basketball on a nightly basis. In grad school, I was the gal who worked six jobs just so she could afford to explore on the weekends.

Now that I’m adulting, my passion for doing it all hasn’t waned. But it has evolved. These days, I’m juggling a fur baby, a husband, and a business. Working hard and playing hard often requires a healthy dose of adaptability—an attribute I firmly believe to be a hallmark of a true Pacific Northwest traveler.

One never knows in the PNW what kind of weather Mother Nature is going to bring. She is as likely to share brilliant sunsets as she is to deliver high seas—especially during the fall and winter. Just last year I found myself delayed in Friday Harbor, sitting in a café near the water, watching the weather roll from misty fog to clear skies.

There is something special about rolling with the punches, a lesson Jen and Dan Legg gracefully discovered during their first big sail to the San Juan Islands. The trip included an unexpected layover as the new sailors waited out a severe storm, making the best of their time by catching crab.

With all my life juggling, I’ve also learned to embrace taking advantage of whatever free time I have. Even an hour between appointments can be enough time to explore a new part of town, assuming you know where to go. If you find yourself in Vancouver, don’t miss out on the chance to take a mini self-guided sightseeing tour. Each takes you past some of the city’s most historic landmarks and sweeping views.

Other times, simply scheduling a getaway can feel like a success. Even with how plugged-in I often am, researching and planning what to do, where to go, finding the best spots to eat can be difficult. Luckily, you don’t have to worry. Portia Smith discovered this during her Orcas Island and Lopez Island adventure. Planned by The Isla Vida Group, Portia’s 48-hour excursion included a sampling of the best restaurants, activities, and shopping destinations.

That’s one of the things we focused on in this issue—doing the research, so you don’t have to. I encourage you to check out the Cascade Falls hike, which offers a big reward for a minimal effort. Peruse some of Victoria’s hidden gems, to explore a few of the BC capital’s lesser-known, though equally inspiring, historic spots. Take a gander through Victoria’s top cocktail bars to find a toast-worthy destination. Or, find the best Vancouver coffee spot to set up shop and work. 

And if what you really love is savoring local artwork, don’t miss Kara Navradszky’s living jewelry. Each handmade piece is carefully crafted from succulents and flowers, for a truly island-inspired work of art that’s constantly evolving.

Whether you have an hour or an extended vacation, I hope you’re able to explore—even if it requires you to be adaptable from time to time.

Photo by Rick Takagi

 


About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

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