This past week we had the opportunity to speak at the AGM of Credit Counselling Canada. We talked about debt, how we overcame it, and how we now live a life with less and promote spending money on experiences instead of stuff. And what do you think we did immediately after that speaking engagement? We went and created yet another memorable experience!
One of our friends (who happens to be a former coworker of Shelly’s from back east) works for Harbour Air -— one of the flight operators here in Vancouver. She gets buddy passes and offers them up to friends and family. She’d offered some passes to us with an ‘anytime you want’, so we took her up on this perk.
We had to fly standby, and there were only two seats left the day before. After our speaking engagement we ventured over to Vancouver’s seawall to see if we’d be able to fly. Lucky for us nobody snagged either of those two remaining seats, otherwise this experience wouldn’t have come to be. This is actually quite significant, more on that later though.
So, five people boarded a Beaver seaplane and were off to beautiful Whistler, BC. The take-off was a little bumpy, only because there’s some chop in the Burrard Inlet from passing ships, boats, and other aquatic traffic. As we ascended, Shelly was nudging me for the camera to snap some shots of the coast from a few hundred feet above, soon to be a few thousand feet above.
I have to take this time to congratulate my wife — she’s not normally good on small planes — but she held both her own, and her lunch on the Beaver. Okay, we’d yet to have lunch, but she didn’t need the Beaver barf-bag.
Now thousands of feet above the Coast Mountains we were both in complete awe of the scenery. The snow-covered peaks seemed to go on forever, and we were so close to the mountains at times it seemed like we’d be able to land on one, gliding smoothly across the snow! This isn’t a flight for catching a nap, there’s just too much beauty to see.
After weaving over and around the peaks, we approached Whistler’s Green Lake, which was like glass at the time, allowing for probably the smoothest landing I’ve ever experienced. From there we paid a visit (and thanked) our buddy-pass sharing friend, then it was off to explore the village.
If you’ve ever been to a ski-resort village they’re all pretty much the same. Overpriced food, overpriced shops, but a nice stroll otherwise. Whistler isn’t very different in that regard. It did have a nice river-walk we enjoyed, on top of watching mountain bikers come down a ski-hill. What a great idea, by the way — converting parts of the ski-hill to a bike course in the warmer months. Genius!
After a few hours of strolling around Whistler’s village we had to catch our return flight, this time on an Otter. On said return flight a couple of things happened.
- We basically got another amazing tour of the coast mountains, Garibaldi provincial park, glaciers, and a fly-by of table-top mountain to try to see mountain goats (we saw no goats). Our pilot enabled headsets and we basically got a tour as part of our flight. What was even better was that our pilot’s likely flown thousands of hours, probably flown that route countless times, yet the excitement in his voice and passion for what he does was evident. You gotta love it when people LOVE what they do.
- We also spent a portion of the flight wondering if the guy in front of Shelly was the same guy we had Christmas dinner with. Turns out it was. And now the story takes a small-world twist. Back on Christmas Day, we and another house sitting couple (and their daughter), along with our friend Dianne all went out for Christmas Dinner on Grouse Mountain just outside of Vancouver proper. Dianne invited another guy to tag along, David, who was also going to be alone on Christmas Day, so we seven strangers all enjoyed a nice Christmas dinner. Well, it turned out that David decided to take a day-trip to Whistler the same day we did. And in the last series of happenstances, we told David about us grabbing the last two seats for the 11:40 flight and he said ‘oh my god, I was actually going to take the 11:40 instead of the 9:00 but I woke up early today’. If he’d have done that, again, this experience wouldn’t have occurred!
It’s fun when odd things like this happen. not only did we have an epic flight experience, but bumping into someone you know along the way always makes for a good story! To be honest, the experience was in the journey, not in Whistler itself. A flight like this over the coast mountains is something everyone living or visiting BC should indulge in, it was an experience we’ll never forget!
Now go sell all your stuff and create a memorable experience!