Challenge Accepted: May’s Mini-Adventure on “The Drive”

I’ve lived in the suburbs of Vancouver my entire life and I’ve been to Commercial Drive or “The Drive” as many locals call it, all of three times. 10 years ago with a girlfriend, early last year on a date (Sula Indian Restaurant is delicious. See http://sulaindianrestaurant.com) and last summer with girlfriends (You really can’t beat La Mezcaleria. See http://www.lamezcaleria.ca.) Never by myself, here was my chance to complete my solo adventure for May.

I took the Skytrain from Coquitlam Central Station to Commercial- Broadway Station (if I’d driven I might have had to parallel park haha.)  Once off the train I headed started walking on Commerical towards 1st Ave. I admit it was kinda sketchy at first, but the more I walked the nicer it got.

My first stop was at JJ Bean for a quick coffee. It was good but I had been to another location before. Next time I would keep walking, as I came across a couple different coffee shops a few blocks later.

I continued on my way stopping to browse in some of the used book stores and other shops and I picked up some cute notebooks from Lala’s on the Drive.  I came across Rosemary Rocksalt which makes Montreal-style bagels. I picked up 1/2 dozen bagels and kept trekking along.

Visit https://rosemaryrocksalt.com for info!

Dinner time arrived so I started looking for somewhere to eat. There was no shortage of choices but I felt like sushi. I ended up going to Sushi Ville. For $10.50 I got a huge California Bento Box. I couldn’t finish it all; that RARELY happens! Sushi Ville is worth a visit.

After sushi I headed back to Skytrain. Throughout the day I was reminded that The Drive is quite an eclectic street, visited by all kinds of people and lined with a ton of different ethnic eateries and shops. I only went as far as Charles Street but I know there is more to offer beyond there. It’s definitely worth checking out. The Commercial Drive Neighbourhood website at http://www.commercial-drive.com has information about community events!

Challenge Accepted: April’s Mini-adventure in New Westminster

Earlier this month I challenged myself to do one thing each month that I wouldn’t normally to alone. And there I was this morning, April 29th, still not having done anything. Not willing to let myself just forget about it I decided to hop on the Skytain and venture to New Westminster Quay, which I discovered is now called River Market at Westminster Quay . I hadn’t been since it had been redone and I was pleasantly surprised. River Market is a short walk from New Westminster Station so it was super easy to access.

I entered on the 2nd floor and came across this cool hopscotch “game” that included facts about New Westminster in some of the boxes. A man ahead of me pulled his keys out of his pocket, threw them onto a square and proceeded to play. Nothing like reverting back to your childhood!

The next thing I saw was the Vancouver Circus School where people were trying all kinds of things. While it’s not my cup of tea, mostly because I’m afraid, I can imagine it was quite fun for everyone that was bouncing around. ┬áThere were a few business on this level and I checked out a pottery shop that sold pottery created by local artisans. There was also a craft fair supporting a local elementary school.

Downstairs boasted more shops and a variety of eateries. I was tempted to try something from Re-Up BBQ (I will another time) but opted for a London Fog from Tre Galli Gelato Caffe. Since once of my reasons for challenging myself is to be out of my comfort zone I forced myself to find a table to sit at instead of walking with my drink.

When I finished my drink I went for a short walk along the Fraser River. It was raining, surprise surprise, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I remember seeing this Tin Soldier before but I didn’t recall knowing it was the tallest one in the world!

I also popped into the Fraser River Discovery Centre to see what it was all about. It turns out it’s a museum with tons of interactive and hands-on activities. I thought it might be good for a school field trip so I inquired about that.

Finally I hit Columbia Street and walked to Big Star Sandwich Co. which I had seen when driving by in the past. I ordered a small #2 (turkey, bacon, cheddar cheese and guacamole.) It was really good and I would go back again!

After eating in the establishment (look at me go, that was twice I didn’t get something to go!) I walked back to New West Station and so ended my mini-adventure.

I have to say I really enjoyed it and while my challenge was only one thing per month I think I’ll be more inclined to do more. It was fun to explore somewhere different and I really didn’t care what anyone was thinking about me sitting somewhere alone.

Check out:

http://rivermarket.ca/
https://bigstarsandwich.com/
https://www.fraserriverdiscovery.org/

 

Challenge Accepted: Changing my Definition of Independent

Independent? I have a career. I own a home. I own a car. I pay my own bills. I do my own shopping. I have a savings account. Surely this means I’m independent, right?

I’ve recently been reminiscing about my solo trip to Amsterdam last summer. During those two weeks I experienced a different type of independence; one that was quite different than at home. But why? Why is it that when I travel I thoroughly enjoy taking public transit? At home I haven’t taken a bus since 2010 and I take the Skytain the least amount possible. Why is it that I didn’t hesitate one bit to eat at a restaurant alone in Amsterdam? I wouldn’t dream of doing that at home. And walking around Vancouver by myself? No way! Yet walking around Amsterdam solo was incredible.

Why is it that when I’m at home I don’t push myself out of my comfort zone? I’m guessing it’s because I don’t have to. I’m surrounded by family and friends to join me at restaurants or exploring Vancouver and I don’t need to take public transit often because I have a car. ┬áBut if there is something I want to do that nobody else wants to or nobody else is available that day…I don’t do it. I stay home and miss out. It’s ridiculous really. I long to feel that sense of independence I had in Amsterdam when I’m at home. And so, I’ve challenged myself…

Once a month for the remainder of 2017 I will do something I wouldn’t normally do. Alone. Go out for coffee and actually sit in the coffee shop. Eat a meal in a restaurant. Go to a movie. Walk around downtown Vancouver. Go for a hike. Check out a museum. Really, the possibilities are endless. Maybe by the end of the year I’ll feel that different type of independence or maybe I won’t. Maybe that feeling can only be found while in a different country. All I know is that there is only one way to find out.