Banff, Alberta, Canada

A senior trip is something you dream about from the beginning of your Freshman year in high school – or maybe that was just me!  However, everyone always went on a cruise to Mexico or did a quick stint in Europe (Spain or Italy were the top choices when I was in high school).  I, however, went on the most spontaneously epic road trip.

My friends and I had talked about doing a cruise to Mexico or going to Hawaii, but decided against both.  For one, Mexico was extremely dangerous at this time.  There were travel advisory updates about the drug war frequently and since I’m a chronic worry-wart, Mexico was out.  Hawaii was too expensive.  But we had passports and the time off work so we decided a road trip without a plan was the best option.

So there we were, crammed into a Honda Accord cruising up the 5 freeway from Temecula, CA on our way to wherever we wanted. We stopped in San Francisco, some random town in Oregon, and Seattle. But, the best part of the entire trip was when I caught the travel bug.

Forget Starbucks. Tully’s is the best coffee Seattle has.

You can argue that Canada does not count as traveling outside the US.  But if you consider the legal drinking age to be 19 in BC and 18 in Alberta, you can guarantee that my 18 year old self considered this the best location ever! Bare with me, I had just graduated high school and thought I was a real adult.

We stayed in Vancouver and finally made our way to Banff, Alberta.  During this trip, I had never heard of Banff or Lake Louise. I was just tired of driving all day and wanted to find a hotel.  Lucky for us, Banff is a popular destination and one of the most photographed cities in Canada. Rightfully so, it’s breathtaking. Unfortunately the pictures from this trip consisted of obnoxious MySpace-like selfies in the backseat of the car. I wish I could slap my 18 year old self.

Banff is the reason I wanted to travel. It was the first time I soaked in where I was and enjoyed every second.  I didn’t try to rush to the next place, I didn’t think about things I needed to do back home, and more importantly, I didn’t realize natural beauty like this existed.

There were other wonderful parts of the trip.  For example, being searched at the border. Celebrating Canada Day. If you think the 4th of July is a celebration, you need to make your way to Canada for Canada Day. And, we danced at a foam party.

As our vacation time came to a close, we drove 24 hours straight from Banff to Temecula, CA.  It was the most uncomfortable, frustrating, tiring 24 hours I have experienced traveling but it was worth the extra days we spent in the magical place that is Banff.

So, my first time out of the country wasn’t a Europe trip, or a lavish cruise, but it didn’t matter.  It sparked this need to see more of the world.  Whether that meant exploring my home state, the entire US, or the globe, I wanted to relive the feelings I had while I spent those days in beautiful Banff.


Share with me: Where and when did you catch the travel bug? 

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