Going Home… for a Vacation

In the past I have tried to steer clear of articles written about my life plans for a number of reasons. For one, Machu

Going Home, Rocky, Canada

The Bow River, Banff National Park. Photo credit to Pamela at http://www.spunkygirlmonologues.com/2010/08/photo-essaybanff-national-park/

Picchu usually yields a higher google search percentage that does the name Brendan van Son (for now anyways… look out world wonders). Actually the truth is that I try to stick closer to the realm of travel writer than to travel blogger (don’t get angry at me for saying this), but travel writing is a type of descriptive art. Travel blogging, to me, can seem to be a little bit more related to the “look at where I am Mom” aspect of travel, which is great for some people, and I love reading those posts to, but that’s just not my style (although I think that this will be considered a travel bloggers post). Another reason that I’ve tried to stay away from that type of writing is because I find that as soon as I start writing about how I feel on the road I begin to notice self-indulgence in my writing, and I’d like to stay away from that as best I can. I’ve tried to keep Brendan’s Adventures to be about travel and, yes, sometimes that means including me in the stories, but I’ve tried to maintain the story or the destination as the focal point of the writing. However, I think that my regular readers (my mom will be proud, if not surprised, to find out that I have some) will at times enjoy a quick update on my life, so here it goes, as self indulgent as it may be.

I’m going home… for a vacation.

Going Home, Rocky, Canada

Pops in the backyard of my childhood home chasing a deer away

The concept still makes me giggle a little bit on the inside. I’ve been on the road for thirteen months straight now, without setting foot on my native Canadian soil. I haven’t had a poutine, a buffalo burger, or waffles with proper maple syrup in the entire thirteen months away and my mouth is watering just writing these words. And, as Pamela of Spunky Girl Monologues loves reminding me, I haven’t set foot inside the greasy confines of Peter’s Drive in to knock back a thick milkshake in a while either.

It’s quite hysterical actually, how I’m feeling. I remember the sensation of heading out on a big vacation or trip and planning everything I need to do: go to the bank, buy gifts to give away, make a packing list and, most importantly, plan the places you are going to visit. I am doing all those things right now for my trip home. I have even built an itinerary already, and just like a vacation to some foreign country it feels like I don’t have enough time to see everything, or everyone, I’d like to.

People keep asking me how I feel about going home after over a year away, and to be honest I don’t know how to answer them.  But I think, above all, what I’m feeling is fear.  I’ve been raving about Canada since the moment I left its stone mountains and iron flat prairies at the end of July 2009, what happens if it’s not all that I remember?  What happens if the Canadian Rockies aren’t as amazing as I remember? What if Victoria is no longer my favourite city in the world?  And most importantly, what if the milkshakes

Peyto Lake in Banff National Park

at Peter’s Drive-In on Highway 1 aren’t as mouth-watering as I remember?  It seems that there is a lot of pressure riding on my trip to Canada, and I am hoping Canada lives up to my expectations.

So, to my dearest friends and family, I expect to see you with open arms waiting for me when I touch down in Calgary off United Airlines flight 8212 coming from San Fransisco via Lima at 2:43pm on August 31st (I know I shouldn’t be giving out that info, but my mom wont be too surprised to find out my readers haven’t yet become stalkers… I hope).  And to my dearest Canada, please, I beg of you, give to me all that you have to offer.  Please, please don’t let me down.

Tentative trip itinerary:

September:

  • Spend time between Rocky Mountain House, Calgary, Banff and Canmore to see friends an family
  • Some of my favourite sites that I will stop in at guarenteed: Grassy Lakes, Canmore; Drumheller; Moraine Lake; Peyto Lake; Athabasca Glacier.

October:

  • West Coast Road Trip
  • Kelowna, BC (the Okanagan), Vancouver (one of the few cities in the world I could actually think of planting roots), Victoria (still my favourite city in the world), Kamloops (one of my favourite sites is nearby Helmken Falls), Jasper (one of the best spots in Alberta to spot bears), and Edmonton (as a Calgarian I hate Edmonton, but they have a big mall).


Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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16 Comments

  1. Back to mother land! Sounds like a great trip. We felt very weird coming home after being away for a year. We noticed a lot of ‘changes’ in our surroundings, our friends and our family… but it was really ‘us’ that had changed. Always good to come home, helps you get a better sense of all that you’ve accomplished. Make sure you drop us a line when you Vancouver! 😉

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    • I definitely notice that everyone else changes (which in reality is you changing) feeling every time I come home from a big trip. And I’ll let you guys know when I hit Van City!

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  2. I just read the Spunky Girl write up on Banff and now after seeing this it makes me want to visit even more.

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    • Definitely should visit Elle, if you do let me know and I will hook you up with some free tours and stuff!

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  3. Sometimes you just need a little reminder of home to get your recharged and ready to travel again. After quitting my job and leaving my apartment in New York City 2 years ago, I took a “vacation” to visit NYC for a month then spent Christmas and New Year’s with family in California before continuing my travels in Asia. The brief return helped reinvigorate my love of travel and being on the move.

    Enjoy your trip home! It will be good for you!

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  4. Have a wonderful time at home. You will love especially as its only for a short time. You can really enjoy all the things you love before the reverse culture shock sets in. From the look of that picture above I’m sure it will still be beautiful. Looking forward to seeing it myself one day.

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  5. Have a great trip home Brendan!

    I find your take on travel blogging vs travel writing interesting. I have never thought of it in those terms. I guess I do both. On my Examiner site, I am more of a travel writer. On my blog, <a href="http://budgettravelintentions.com"<Budget Travel Intentions, I am a travel blogger and write more from a personal side. I intentionally did this to distinguish the two but never thought of it in terms like that.

    As for the Peyto Lake, that photo is a digital photo right? Not a real pic? There is no way water looks like that! It almost looks fake. Very beautiful – but too beautiful! 🙂

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  6. Have a great trip home Brendan!

    I find your take on travel blogging vs travel writing interesting. I have never thought of it in those terms. I guess I do both. On my Examiner site, I am more of a travel writer. On my blog, Budget Travel Intentions, I am a travel blogger and write more from a personal side. I intentionally did this to distinguish the two but never thought of it in terms like that.

    As for the Peyto Lake, that photo is a digital photo right? Not a real pic? There is no way water looks like that! It almost looks fake. Very beautiful – but too beautiful! 🙂

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  7. I’m going back to the northeast United States in two weeks to visit my family after being away in India, Vietnam, and Nepal for six months. This was my first time abroad and the longest I’ve ever been away from home.

    I share your fears and your excitement about taking a vacation home — it feels like I’m visiting a foreign country. My mouth watered reading your description of waffles and maple syrup… it’s hilarious how many things like that we can miss so much. Real oatmeal and real bagels are another thing I’m looking forward to!

    My rough plan is to visit for three months before heading back out and I’m hoping, as other commenters have mentioned, that the visit will recharge my travel batteries and return me to that level of excitement I felt about travel before I left.

    I’m also really interested to see how things have changed and how I will cope with the huge differences in lifestyle and environment.

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  8. Brendan, if it makes you feel any better, I just got back from a weekend in Quetico Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. From what I could tell, Canada is still beautiful. I am sure you will love your return home.

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  9. From someone who has had stalkers – I really really hope someone shows up at the airport lol. It’ll liven up your trip. 😉

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    • I’m hoping for someone at the airport… my readers tend to love my mistrials more than my travel articles….

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  10. Sounds like a great itinerary. Over the past few days I’ve realized that if I want to go to India after Argentina, it’s much cheaper to fly back to Toronto first so I may stay a couple of weeks before trying to tackle India.

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  11. Don’t worry, Brendan, the Canadian Rockies will still be as awesome as you remembered them. Going home to family after a long travel stint can only warm your heart and make you want to go off again …… hahahaha. No, seriously, touching base with family is always good.

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  12. The post makes me laugh a bit. People don’t always realise how tiring travel is! good one mate.

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