Having spent all our time in BC so far, we thought it would be a good idea to see some of the other provinces before winter arrived and we started looking for work: a Trans Canada Adventure (TCA)! We were also keen to take a break from our back-to-back Workaway stays since May and enjoy some uninterrupted exploration of the country. Our van proved to be extremely valuable for this, as the bed in the back and large amount of storage allowed us to be practically self-contained explore places off the beaten track.
In contrast to our last minute arrival to Canada, we wanted to be more organised for our trip across the country, seeking out some interesting spots to visit while not spending too much money. From memory, I started roughly planning the trip in June, using our most-used tool of 2020: Google Spreadsheets. Referring to maps of the country, popular hiking trails, and National Parks, I began to form an idea of the places that were more or less on the way (i.e not thousands of kilometres away from the main Trans-Canadian Highway) and seemed worthwhile visiting. Of particular interest were a few National Parks I hadn’t heard of before – Waterton Lakes, Grasslands, Riding Mountain, and Pukaskwa – and I went about finding a way to schedule them into our trip plan. Because we already had National Park passes, it wouldn’t cost us any extra to visit them.
We had learned from the somewhat exhausting intensity of our trip in New Zealand not to schedule too many activities, so I made sure to break down the driving into manageable chunks and avoid having hikes every day. For the first leg of our journey, our former Workaway hosts generously welcomed us back, and we had a secure place to stay with kitchen and bathroom facilities – luxury! Once past Calgary, however, I mostly used an app with a map of user-posted free camping spots to find places to stay (along with a few nights in Airbnbs, so we could enjoy a proper shower and do laundry). This is where our van really proved its worth, allowing us to visit places for which it would be quite tricky or expensive to find accommodation nearby otherwise.
I finished up the trip plan during our Whistler Workaway in August, booked the Airbnbs and confirmed with our former Workaway hosts that we’d be coming their way. Our journey across Canada, which would take three weeks and end up putting more than 6000 kilometres on the odometer, was soon to commence!