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Okanagan-Taste

Memorable moments as a milestone birthday is celebrated

Milestones and road trips

Today marks a milestone birthday for yours truly. A half-century is being celebrated by someone who barely acknowledges any birthday.

So, what did I do? I travelled — two back-to-back trips, one to the east, one to the south, with entirely different themes, involving a lot of driving, multiple short-haul flights, a handful of ferry rides, a few urban centres and a bunch of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them small towns.

Travel can be unpleasant and uncomfortable at the best of times. Speaking from my own recent experiences, it certainly is challenging now. Pack along as much patience as you can. Be grateful and polite; saying thank you to every staff person or server you meet goes a long way. Say it twice. Give yourself plenty of extra time (especially flying), and plan as much as you can, knowing things will go off the rails at some point.

Whether or not you decide to venture out of the Okanagan, or B.C., this summer, the best advice I can give is to have a theme. It doesn’t matter what it is. Looking for the best coffee within an hour’s drive? Go with that. The most unique cocktail bar near you? Why not?

Trip number one for me was driving to Saskatchewan.

I know you’re wondering why. Ultimately, it was to visit the Doukhobor Dugout House near Blaine Lake (pop. 499) and witness a historical re-enactment.

My ancestors settled in a stunning spot next to the North Saskatchewan River, surviving from 1899 to 1904 in caves dug into a ravine. Despite warnings to not leave their area, the neighbouring Muskeg Lake Cree Nation brought the Doukhobors a horse to help them clear the land after witnessing women pulling a plow.

The theme for this trip started out as discovering my roots. It quickly morphed into one of making new friends. The people of Saskatchewan are some of the friendliest anywhere. Karleigh Sanchez, the proprietress of Betty’s Diner – the best gas station diner in Canada, in my opinion – sat with us for a half-hour to share her family’s history. Ed, from Muskeg Lake, and I bonded over a plow. Glenn, a total stranger, guided me down a ravine to see the dugout houses.

Trip number two’s theme started with crossing off a couple of bucket list items.

First, was seeing the Toronto Blue Jays play in Seattle. The Jays lost, but it was still great fun. The second was to dine at one of the Pacific Northwest’s best restaurants, Canlis. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, not only for the food, but also for what became the theme of this trip—reconnecting with old friends.

I’m not going to go anywhere for a while, but I am so grateful I did go where I went.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



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About the Author

A creative thinker with more than two decades of experience in communications, Allison is an early adopter of social and digital media, bringing years of work in traditional media to the new frontier of digital engagement marketing through her company, All She Wrote.

She is the winner of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association's 2011 and 2012 awards for Social Media Initiative, an International LERN award for marketing, and the 2014 Penticton Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award for Hospitality/Tourism.

Allison has amassed a following on multiple social networks of more than 30,000, frequently writes and about social media, food and libations as well as travel and events, and through her networks, she led a successful bid to bring the Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton in June 2013, one of the largest social media wine events in the world, generating 31 million social media impressions, $1 million in earned media, and an estimated ongoing economic impact of $2 million.

In 2014, she held the first Canadian Wine Tourism Summit to spark conversation about the potential for wine tourism in Canada as a year-round economic driver.

Allison contributes epicurean content to several publications, has been a judge for several wine and food competitions, and has earned her advanced certificate from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

In her spare time, she has deep, meaningful conversations with her cats.

She can be reached at [email protected]



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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