Friday, 19 January 2018

2018: The Year of Camping - Menus from my trip to Tofino

Not quite three years ago now, I lost my husband to cancer.  Caring for him through the course of his last illness and then trying to find a way forward after he was gone affected me deeply.  A few months after his death I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which manifested in the form of depression, panic attacks, social anxiety, and agoraphobia.  It was a battle for me to get out of bed in the morning and every night, before I finally drifted off to sleep, I'd make a wish not to wake up the next day.  As time passed I began to believe I served no purpose at all and that there was, therefore, little or no reason to leave my home or to do anything at all constructive with my time.

It's been a tough go, but thanks to the patience and love of my family and friends, an excellent doctor, and some counselling, things are getting better.  I am starting to find my way forward and for the first time in a very long time I find myself wanting to see new places and experience new things.

My camping idea began when I received a "save the date" card for my eldest granddaughter's wedding.  She lives in Alberta; a solid two days of driving away from where I live.  Of course I'm going to the wedding!  My budget is very tight though. Even with saving up I'll have to really mind my pennies.  I decided that the best way to afford the trip would be to camp on the way there and back, staying only the night of the wedding in a hotel.  From there, the idea grew.  I'm going to take my time coming and going, see some national and provincial parks, explore the Kootenays, and visit with family along the way.  

As my plans for the wedding trip solidified, I became more and more excited about the idea of  my first ever all-on-my own road trip of any distance, and that opened my mind to thinking about other places I would like to see. That in its turn inspired me to plan several other trips. I decided that, for me, 2018 will be The Year of Camping.  Ta-Da-a-a-a!  Something to look forward to all year long.

Even camping can be expensive, especially if you eat in restaurants, so being able to afford my adventures will depend upon cooking all my own meals, and that will require some forward planning.  I decided I'd begin learning the process this week by making a short trip to Tofino, on Vancouver Island's west coast, about 4-1/2 hours from my home.  Storm season in Tofino is spectacularly beautiful and I hoped to take some good photos during my visit.  

Full disclosure here: Until this year, camping has not been a favourite pastime of mine - my fella used to joke that my idea of roughing it was staying in a hotel without room service - and Tofino proved an interesting choice for a first time trip. The very storms I wanted to photograph made camping a bit of a challenge, especially for a newbie like me. I was able to get an excellent deal on a hotel room so I opted to spend one night in the middle of my trip enjoying a comfortable bed and the benefit of a hot shower. Even while at the hotel though, I prepared all my own meals.

I promised my friends at Aunt B's January No-Spend Challenge group on Facebook that I'd share my menus from my trip, so here's what I ate from Sunday night until my arrival home on Wednesday afternoon.

Sunday, January 14:

Supper - Scrambled eggs and skewered tomato, zucchini, and mushrooms.

Monday, January 15:

Breakfast - Overnight oatmeal.  I prepackaged the oatmeal, some raisins and a little bit of maple syrup in pint canning jars, and poured milk over it in the evening before I went to bed.  In the morning, I gave it a good stir and ate it straight from the jar.  I had a banana too.
Lunch - An open faced tuna and tomato sandwich on brown bread.  I used canned tuna and some leftover homemade tartar sauce I brought from home.
Supper - Home canned venison and veggie stew (reheated in the hotel microwave) with a cornmeal muffin for sopping up the gravy.

Tuesday, January 16:

Breakfast - Overnight oatmeal and an orange
Lunch - An apple, some sliced cheddar, and Triscuits
Supper - Slightly Dishevelled Joseph (lentil sloppy joe filling) served over rice.  (Both were cooked at home, packaged in parchment, then foil, then newspaper, then foil, and frozen.  They'd thawed by Tuesday night but were still very cold.  I took off the outside foil and the newspaper, and then reheated both dishes on the fire. I had a couple of pieces of Rogers maple milk chocolate for dessert.  I was so proud of myself for saving them until that last evening. They'd been calling to me ever since I first packed them in the cooler. lol!

Wednesday, January 17:
No breakfast because it was crazy windy and I decided to pack up and head home.
Lunch - A large tea and cinnamon raisin bagel from Tim's (paid for with a gift card I received in November) and an apple.

What did I learn?  

I learned that milk packed in a mason jar will end up all over the cooler if you cross thread the jar lid.  lol!  

I also learned that at this time of year a hot breakfast would be much better than a cold one.  

Most important of all, I learned that I can manage camping on my own quite well, even without a hotel room in the middle of my stay.  I'm looking forward to another small adventure very soon.

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