Return To Banff (West Coast Girl, Pt 11)

Previous Chapters:

To Write Is An Adventure (Pt 1)

Writing In The Mountains (Pt 2)

Balancing Writing & Travel (Pt 3)

Living The Dream In Banff (Pt 4)

When Traveling Gets Dark (Pt 5)

A Romance In The Mountains (Pt 6)

From Alberta To B.C. (Pt 7)

The Grass Is Always Green (Pt 8)

Knowing What It’s Like To Thrive (Pt 9)

Writing & Growing (Pt 10)

September 2016

The drive from Vancouver to Banff is such a gorgeous one. I was happy to have a better phone with me this time so I could take some amazing photos. When I arrived in Banff, I felt a mixture of euphoria and nervousness. It was such a stunning place – it didn’t have the same euphoric appeal that Vancouver does for me, but it has a natural beauty that makes you instantly relax when you stop and look at it. When I walked into the hotel, the manager greeted me with a hug. I thought it was very sweet. I was wearing a hat, dress, and ballet flats – symbolic of my transformation from being a sad hippie. My wardrobe would need to be a little more practical for the rest of my time there.

I was careful to set healthy boundaries with everyone, knowing what would happen if I didn’t. The lay out of the staff accommodation was different from the one I stayed in back in 2014. It was a larger building with several bedrooms – some single and some double with bunk beds. As I settled into the job, a couple of my coworkers asked me if I wanted to go dancing with them. It was so hard to say no, because I loved dancing so much and I was right in the place that I once danced to my heart’s content with other travelers.

“I’m just here to save money for a few months then move back to Vancouver,” I said seriously. “I also have a book I’m working on so I don’t want to get dragged into any drama.”

They seemed shocked by my reply, but they backed off until the next day when they asked me again. I realized if I built a wall around myself, I’d spend three months just saving money with no real human connection. The experience at the shoes job was quite isolating at times. Now was my chance to make a few friends. I caved and said I’d go with them this time. I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to be back at HooDoo’s. I remember jumping with Alex, one of my coworkers, on the dancefloor. Soon everyone else that came with us joined. It was a fun night and I was happy to be back in Banff dancing.

With my newfound maturity, I was able to balance hanging out with them and getting the alone time I needed. Most people didn’t judge me for it this time, which was nice. It turns out the people I worked with were very interesting – two were from Quebec, one was from England, and another was from Japan. They all had interesting stories to tell at dinner time. We’d watch movies together or play games some nights. It wasn’t all about partying with them – they enjoyed doing other things. I think it also helped that they were in their mid-20’s. That makes a big difference compared to people who are 22 and under.

One of the cooks, Jayden, was from Ontario and took a liking to me right away. When he overheard that I was broke, he said that I could use anything in his cupboard, which was nice. When I’d walk into the kitchen to put dishes in the dishwasher, someone would always offer me a piece of meat. Yes, I was the broke girl again. That was becoming a rather sore spot for me. I was tired of having to go hungry sometimes when ends didn’t quite meet. At least I was working with a kind bunch of people. I ended up selling my Vans shoes on Craigslist and a sweet lady from Canmore bought them from me; she brought a bag of groceries to give me as well. I’d almost forgotten how great people in the Bow Valley are. Soon enough, I’d caught up on bills. I felt happy that I was able to keep up full-time hours this time. The last time I was in Banff, I’d finish work as soon as possible because I couldn’t stand being there. That time, I was able to see the positives of working in housekeeping and some days it was even relaxing.

What’s cool is that Jayden was from Ontario so he’d take me and another guy from Ontario to the grocery store in his car. I felt like there was some kindship between the Ontarions there.

The best part about my second time in Banff was being able to enjoy things without depression overshadowing everything. It stole a lot of the joy I could have experienced in the heat of the mountains and now I was back to reclaim it. One of my favourite days was the hike up Sulphur Mountain. I went with one of my coworkers and a random guy joined us on the hike. It was a lot of fun. We couldn’t wait to try the Starbucks at the top (The highest Starbucks in Canada, altitude-wise), but it was closed. There was a nice café at the top so at least we got to eat something substantial and drink some coffee after three hours of hiking. I felt so refreshed and happy.

All of the photos here were taken during this much happier time in Banff:

My family was happy that I was enjoying Banff a lot more this time. It was a conscious decision to enjoy it for the fall months before returning to Vancouver in the winter. Since I knew my time there would be short, I didn’t entertain any romances or flings. After experiencing how stressful they can be, I didn’t want a relationship of any kind to mar my new, nicer experience in Banff. A nice guy called Dan started working with the hotel and he’d cook with me and seemed fairly nice. Then again, he tapped my butt when I was in the kitchen later at night before I was about to go to sleep. His true nature is is a mystery, because I never found out. I wasn’t at a place where I could let myself be vulnerable with someone new. Truth be told, how nice could a guy really be if he zones in on your butt when no one else is around?

A lot of people encouraged me to go for it so that I wouldn’t regret missing out on the experience, but if your heart isn’t in something, you don’t need to force yourself to do it. I did make some great platonic connections with the people there though. We still keep in contact to this day. Sometimes I still think of them.

This time in Banff was wonderful and I’d been able to experience all that it had to offer in a much better headspace. Sometimes after work, I would walk into the town center and take in the beauty around me while listening to a remix of Wicked Game. For me, it really captured the fresh new essence of life in Banff and the lyrics also reflected my mindset. I didn’t want to fall in love then. It was enough to give Banff another chance to see how great it can be. I’m so glad I went back for those three months.


No I never want to fall in love

With you


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s