Baja California Girls

On our very first (and very long) road trip, we made it all the way from Vancouver, BC to the Mexico border. Literally, we went to the border beach and saw the fence and may have been yelled at by the border guards over a loud speakerphone for getting too close. Oops! But that was over a year ago, and this time when we visited San Diego we had our hearts set on actually visiting Mexico and Baja California.

A lot of people had told us not to go to Tijuana (does anyone else remember that episode from The OC??) but we were intrigued. We made the trip down with Adam + Bryan, and the first stop we made was at a Radioshack to get a new memory card. No, really, we didn't stop until then. Turns out that when you cross the Mexico border, you actually don't have to stop at the border, or wait in line, or talk to anyone and show your passport. You just drive right on through! 

We ended up bypassing Tijuana (until we went home and Elaine had to drive through Tijuana at night, without cell reception, in the dark...) and headed for the coast instead. It's an amazing view the entire way, and the perfect highway to cruise along. Make sure you have cash for the tolls though!

We got the local scoop on where to go and what to do, and our first stop was Puerto Nuevo, a small town known for lobster, lobster, lobster. There's a ton of places that advertise lobster, and after walking around a bit, we randomly settled on "La Casa del Pescador".  Thankfully it was the right decision, as the place was filled with both locals, lobster, and cold margaritas.

Three of us ordered the "medium" lobster (the smallest size), which resulted in 9 half lobsters at our table. NINE! It was the most delightful accident and we were all in a bit of seafood heaven.

There's just something about Mexico that makes everything magical. 

We continued driving down the coast for a while towards Ensenada, and turned inland for a bit - but that's another adventure to be shared soon. We wanted to hit the coast again for sunset, and started heading north as we watched the colours fade into the sky.

Adam was driving, and he spotted an moji-like sign that seemed to say "pull over here." It led to an abandoned viewpoint which was something out of a Grecian novel, and we all savoured the beautiful light and company before heading back to the USA.

Oh, and on that note...we may have been detained at the border on our way back. Thankfully we had stocked up on churros while we were in line! The border is basically like a marketplace for Mexican blankets, souvenirs, snacks, and a bunch of other things you never knew you wanted.

P.S. Never bring an orange into California ;)

CRSSD Fest in San Diego

Hellllloooo, San Diego! We are in California for the next month-ish, and are so excited to be back road-tripping in the sunshine state! What better way to kick it all off than a sun-kissed music festival filled with local eats, craft beer, and a waterpark full of tropical vibes? 

This was the first year for CRSSD Fest,  and it was an awesome way to kick off festival season! In general, it was a really chill festival that was just full of people wanting to hang out under the sun with their friends while taking in a bunch of awesome music. There wasn’t any dust and ravers - instead there was oysters and cocktails. Seriously.

Music-wise, the line-up was pretty amazing and featured both live and dj sets from Chromeo, Pete Tong, Flight Facilities, Odesza, James Murphy, and so many more. We started the day at the Goldroom show, which was a live set with the band and a surprise reunion with Mereki! If you haven’t heard, of Goldroom before, do yourself a favour and take a listen here. Taylor is obsessed.

Now, let's talk about the food. Oh my goodness.

 As our friend Rachel said, the food was from "all the cool places" in San Diego. There was sushi handrolls and whiskey mules from Bang Bang, oysters from Ironside, meatball sliders from Sode & Swine, cold-pressed juice from Juice Saves, and pizza from Spicy Pie. The beer was craft and local, and there was a huge cocktail bar run by Polite Provisions.

Our favourite though were the mezcal margaritas from El Camino’s - we had a few of these, oops.

There was three stages at the festival, and we took in Thomas Jack's tropical set with a fellow Canadian and some Seattle-ites on a magic carpet.

The venue was so gorgeous - Waterfront Park is, you guessed it, right on the waterfront. It also has a water park, which made it perfect for splashing around and cooling off in the hot hot heat. 

Classixx was playing an amazing live set as the sun was setting and the vibe was shifting into a livelier night-time mood. We made new friends, found some glowsticks, and got our groove on. 

All in all, we had such a fun time meeting new people, stuffing ourselves with local eats, and dancing under the sun. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram at @localwanderer for more San Diego love. <3 


Rockin' the Rockies

Sometimes you just have to get in a car with your best friends and drive. Drive into the snow? Well, we weren't expecting that but somehow a road trip to Kelowna, BC turned into a quick road trip through some of the Canadian Rockies.

We packed a little vehicle with some jackets, boots (or so we thought, turns out Elaine forgot hers), and friends: fellow adventure blogger Jesse Morrow & Lindsay from Treasures & Travels. We had never been to Banff before, so we were excited to learn about it! Banff is a beautiful National Park in Alberta, Canada well known for its abundant ski hills and mountains for days.

It is so much better in person, but we are excited to show you some of our favourite spots so that you can enjoy them too!

The Virmilion Lakes are a few minutes outside of the Banff village area, and are a calm, cool oasis. We woke up at the crack of dawn in order to catch the sunsrise, but ended up catching a snowstorm instead! Note to self: WEAR BOOTS, they will actually keep your feet warm. Elaine's toes were at risk of frostbite for a while there without them...

We stayed at the Buffalo Mountain Lodge, which was a cozy, cabin-like experience! We took full advantage of the fireplace & balcony throughout our stay to warm up those cold fingers and toes.

A little sidenote, but people are always asking us what our travel essentials are, and our mini-Jambox is definitely one of them! Well, two of them, since we each have one. We've used them as a radio system in VW vans where the radio doesnt work, to pump us up on the long gondola rides at Whistler, and basically just anywhere we want to chill out, sip some coffee, and listen to tunes. 

As we were hanging out after a long day, the weather took a turn for the stormiest and we decided to drive to the city of Calgary, which is less than 2 hours away. But in those 2 hours we found ourselves literally driving through a snowstorm until we suddenly came upon clear Albertan fields. This was the perfect time to try out our new Brixton hat and poncho (which doubles as a blanket to keep you extra warm in those snowy car rides). 

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And of course, we had to pay Lake Louise a visit while in the Banff neighbourhood. It looks a lot different when it's covered with 4 feet of snow, but it was still a stunning and miraculous view that showcased some of Alberta's finest mountain ranges. We can't wait to come back in the spring time when the snow has melted and that turquoise lake is showing!

Thanks for the fun times, Alberta!

Oh, the places you'll selfie...

To celebrate the launch of our new blog + Vancouver city guide, we had ourselves a little party! We wanted to bring together the Vancouver small business, creative, and Instagram community for some coffee, music, and photos and it was a super fun day. Thank you so much to everyone who came out to support, and to all of our amazing local vendors for making #heynowvancouver a success. 

We are now officially 1 year old, so we wanted to celebrate our birthday too! The girls at Anewall Decor made us this incredible custom Instagram wallpaper mural that brought tears to our eyes. It was definitely a hit, and also really wonderful to be able to see the past year of our adventures all together in one place. When else does that happen? We can’t wait to put it up in our “studio” (also known as our apartment), and if you like what you see, you can get your own here. 

When we were planning our party, we really only wanted one thing: selfies. Our friend Katie from Serpent Botanical offered to make us a “selfie frame” and boy, did she everr! This frame is so gorgeous and made for the perfect backdrop, along with some of her other floral styling. Speaking of, the flowers and table arrangements were provided by the girls at Our Little Flower Company, who sent us some really gorgeous stems too!

Shane from Cheddar Booth set us up a super sleek photo booth that lets you take your own pics at the click of a button and view them right after. You can see all the photos from the event here.  The ladies at Hey Jude Shop styled us for the day to make sure we were party and selfie-ready with their awesome restored vintage wear. 

http://www.cheddarbooth.com

A funny aside, we had actually rented a cotton candy machine, but while we were setting it up it kind of started smoking and we’re pretty sure it caught fire…sometimes you just gotta smile and say “oh well!” 

Propaganda Coffee was the perfect venue for our party, the light was incredibly beautiful, the space was large, and best of all: it was a smallbusiness that had just opened and served coffee from all local roasters! We can’t wait to come back to the space and work out of here on sunny days. 

It’s not a party without a little music, and our friend Jenny Banai, set the perfect ambiance with their indie folk-y ukulele vibes. You can hear more of her tunes here! Following Jenny, our good friend Jordan Klassen delighted the party with some of his delightful folk tunes. Check out his music here!

A huge thank you to all the local businesses that donated goods for our door prizes! To pick up your prize, send us a DM on Twitter or Instagram (@localwanderer). Here are the winners! 

  • Cheese board from Union Wood Co: @longrunlisa 
  • (2) Growler, fill, and Greff carrier from 33 Acres: @sarahfelicitys & @serpentbotanical 
  • Postmark Brewing x MyPakage hat, boxers, and Later mag: @aggi.ags
  • (2) T-shirts from Postmark Brewing: size M @jpcabral, size S @smckennasc
  • $25 to Meat and Bread: @markpaulstevens
  • (2) $50 to Charlie & Lee: @kdandy & @dainalightfoot
  • (4) $10 to Luke's General Store: @mgillette5, @nerdgf, @jaredbraund, & @sandrogynous
  • (2) T-shirts from Matchstick Coffee: size L @rickchung, size S @joordanrenee
  • (2) Greeting card bundles from Board of Trade Co/Lost Boys Life: @alysmk & @dvdkyl

And another huge thank you to Josh Yong & Jordan Dyck for contributing photos to this blog post! <3 

 

Other thank-yous, to the people who did the most thankless jobs and saved our butts:

  • Our bestie and roomie Lindsay Sjoberg for helping with all things music-related, especially when it was the night before and we didn’t know we needed speakers and a PA system…

  • Jordan Klassen for lending us said speakers and PA system

  • Chloe Hughes, our amazing intern, for all of her help the day of 

  • Tim Drinovz for attempting to set up the cotton candy machine

  • Devin Lilly (Notch Coffee) for suggesting the venue and caffeinating us 

  • Sandra Chung for picking up prizes on a minute's notice

  • Will and the staff of Propaganda Coffee for being so happy and helpful

    -

Localism, not tourism

Oh hey there! We're Taylor and Elaine, and we're so excited to introduce you to the brand new Local Wanderer. It's full of bright and delightful places handpicked by us, for you. 

We want to make it easier for you to discover beautiful and local places when you're travelling. Our travel blog (what you're reading!) and city guides (click above!) connect you with spots that are part of a community, so you can make new friends and try new things. 

We spent the last year living on-the-road, and quickly realized that we were spending way too much time researching places and making disorganized lists. W
e just wanted a directory of awesome and pretty places to visit, that was curated by someone we trusted (like a human, not a robot). We couldn't find anything that fit, so we decided to make it ourselves!

LW Launch Day

Our first city guide is none other than our hometown Vancouver, and we hope it inspires you to fall in l-o-v-e with some new places (whether you're a local or a visitor). We visit every single place ourselves and we only recommend things we enjoy doing, so we want you to trust us. Localism, not tourism - it's kind of our thing. 

If you're in Vancouver, we want to celebrate with you! Come on out to our launch party this Saturday, March 7th from 1-4pm at Propaganda Coffee. More details here.

How It Works:

Our guide is organized by neighbourhood to make it easy for you to find that much-needed cup of coffee while you're out and about. Just go to localwanderer.com on your phone, choose your 'hood from the menu, and browse until you find something you like. Each page tells you what the place is perfect for, what it's known for, a ton of beautiful photos, and the right Instagram handle. Oh, and there's the basic info like address and website too ;) 

So what are you waiting for? Click the menu and start exploring!

Whistler Wonderland

Growing up in Vancouver, Whistler has been our local vacation spot for years. Only a two hour drive away, we’ve both spent summers and winter weekends here with our families, so we were stoked when Sorel asked us to explore the mountain and make a guide of all the local gems. This proved a little bit more difficult than usual, because Whistler’s locals are few and far between. You’ll notice right away that “the village” is inhabited by Aussies and Kiwis who fly halfway around the world to spend their winters on the mountain - which isn’t a bad thing, because they’re possibly the nicest people around.

This is a collection of our favourite adventure spots around the mountain, the village, and everything else in-between.

In the summertime, you can swim to the dock at Lost Lake, play along the beach, and people watch at the sunbathing locale. In the wintertime though? It’s frozen solid and oh so beautiful. Lost Lake is also full of nordic trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. This was our first time snowshoeing, and we may have had to Youtube how to put on snowshoes…

We had the most magical, Canadian experience when we wandered up to the lake. Not only was it frozen, but there was a crew of locals creating a hockey rink. You can’t make this stuff up! Turns out there is a pretty active pond hockey league here, so bring your skates and hit the lake if you want to get a game in. The local players are awesome.

What better place to dangle 160ft off a bridge than here, right? Uh….maybe not. Whether you’re a daredevil like Elaine or pass out at the sight of heights like Taylor, the trip to Whistler Bungee is pretty epic. Make sure your car can handle tough terrain though!

To warm up when it’s freezing cold outside, you definitely want to hit up Purebread for some hot coffee and warm treats. They have a large selection of gluten-free and vegan noms, plus they serve Stumptown. Tip: the location in the village only does espresso based drinks, and the location in Function Junction only does pour-over.

The best part about a day on the mountain might be the aprés. We <3 Whistler Brewing, the local brewery located about 10 minutes out of the village in Function Junction. Taylor adores the Winter Dunkel (it tastes like a chocolate orange!) while Elaine recommends their gluten-free beer. Their bartenders are mighty friendly too. Want a tour? Head over there at 2:30pm or 4!

The Peak 2 Peak is crazy. Whistler and Blackcomb mountains are separated by a large valley connected by the highest and longest unsupported lift in the world. You may think this is a typical touristy thing to do, but it’s presence has completely changed the ski season for locals. Previously, it took an hour of skiing and uploading to get from Whistler to Blackcomb; now it’s only an 11 minute journey through the sky. If it’s your first time though, you definitely want to wait the extra minutes to get a gondola with a glass floor! If you can stomach it. 

After all your exploring, you’ll need somewhere warm and cozy to come back to. While there’s no shortage of hotels in Whistler, there’s also an expansive condo economy that works similar to AirBnb. There’s no shortage of condos, hot tubs, and ski in/ski out resorts here, and VRBO is probably your best bet.

Eat: amazing burgers at Splitz Grill, Aussie pies at Peaked Pies, appies at Elements Tapas, pizza at Creekbread outside the village, and waffels at Crystal Hut up on Blackcomb mountain. On a budget? Hit the $5 menu at El Furniture Warehouse. Want to treat yo self? Umberto’s or Araxi are classics.

Drink: The green moustache is your go-to for fresh juice and smoothies, along with gluten-free treats and all the raw, vegan eats you could want. Mount Currie Coffee brews Intelligentsia and Elysian, a local roastery, with a rotating espresso selection.

Shop: the adorable boutique 3 Singing Birds is the other half of the juice shop and The Beach is nearby in the Village, while Circle is the local independent skate and surf shop.