VEGAN PEACE ROAD TRIP: Banff&Lake Louise, British Columbia and Vancouver Island

July 01-21, 2020

Me (Duygu Ozmekik) Tofino, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Video: Jack Robinson


Since I immigrated to Canada (2010), this splendid country is my homeland. I organize road trips across the country every summer in order to strengthen my bond with this territory and connect with inhabitants and my friends.

Last year’s road trip destination was eastwards, The Maritimes; New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Alone and well-organized for 15 days with Roadtripper application , I camped in national parks, spent nights in my car, experienced couch-surfing, and enjoyed the company of road-trippers, and travelers along my way.

Road trips are always adventurous and playful. Still, I enjoy adding more challenges to them. The concepts behind my “road trips for peace”: solo +vegan+ no hotels, only camping and couch-surfing.

This summer’s “road trip for peace” plan was supposed to be westward from Montréal until British Columbia; however life is full of surprises, isn’t it?

I met my boyfriend last year in Machu Picchu, Peru. Afterwards, he moved to Summerland, British Columbia. For our reunion, we scheduled a road trip from Alberta to Vancouver Island in April 2020.

Covid-19 destroyed every travel plan. Consequently, some more changes were inevitable in my road trip concepts; always vegan, yet using small hotels for our stays (considering that camping was not available), and rescheduling it for July 1 when flights became more frequent.

Every summer, my road trips across Canada start July 1, Canada Day. Normally, they last two weeks. This year, I was able to take three weeks of holiday first time in my life due to circumstances between July 1-21. Three weeks was optimal for discovering, enjoying in couple and relaxing after the period of self-confinement.


JULY 1, 2020

Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

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Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

Calgary International Airport


Here is the map of the first part of our road trip (July 1- 5, 2020)

Destinations. Map from Calgary, Alberta to Summerland, British Columbia


Between the airport and our first destination, Kimberley, we had short stops to contemplate the scenery or to cook some Turkish coffee.

Kootenay Lake, BC


Kimberley, British Columbia

JULY 2-3, 2020

Clean and fresh mountain air…I had the best, longest and deepest sleep since long time. Waking up from a heavenly rest…and sipping the morning coffee accompanied by song of birds in this balcony…I had no choice, but to write something. Anything. And that’s what I did before my boyfriend woke up.

Kimberley, British Columbia

JULY 3, 2020



Finally, we arrived to our lovely cabin, “Big Beehive”. It was adorable inside out. This is the cabin that I would live for the rest of my life. We found a good online deal of Paradise Lodge&Bungalows with One Travel.

Our cabin, Lake Louise, Alberta

“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” Ray Bradbury.

Our cabin, Lake Louise, Alberta

JULY 4, 2020

If you want to experience loosing the notion of time and space, take Banff Gondola and join clouds which made home the ageless Rocky Mountain. If the weather allows, you will discover exhaustive scenes of six mountain ranges, the Bow Valley and the lovely town of Banff from the Sulphur Mountain summit. Sometimes, the weather does not allow, as it was in our case. Heavy gray clouds covered the horizon at the end of the gondola trip, and it also snowed! Unfortunately, I was not dressed up warmly enough, yet you will definitely find some warm, elegant and sustainable clothing for your adventures in the Fall Collection of Prana.

Cold and wet, I still enjoyed the scent of summit and the dance of clouds on top of six mountains. Glorious!

If you want to buy your gondola ticket online to avoid big lines: https://www.banffjaspercollection.com/attractions/banff-gondola/

Banff Gondola, Alberta

Due to Covid-19, Lake Louise was not packed, which allowed us to take our time around the lake and keep distance with visitors. Listening birds, taking several photos of changing magnificent panoramas in every step, and experiencing awareness in every breath within this liveliness even though it looked like your favorite book of “nature photos”. Sensing how everything vibrates around you although your eyes see stillness…

Going beyond your senses and connecting to everything around you in energy…

Joining to this liveliness and adopting the same vibration; be Lake Louise…

Lake Louise, Alberta

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This stone lives in Lake Louise. Eyes sees an art project, Perception names it stillness, and Soul celebrates reuniting to a friend.

Lake Louise, Alberta

If you are also amazed of this rock, you need to learn more about Rocks, Gems, And Minerals Of The Rocky Mountains.


JULY 6-9, 2020

My first hours in Summerland where my boyfriend lives, and what I discover when I ramble in the main street? Summerland Critteraid Charity Shoppe

It is a thrift store where 100% of all shopping profits made by you go towards helping animals by different projects; cat sanctuary, dog house division, Critteraid Farm, Education and Outreach. Of course, I did some shopping, made donations and thanked volunteers who work in the store.

My happy place is where people care ending the suffering of innocent beings.


Giant’s Head Mountain Park, Summerland, BC


Beach, Summerland, BC


We visited a second hand bookstore in Penticton, a beautiful city close to Summerland in the Okanagan Valley situated between Okanagan and Skaha lakes. Arrived only 5 minutes to closing hour, we rushed in and decided to listen to Universe’s voice to choose the best books for us. I chose shelves on the left, he chose shelves on the right; he ended up with “Sunflower for Van Gogh” and me, “Sunflower facing the sun”, Poems by Greg Pape. Without knowing each other’s fortune. There is no coincidences.

The Book Shop, http://www.bookspenticton.com/, Penticton, BC

Once our books were chosen (actually, we were chosen by our books), we were looking forward to listen whatever they had to tell us. Nothing, but love.

Naramata Beach, Penticton, BC


Here is the map of the second part of our road trip (July 10-16, 2020)

Destinations. Map from Summerland, BC to Vancouver Island, BC

On our way to Chilliwack to visit a family friend, Hedley caught our attention; a small former gold mining town which located at the foot of Nickel Plate Mountain in the Similkameen. Normally, The Hedley Museum and the Mascot Mine Museum displaying artifacts and photographs from the mining era were supposed to be open, yet they were closed due to Covid-19. Hedley looked like a movie studio of a charming ghost town.

Hedley, BC


The forms that “green energy” can create…Two trees holding tight each other with their roots and branches, Generous water following the green roads of nature and nurturing all existence, and Green covered branches mirroring human ribcage…Nature talks to us in ultimate creative ways.

Bridal Veil Falls, Fraser Valley East, Chilliwack, BC


Facing out onto English Bay, I closed my eyes and concentrated on seagulls’ talks and tender waves’ lullaby. Dissolution of whatever material around us, and traveling within the realm of timelessness…

Kitsilano Beach, City of Vancouver, BC


Giant trees of Lighthouse Park smelt Earth’s deep wisdom and made me feel welcomed, loved and protected.

Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver, BC

While I was walking silently among them, my thoughts gut numb by the unique intense perfume of this forest and my feet became invisible until my boyfriend hold my hand. I collected some resin from the oldest trees and put it on my wrests to immortalize these moments in my body.

Lighthouse Park, West Vancouver, BC


Wild pacific Trail, Ucluelet Peninsula, Vancouver Island, BC

Artist Trail. Every stone and rock is a sound of a letter, word or color appearing with every gentle wave and whispering to the artist’s mind. Magical place to be.

Wild pacific Trail, Ucluelet Peninsula, Vancouver Island, BC


On sunset, we hurried up to Long Beach after taking an inspiring hiking in Artist Trail. One of the best sunsets in Canada left us speechless. Very romantic.

Long Beach, Vancouver Island, BC

This sunset reminds you how endings can be magnificent and graceful.

Long Beach, BC

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Next morning, we enjoy ourselves in another beach…Life is good!

Wichaninnish Beach, BC

Gaiam Clearance Collection


I am grateful that I discovered Victoria during this road trip. One of the cities that I would like to come back, or maybe to move. Small, beautiful, cozy, elegant and peaceful. Also, Victoria is very close to all other islands that I would love to discover. Below photos show The British Columbia Parliament Buildings at night and lobby of the authentic hotel that we enjoyed staying. Again, we found a good deal in James Bay Inn with this link:

James Bay Inn and The British Columbia Parliament Buildings

On our way, we discovered the amazing artwork of a local artist, Tanya Bub. We were blessed.

Artworks of Tanya Bub, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC


Last four days of this road trip before coming back home, Montréal, Québec…Meditating, relaxing, hugging, writing and cooking/eating delicious vegan and savoring every second together with my boyfriend. Summerland has comfortable spots to dive into reading. Eventually, I found very interesting books in its second hand bookstore which is located in the main street. It was hard to choose which one to buy, I bought all. The owner asked me if I would like to work in his bookstore. An offer hard to decline.

Summerland, BC

During travels, relaxing and joyful books are preferable. Here, you can find more:

How leaving the country of vineyards without visiting one of the best ones? No way!

Bench 1775, Penticton, BC


For every travel, I determine some spiritual goals to accomplish which seasons all quest depending on places to visit. This road trip’s spiritual wishes were connecting to trees, my homeland and friends with love. Also, tasting different vegan flavors and encouraging restaurants, bars and friends to have more vegan options in their menus.

GAIA.com There's More To You Than You Think

Connecting to friends

My special heartfelt thanks to our amazing friends who hosted us couple of days and offered us their precious friendship which was one of the best part of our road trip. Nazım& Püren Aladoğan and their two sons and cats, Güher Yakar& Fadıl Karcıoğlu and Mike Maughan& Annie Lovgren.

Vancouver and Chilliwack, Güher Yakar, Nazım& Püren Aladoğan

Delicious, healthy and conscious eating: Vegan

Amazing news: being vegan, you never stay hungry nowhere. On the contrary, you receive the best nutritional food. Everywhere, vegan options are present now. We ate delicious, healthy, cruelty-free and budget-friendly: vegan.

Outdoor Cooking

My friends Nazım and Püren cooked us vegan, and also Güher. Fresh fruits and herbs from her garden.

Our exciting vegan menus in Summerland at my boyfriend’s place. Some are cooked with fresh vegetables from his garden. We also tried “Vegan tacos with jackfruit” in local pub. Delicious!

Summerland, BC

Ogopogo could not resist to the delicious smell coming from Jack’s kitchen.

Summerland, BC

Discovering this delicious Juice Bar&Vegan Food place and its owner was such a joy! If you visit the place, please ask the owner, Darren the story behind “Angry Vegan”. You will be surprised!

Angry Vegan Juice Bar&Vegan Food, Penticton, BC

And finally…Tree Hugging…

Since my childhood, hugging is natural to me. It is a family legacy. My father, mother and me I remember hugging each other at home for no reason, and so often that sometimes we hugged each other on the hallway while passing by. Also, the memory of my first day in primary school is always remembered; whereas children were crying since they were leaving first time their parents, I gave big hugs to my new friends and my teacher, which surprised everyone. Some people may find it very weird, however I experience the benefit of this habit now in my life, except the period of solitary confinement. Due to the Covid-19, we are not supposed to hug, nor kiss each other, yet hugging trees caries no risk, and cuddling up to trees is such a unique feeling that I need to write articles about it. And I will!

Hugging a tree in Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Alberta
Hugging trees in Giant Head Park, Summerland and Lighthouse Park, Vancouver, BC

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Author: peacegoodnews.com

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