It wasn’t just Taylor Swift’s concert that I got a free ticket to but also Katy Perry’s! She happened to be in Vancouver while Lucky and I were there. I believe her latest album was a flop based on sales and according to music critics, so her tickets were quite cheap. Our hosts bought us two seats to make our stay in Vancouver more memorable.
Anyway, Carly Rae Jepsen opened for Katy Perry. She sounded amazing live, though I felt her manner of opening the concert was rather forgettable. Katy Perry showed up two hours late, which left the audience frustrated and restless. Nevertheless, the announcement that the entire concert would be filmed made us forgive her. Haha.
Her performances were spectacular, emotional, and colorful. However, it left me and Lucky rushing home to take the last bus going to Surrey, because her concert ended late. Any bus heading to White Rock would pass by Surrey (or so we thought), since we saw buses 345 and 375 near our house. After taking a 45-min SkyTrain ride from Rogers Arena to Newton Exchange, we were fortunate to arrive just in time for bus 321 bound for White Rock.
It was midnight at 12:30 AM when we took the bus while chatting with two fellow concert goers we met at the bus stop. Lucky and I agreed we’d pay attention to the bus stops once we were along 152nd St. We were hoping to get off at the intersection of 62nd Ave and 152nd St. We were having a lot of fun exchanging opinions about the concert. You get the point. We were ecstatic!
Finally, the bus stopped at 152nd St/24th Ave. Perfect, it would just continue northbound until it reached 62nd Ave. And that was the ideal scenario. Instead, the avenue numbers kept going down – 22nd, 20th, 18th, 16th, 14th.
Me: Lucky, I think this bus took a different route.
Lucky: Oh no! Should we get off?
Me: Yeah, then let’s cross the road and take the next northbound bus.
We got off and quickly realized it was actually the last bus since it was already past 1 AM. After consulting Google Maps, we found out we were ~10 km away from our house!
Lucky: Let’s just hail a cab and get it over and done with.
Me: Sure, but let’s keep on walking and just flag one down if we see one.
No taxi was in sight. All the establishments were closed, so we continued walking 3 kilometers and almost gave up. Of all the days we could get lost, why did it have to happen at midnight, in the middle of nowhere, in the dark, and in the middle of drizzly winter?
It was an arduous walk in the middle of the night. We thought of just staying in a coffee shop until 5 AM while waiting for buses to bring us home. We passed by several Tim Hortons (a popular Canadian coffee shop chain), Starbucks and McDonald’s, but none of them where open 24/7.
By kilometer 5, we were already thinking of hitchhiking. Besides, what was there to lose? It wasn’t that we had so much money with us in case theft became our next enemy, but our spirits were dampened by the fact that it was nighttime, and all the cars that passed us by were speeding up.
Despite being exhausted, we weren’t so confident about hitchhiking, either. We were already halfway through our walk, so we decided it wouldn’t hurt to just go on with the journey and just let this experience be one for the books. We kept on walking. Every time we saw a well-lit house, we got tempted to ask for a ride. Every time a car would drive by, we debated whether to hitchhike or not.
At kilometer 7, it was almost pitch-dark and we were walking on gravel road. Still, we managed to laugh at ourselves. “Is this what we get for quitting our jobs, leaving Manila, and setting out on a long-term trip?,” I joked. After all, what’s three kilometers after you’ve done seven? Fatigued and hungry, we got home at almost 4 AM and went directly to bed.
There was something delicious about getting lost and walking at midnight to find your way home. It felt like walking through a mangrove forest in the dark with crocodiles around you. In our case, it was the occasional cars and a ten-kilometer stretch of highway we needed to tread. Lucky and I almost snapped at each other while indirectly blaming the other (but our own selves) why we were lost in the first place. Bear with us, but our last meal was just before the concert.
Why delicious you might ask. Because, in spite of hunger and uncertainty, we managed to walk quietly most of the time. We learned to be more patient with ourselves. In Manila, doing the same thing would probably be ridiculous given the sketchiness of its streets and the absence of dedicated sidewalks. Looking back, I thought it wasn’t as bad as I thought at that time. Walking for more than two hours in the dark in Vancouver had been a rare experience we’d love to relive.
And to answer the question I threw as a joke, yes, that was what we got for taking the leap. We grew, we got anxious, and we experienced something most travel blogs don’t talk about. That’s what makes our travels rich and meaningful.