Jake Borrett and Rufus Lakin’s Canada Adventure (December 2016 - January 2017)

Jake Borrett and Rufus Lakin’s Canada Adventure (December 2016 - January 2017)

I have wanted to go travelling with my cousin, Rufus Lakin, for a long time, so when he decided to have a year studying abroad in Canada it gave us a good opportunity to do so. Our Canadian adventure took place between Wednesday 28th December 2016 and Tuesday 17th January 2017. I have been to Canada once before in 2006 with my immediate family, but this was the first time I travelled on an aeroplane by myself. Whilst it was a scary experience making sure I caught the right ‘Air Canada’ plane, I made sure to have enough time to get through check-in, security and boarding before my nine and a half hour long haul flight to Vancouver.

I arrived at Vancouver International Airport at 4.05pm on Wednesday 28th December 2016 where Rufus was waiting for me. We spent a total of nine nights in Vancouver, including one night at an Airbnb and the rest at Best Western Plus Sands Hotel. Looking back on this adventure I am amazed by and thankful for the amount of memories we created together. Here is a list of the activities we got up to in Vancouver. The list includes:
          Exploring Downtown Vancouver and English Bay
          Bike riding around Stanley Park
          Watching the sun set over Vancouver at Queen Elizabeth Park
          Visiting VanDusen Botanical Garden to see the Festival of Lights
          Ice skating at a local community centre
          Ringing in 2017 by watching the New Year’s Eve firework display by the waterfront
          Briefly watching the Polar Bear Swim, where people can swim for a kilometre in English Bay for New Year’s Day
          Going to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park at night to see the bridge, its canyon lights as well as the tree tops and cliff walk
          Visiting the Steam Clock at Gastown, Vancouver
          Watching an ice hockey game, where the Vancouver Canucks beat the Colorado Avalanche 3 goals to 2
          Exploring Granville Island, including its marketplace
          Having a day-trip to Whistler to snowshoe and to have a go at bobsleigh
          Entering into a poker tournament at Edgewater Casino

We are lucky to have managed to visit many amazing places in ten days. One of my many highlights of Vancouver was completing the nine kilometre route around Stanley Park. One of the last times I was on a bicycle was in 2006 and although I was very rusty at first in the end we managed to complete the full distance and saw many beautiful views along the way.

I often find taking part in different sports more challenging due to the coordination impact my dyspraxia has; but throughout my adventure in Canada I did not let my dyspraxia stop me from attempting and enjoying cycling, ice skating and later snowmobiling and skiing. I am proud to have given each activity a good go.  

One of my many highlights of Vancouver was completing the nine kilometre route around Stanley Park...Copyright © 2016- Jake Borrett and Rufus Lakin. All rights reserved.               

We spent a total of four nights in Yellowknife, the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Whilst we were out there it dropped to temperatures of -38 degrees, so we were thankful to have hired very warm ‘Canada Goose’ clothing and ‘Sorel Boots’, and to have booked a room at Yellowknife Polar Suite in the centre of town. As well as dealing with the cold Rufus and I had to cope with the tiredness of early starts and late nights. Nevertheless, between Friday 6th January 2017 and Tuesday 10th January 2017 we completed the following activities:
          Travelling to a cabin in order to witness the beautiful Northern Lights with ‘My Backyard Tours’
          Driving snowmobiles during the day across Great Slave Lake with ‘Aurora Adventure Tour’
          Being treated to the Northern Lights for the second night in the row at another cabin with ‘Aurora Adventure Tour’
          Driving our own dog sled through a winter wonderland with ‘Beck’s Sled Dog Kennels and Tours’
          Snowmobiling at night through the woods and across a frozen lake with ‘North Star Adventures’

I enjoyed pretty much every moment of the hauntingly beautiful Yellowknife. However, one common theme to the tours we went on is the lack of toilet facilities. We were recommended to use the toilet in advance of going on the tours. The problem was that the night time snowmobiling and Northern Lights tours could last up to four hours, so my Crohn’s disease did cause me to sometimes feel uncomfortable. Saying this I always made sure to bring an extra pair of underpants with me and to not allow my Crohn’s disease to spoil my enjoyment as we drove through the snow.

The beautiful Northern Lights...Copyright © 2017- Jake Borrett and Rufus Lakin. All rights reserved.        

Kelowna and a Final Reflection
Rufus and I spent the last part of our Canadian adventure in Kelowna. We stayed on campus at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus where Rufus is completing his year studying Human Kinetics or rather Sports Science. I got a glimpse into what it could have been like if I had studied at a university away from home rather than commuting to University of Hertfordshire. The people I met during my time in Canada were all friendly, with Kelowna being no exception. The activities we completed between Tuesday 10th January 2017 and Tuesday 17th January 2017 were as follows:
          Experiencing student life at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
          Having a nostalgic meal at Earls Kitchen and Bar Restaurant, where I went to with my immediate family when we travelled to Kelowna in 2006
          In a group of four, we spent the weekend at ‘Big White Ski Resort’ where I learnt to ski all the way to one of the green runs; as well as doing some tubing and ice skating
          On our last day, we climbed Knox Mountain Park to gain a view of Kelowna and Okanagan Lake

The time in Kelowna went by very quickly. While Rufus was in some of his university lessons and on my travels back home to England on Tuesday 17th January 2017 I had a good amount of time to reflect. I believe the travelling we did in Canada has given me more confidence, proving that I am strong and brave and willing to try new activities for the experience. As we took our seats on the bobsleigh in Whistler and went down the slopes at seventy miles per hour I realised that attempting new things is good, and that we should never let our hidden disabilities stop us; I should never think less of myself because of my Crohn’s disease and dyspraxia. Thank you for an incredible adventure Rufus and thank you everyone else for being there for me.

I should never think less of myself because of my Crohn’s disease and dyspraxia...Copyright © 2017- Jake Borrett and Rufus Lakin. All rights reserved.    


  1. I really enjoyed your talk on bbc three counties radio today about hidden diseases. Good job :)