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Apply 4HWW principles to have a great weekend getaway at Vancouver, BC

February 17th, 2009 · 2 Comments

You might wonder why I haven’t made any post in a few days  — that’s because I took a two-day family vacation to the beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.

I would like to share a few things with you about our trip.

In case you haven’t heard about 4HWW — it stands for 4-Hour Work Week — it’s a set of life design and productivity principles from Timothy Ferris’ best selling The 4-Hour work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. I’ve heard diverse opinions on this book. Some folks think 4HWW is a urban legend. Some think 4HWW is a slick promotion job by Tim. But, I feel that the principles behind 4HWW is sound, and have been trying to apply the principles in my work and life. This post is not a book review, so I’ll get into the details about 4HWW in a future post. 

Here are a few interesting things about our trip:

  • This is the first time we took a family trip with our 4-month old and our 28-month old. Yes, we had to carry our shares of diapers, wipes, and baby essentials. But, it wasn’t that bad at all — we made sure the kids getting enough sleep, and eat well. And they collaborated like a charm. 
  • We decided to take the trip on Friday afternoon, and left on Sat noon. Some folks might think that it’d take a long time to plan a family trip. My response is that don’t let the kids thing to be your excuse — it’s really not that bad. Just decide and go. It took me 5 minutes to book the hotel, and an hour to pack and get everybody ready to go. 
  • I booked our hotel on — one silver lining of the current financial mess is that you can get really good rates for hotels. We stayed at the beautiful 5-star Pan Pacific Hotel for about $100/night. 
Pan Pacific Hotel in Vancouver 
  • I went on an information diet — no emails and web surfing for 2 days. I felt great — it’s nice to take a break from bailouts, bank failures, and automaker bankruptcies. :-) 
  • Instead of consuming information on the web, I spent time to talk to real people to learn and get information. We didn’t do any research on restaurants. We walked into a crowed restaurant that had a long line of people waiting. We asked the locals "it looks that we won’t get a seat any time soon. Any other places would you recommend?" People loved to help. And we found a couple of really nice restaurants that the locals frequented. You won’t find those place on any tour guide. 
  • Vancouver Aquarium is very nice, but is not very big. If you travel with kids, an hour of visit is probably enough for their attention span. To save some money, get there a little bit before 4PM. You’ll get 50% discounts on the ticket.
  • Instead of going to one of those fancy, expensive restaurants, go to Davie Street, which is full of interesting, affordable, and diverse food joints. Stepho’s Greek Taverna always has a long line stretching out of its door, but it’s definitely worth the wait.

    I’d also like to make a couple of observations about Vancouver.

    I have always love to visit Vancouver. I think it’s one of the most beautiful and livable cities in the world. It’s like an interception of Chicago and San Francisco — it has the architectural wonders of Chicago, and the beauty and cultural diversity of San Francisco. My wife asks me which city I would live if I’m financial independent today. Vancouver is very high on my list.

    However, I also feel economically, Vancouver is a city full of contradictions. By all indications, it’s a very wealthy town with fancy cars, restaurants, condominiums, high rises, etc. However, I think a lot of the luxuries are consumed by foreigners. I can tell some locals are struggling. On a bright Sunday morning, there was a long line of job seekers lining up at the Vancouver Convention Center because a bus company was having a career fair.  I just don’t see how the local economy would be able to sustain the life style and housing price Vancouver commands today — the inflow of foreign wealth keeps the economy going. Is this sustainable? Probably, given Vancouver is such a nice place to live. Is this desirable? I’m not so sure.

    Although we only stayed at Vancouver for two days, it felt that we had left home for a long time. We felt refreshed and energized. This reminds me a question that I keep asking (and reminding) myself:

    “Do you work to live? or you live to work?"

    I choose to work to live.

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    Tags: Tools & Tips · Work/Life Balance

    2 responses so far ↓

    • 1 Vancouver Attractions // Feb 19, 2009 at 12:59 pm

      One of the fun things to do with kids in Vancouver is to go on a Trolley Tour and enjoy the most popular areas: Downtown, Stanley Park, Chinatown, Gastown, Granville Island. You can hop off at any stop, enjoy the area then hop back on the Trolley.

    • 2 Vancouver Attractions // Feb 19, 2009 at 5:59 pm

      One of the fun things to do with kids in Vancouver is to go on a Trolley Tour and enjoy the most popular areas: Downtown, Stanley Park, Chinatown, Gastown, Granville Island. You can hop off at any stop, enjoy the area then hop back on the Trolley.

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