Nine months ago, after more than 20 years of living in California, I drove up the West Coast and crossed the border into Canada. I came home.
Unsurprisingly, the question I’m often asked is “Why?”
Sometimes when I drove the mega-congested 405 freeway in Los Angeles, I would ponder my life choices and my options (there’s a whole lot of time to think when you’re crawling 5 to 10 miles an hour—for an hour). In 2016, after two decades of living in sunny Southern California, I knew this was not where I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Too many people. Too many cars. Too hot. Too violent. Just too much.
So in the fall of 2016, I made the decision to pack up.
But leaving wasn’t easy. I left friends I care about. I left the aquarium in Long Beach, where I had volunteered for seven years. I gave up scuba diving in the kelp forests off Catalina Island. I gave up the sandy beaches of Malibu and watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. Dammit—I gave up Trader Joe’s!
North of the 49th
Happily, the trade has been worth it. I’m now living on Vancouver Island, which lives up to the “Beautiful British Columbia” boast on the licence plate. Looming mountains, big sky, clean air. Waterfalls, rivers, and lakes. And trees, trees, and more trees. So green, and so serene.
I’ve settled in Nanaimo—“The Harbour City”—where the ferry arrives from and leaves for the mainland 10 times a day. Where you may get lucky and spot orcas or seals while strolling along the shore. Where you can hike and kayak and dive and golf and swim and…well, pick your pleasure. And where you can follow the Nanaimo Bar Trail, the only trek I know that’ll make you fatter. (More about that in a future post.)
I’ve started a new chapter in my life, and that’s what this blog is about. I’m going to write about the places I go, the things I do, the people I meet. I’m going to share Vancouver Island with you—until you get a chance to come and experience it for yourself. Which I hope you do.
Cheers—and welcome to my blog!