One of my first memories of Victoria is the wind. It’s always windy here.
Almost 10 years ago to the day, I made the move from Vancouver to the island. Dad drove the family minivan packed with my entire world and helped move me into my new studio apartment. I remember my belongings blowing around the parking lot as we moved in.
Now, when I visit the mainland I always find it stuffy. I miss the wind.
And the food. We are so spoiled by the abundance of local eateries, who’s chefs are artists in their own rights.
My last year of uni I had a job with a tourism company in Van. Their clients would come to Vic to go whale watching. As a soon to be eager Marine Biology grad I applied for a position as an onboard Marine Naturalist without a second thought. My now best friend conducted the interview. I think the actual interview lasted about 3 minutes. She unofficially hired me on the spot and we moved on to more interesting topics of discussion, like nerding out over killer whales and algae. Kindred spirits from the start.
I moved to Vic immediately after graduation and was welcomed into the most amazing community. Completely unaware of what a networking town Victoria is, I was (and still am) so lucky to land in the middle of the whale watch community. Outlasting the job itself, my friends are now scattered around the world, a community spanning the globe. Maybe it’s the long hours, or the intensity of working on the water, but the bonds formed and instant camaraderie are unlike anything I’ve experienced before or since.
Through my whale watch connections I was offered the opportunity to spend a summer living aboard a tall ship and guiding in Haida Gwaii. It sounds like a short period of time, but it changed my life and heavily influences my work today. If you ever have a chance to visit, go! To me, it was like going back in time, to see what BC looked like before the land was cleared and cities were built. Time moves slower there. Life is simpler. Community is more important. People are more connected to the land and the rhythm of the seasons.
When I visit the mainland now, I notice differences between myself and others. My time on the island has changed me. I’ve slowed down. Literally. I stroll now. When I walk off the ferry or through my old stomping grounds, people rush past me. I don’t rush anymore. I read a quote once, perhaps on a tea bag tag, “nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Words I try to live by.
I came to Vic without much thought. It was a childhood dream to be an “islander.” Although, the longer I am here, I actually feel more connection to the mainland. Maybe it’s because my husband and many of the people I know here have lived in Vic most of their lives. I don’t feel like a local. I don’t feel from here. That said, Victoria has come to feel like home.
Since moving to the island, I’ve realised what I value in life, what kind of life I want to create and what I need to be happy. We’re working on building that life, husband and I. And not day goes by that I don’t feel eternally grateful for the life we have, and what we are working towards.