Im not a city person, yet somehow I have spent the last 20 years living in one. Sure, I have been lucky enough to live in some of the greatest cities on the planet – London, Singapore, Hong Kong and now Vancouver.
Working in finance its kind of impossible not to live in a big city. But my roots are in the British countryside where there was clean air, no traffic and you only heard a police siren about once a year. Climbing trees, building forts and making leaky dams in the stream across the road were all an important part of my childhood.
Having moved to Canada in 2009 I had great plans for my kids growing up outdoors. But Canada is a big place, and day trips out of the city somehow didn’t quite cut the cake. Of course we could always find mountains to hike up, secluded beaches to hang out at or lakes to go fishing but it never felt like getting away. Anywhere within an hour or two of the city was always crowded with other likeminded escapees!
In a last ditch effort to find nirvana, we took the plunge and bought a “weekend house” last summer. It’s a small 2 bedroom place on an island with notoriously unreliable ferry service. There are about a thousand brave souls who live there full time, and about the same number of weekenders like us. The island is about 20 miles long, so it’s not hard to find a spot with a sea view where the wildlife outnumber the people more than 10:1. The beaches are empty, the kids can play outside unsupervised and the silence is deafening. I have yet to hear a police siren and that’s definitely a good thing!
Finding our special place took longer than expected but it was worth the wait. Everyone should have a special place they can retreat to – it doesn’t need to be as extravagant as buying a weekend house on an island. It might be a corner of a park where you watch the sunrise, a bench under the shade of a big tree where you can read a book in the midday sun, or the beer garden of the local pub. Wherever it is, good luck finding it and I hope you don’t need to rely on a terrible ferry service to get there!