(Photo credit: Me)
Vancouver Summer 2014
My heart swelled with joy as the charter bus neared Vancouver. I had my hair freshly dyed back in Smithers, BC and I was ready to start my new stable life in the city of my dreams. Unlike the previous bus trip where I was grieving a lost relationship, this one was taking me to my dream come true – freedom, independence, and the west coast. I sighed happily as the bus entered the city and I took in all the new sights. I was finally here! The fact that it took me over a year to reach Vancouver made it all the more satisfying. My travel journey wasn’t always easy – sometimes it was a lot of fun with some great lessons – and now I could live out all my dreams.
I’ll never forget how refreshed I felt as I stepped off the bus at Pacific Central Station. I walked out into the bright, warm day and grabbed a cab. I checked into my hotel room at the Holiday Inn in Richmond, BC then took the sky train to the seawall. I walked along the seawall and breathed in the salty, fresh air. There’s nothing quite like west coast energy. Blinking back happy tears, I took in the view of English Bay. I’d never felt so relaxed and purposeful in all my life. I was home.
Since my friend lived in Victoria, BC as a student at UVic, I thought it would be nice to take a trip over to the island and visit him. With a few thousand dollars saved, I was free to travel and stay wherever I wanted before I settled into the city of my dreams. He kindly offered a room for me since one of his roommates was away. It was a lot better than couch surfing! The next day, I took a ferry to Vancouver Island then hopped on a bus that took me into Victoria. The view of the gulf islands was spectacular. I felt like I was in a dream. When I reached my friend’s house, he was standing across the road waiting for me. It was so cool seeing him out west after all the times I’d seen him in Ontario when he was younger. I crossed the road and we hugged.
One evening, we biked around the seawall at sunset, which was a lovely view. The city itself was nice, but I didn’t like it as much as Vancouver. After being out in the wilderness for a few months, I was ready to experience the true city life and become a Vancouver yuppy. After my visit in Victoria, I flew back to Ontario to visit my parents and sister for a few weeks before fully settling into Vancouver. I felt it was a good idea to spend some time with them after my experiences in Banff and at the lodge. I wasn’t planning to ever live in Ontario again, so a long visit would be a nice happy medium since they were missing me.
After about ten days in Ontario, I was already starting to feel anxious and restless. While the visit was nice, I wasn’t in the mode to relax – I wanted to explore the big city and settle into the new life I’d worked so hard for. I stayed another couple of weeks for good measure, but it was definitely a reminder as to why I didn’t want to live there. As we grow up, we find our own rhythm and pace. Our values and priorities can shift and change. The things that I wanted and needed were not in my home city. That can be really hard for some parents to accept, especially when they are used to their kid living close to home for decades before they leave. I’m so grateful to have parents who love me – some people don’t have a home to return to. I do. I appreciate my family for supporting my journey out west even though they would have preferred I stay in Ontario.
The amazing thing about my visit was that our family cat had fallen ill, but she caught her second wind when I visited. Mom thought she was waiting for me. I think she is right. Before I left, our beautiful tabby cat succumbed to her illness. I’m so glad I got to see her one more time. The morning I left, my mom and sister were up to say good-bye. My sister stood on the doorstep holding Kiki in her arms. It was time to leave again, but we had a good long visit.
I really fell in love with the big city that has wonderful ocean sunsets.
When the plane took off from Ontario this time, I wasn’t nervous about the unknown. I was excited to return to my final destination – Vancouver. This was what I’d worked so hard to finally experience and enjoy. I couldn’t wait to find a place and start a new job. Most of all, I couldn’t wait to write stories at all the amazing indie cafes around the city. I could feel my wings spread when I walked off the plane and was back on the west coast. I took a cab to the Holiday Inn across from Metrotown and started looking for places. It turns out I was in a great location – there were a lot of rooms for rent in the Metrotown area at that time.
While I was a little surprised at the renting prices in the area, there were some cheap rooms available that weren’t far from the sky train station. I ended up finding a lovely little bedroom with my own kitchen and living room area for $450 per month. The other room was for the family’s guests, so I got an amazing deal. Metrotown Station was just up the hill and normally I would walk up for the exercise.
I’ll never forget how happy I was the first morning I woke up in my new room. I got dressed, headed for the sky train, and explored the beautiful city. That evening, I watched the striking sunset at English Bay. It was so beautiful. As I walked down Robson Street toward the Burrard sky train station, my heart swelled with happiness. The lights strewn through the trees looked so lovely as people walked in and out of the shops. This was my kind of area. One of my favourite things to do when I first moved there was take a train from Burnaby to watch the sunset at English Bay then take the dreamy commute back. The pastel skies hovering over the city was a wonderful sight as well. Just thinking about it now as I write it, I can remember the amazing feeing of being somewhere so beautiful and new. I was happier than I’d ever been in my life.
I was amazed at how sunny Vancouver is in September. You always hear about how rainy it is, but the summers are quite dry. I couldn’t wait for the rains to come.
The above photo shows a cool art display. “Time to let go.” I’ve always been more of a present and future oriented person, so I liked that phrase. It seemed fitting for my new life on the west coast.
The Grass Is Always Green (A Poem)
The grass is always green when you move to your dream city
Had I stayed where it was familiar and safe, it would have been a pity
Since I was a teenager, I saw Vancouver as mystical place with mountains, forests, and the sea
The morning I woke up in my new room to go explore was one of the happiest days for me
Life is about enjoying the simple things – nature, cafes, sunsets, and the rain
Living where you feel inspired and free can help you overcome any pain
There’s many lovely places in Canada, but Vancouver is where I’ve thrived and healed
There’s nowhere else I cared to be as the creative layers in me were peeled
To finally stand on the west coast to watch the striking sunset was like heaven
I can now write where my creativity will never go barren
To have my own place in a city where I can wander, watch sunsets, and write
Is the reason why I live in true contentment and rarely feel spite
Nothing is perfect, but Vancouver is where my inspiration took flight
When it rains, the forests come alive with fog and mists – to me there is no lovelier sight
The grass isn’t greener on the other side when you know exactly what you’ve always wanted
Go where you feel happy and free, because if you don’t your heart will be haunted
By the need to be where you belong
“Remember how it was with you
Remember how you pulled me through
These photos are also from my first month in Vancouver. I was incredibly happy to finally arrive.
“Our values and priorities can shift and change. ” You are so right, mine have changed significantly about once per decade. Always a little bit wiser, I think. Thank you for a very interesting read.
That’s cool! I think that makes sense. Another 8-10 years of experience can shape how you see and relate to things.
Oh my gosh. I smiled throughout this whole post. It brought me right back to the many similar feelings I had when I settled into my new home in Victoria- it was one of the happiest times of my life. This series has sparked my wanderlust to explore Vancouver- despite how close I am to it, I have not explored it at all! Would love to spend a weekend there soon and visit some of the sites/areas you have mentioned. 😊💖
Oh my gosh I hope you do! I recently moved back to Ontario & I’m excited to start this new chapter in my life, but also really sad it’s over. I’m so happy I got to live in Vancouver for 9 years. Let me know when you do explore it! I hope you have a good time.