After three and a half years, Vancouver finally feels like home.
When I first visited Vancouver, the city loomed like a glass tower maze. I found respite glancing down the busy streets towards the ocean and tree-covered mountains; taking the sea bus and ferry felt like an adventure boating on the channel’s waves.
In the summer before I graduated from university, I moved to north Burnaby, just outside of Vancouver, for a journalism internship. I became close friends with my roommates, worked diligently from a small office and spent my weekends at bars, on mountains and in the water. Three months was enough time to decide I loved Vancouver, but I doubted I could ever feel at home somewhere so…
Born and raised in rural Alberta, I feel more comfortable on highways lined with hay bales and wide-open skies than on busy intersections crammed with pedestrians and noisy police sirens. Still, out of all the cities I visited in 35 different countries, I quickly proclaimed Vancouver my favourite. It simply had everything.
When I started my Master of Fine Arts, I didn’t really have a place to live. I’d just graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism Degree from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. The master’s program kicked off in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but it was a limited residency program, so I could live anywhere I wanted. I left my hometown with two massive suitcases and a vague idea where I wanted to move.
I ended up in Montreal for the next six months. I adored the experience, but I also didn’t feel at home. I arrived in a sweltering hot September and left in the icy depths of February. In between, I spent most of my time away on press trips, writing a manuscript for my book and working online for explore and Canadian Traveller.
When I was offered a full-time job (with a salary and benefits) with the same media company I’d had an internship with (spoiler, it’s explore and Canadian Traveller) on the condition I’d move back to the Lower Mainland, it didn’t take long for me to accept. That was in March 2018.
I moved to Abbotsford, then back into my old apartment in north Burnaby. I drove into the offices in central Burnaby and Port Moody. In September 2019, I moved into a swanky two-bedroom across from Granville Island, walking distance from Sunset Beach and the Yale Saloon country bar. I started working from home a few months before the pandemic. Then, last winter, I packed my bags again, unpacking in a spacious basement suite near the Fraser River.
It doesn’t feel like I’ve lived here for three and a half years. Since growing up in Grande Prairie for 18 years, this is the longest I’ve lived anywhere. I think it helps that I lived in several different areas around the Lower Mainland. I have an interesting job, and my mom moved close by. There are lots of reasons to stay; to feel at home. But Vancouver has it’s own charms, and I finally feel like she’s mine, and I’m hers.
I doubt I’ll ever live right downtown again, but I love being on the outskirts of the city and visiting. I feel like I’m travelling when I park my car in Mount Pleasant and hop on the Skytrain to Waterfront. Living here gives me the best of both worlds: the ability to settle, and the feeling of being on the move, constantly discovering new things.
Vancouver opened my eyes to the best food—Honey’s doughnuts, Earnest ice cream and brewery row, not to mention the sushi, oh, the sushi!—some of nature’s most stunning backdrops—here’s looking at you, North Shore—and a variety of events, festivals, cultural celebrations that offer unique opportunities to learn, grow, reflect, connect and just be.
All that in one city? Who would’ve thought!
It’s official. I am home.