The image above is from Gbrosseau Photo
I’m writing this at the end of a wonderful long weekend, and as the title suggests, I’m pondering the meaning of the word home. Why now? It’s been on my mind for months really… We currently live right downtown – and while many of our friends have found this to be an ideal environment for raising kids, for me personally, I’m not sure that it feels right.
Both my husband and I fondly remember childhood days spent frolicking in the forests near our homes, building forts, exploring, and having “adventures”. For me time spent in the forest feels as natural as eating or sleeping – despite having lived in cities of various sizes from the age of 11.
The city we live in and the surrounding countryside have an increasing problem of affordability – and many people are forced to move further and further out into the suburbs.
While the suburbs are an option – my husband will continue to work in the city for the foreseeable future, and many of the suburban areas that appeal to us involve an hour and a half commute. And I think it’s tough to know on the outset what kind of experience you’ll have in the suburb you choose. Some neighbourhoods are certainly more community minded and friendlier than others.
This past Tuesday I was busy planning our hike for this weekend and thought it’d be fun to go a bit further afield than usual, to Bowen Island (a 30 minute ferry ride from downtown). I started reading about this jewel of an island on the Pacific and I really liked what I read. I was actually so distracted by everything that I read that it made it tough to work that evening. We decided we ought to go for the weekend as perhaps this is just the type of place we want to call home. Bowen is a heavily forested island with a year round population of 3,000 people that swells to over 4,000 in the summer. It has a quaint downtown with shops, restaurants and a vibrant artisan community. There are no chain stores of any kind. Instead you’ll find miles and miles of trees and hiking trails, hemmed in by rocky bluffs and sandy beaches. The island has a strong history as a place of deep community ties and its populace is very involved in civic affairs.
The image above is from Spread the Love
After this weekend I’ve fallen in love with the island and I know my husband has warmed to it too. As city folks we aren’t that involved in our community right now. It’s easy not to be in the city. I volunteer as much as I can for a local social enterprise, and we make time to see our close friends – but other than that we often find ourselves working long hours, which often seems necessary to keep our entrepreneurial ventures healthy. Now as we ponder the next stage of our lives, thinking about our future children and putting down roots, we’re forced to ask ourselves just what home means to us, and what we should prioritize. We’re planning to visit Bowen again in September to learn more about the island, and we’re considering giving it a test run as renters, perhaps next spring. So for now, things are up in the air – but in the meantime, it’s given us plenty of food for thought as we plan for the future.
I’d love to hear some of your experiences as you were looking to settle down and have kids!