It's a timeless sentiment. It’s classic tale. It's a 90's rom-com romp starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks titled "Anytown, USA" (or at least it should be). I'll break it down but you've heard it all before: two frazzled thirty-somethings get fed up with the hustle and bustle of the big smoke and blow it all off to live in quiet, but idyllic community in the countryside. It's unsettling at first. Where's the local Ethiopian joint? What do you mean the coffee shop is closed Sundays? Wait, there's no Whole Foods here?! Hijinx ensues while they readjust to life at a brand new, slower pace! Then, in the denoument, they realize just how much they'd been missing in their crazy lives before. You see, they added to their lives by subtracting. Ohhhhhh...
It's one of those "Aha!" moments. How romantic. What a story! What a cliche.
Well folks, that cliche is my life right now. Sort of.
While it's true that my partner and I are giving up the city in search of something different, we actually didn't want to leave. Not really. I'd love to tell you the insane housing market drove us away but it didn't. The real estate prices in the lower mainland are absolutely out of hand, but we are very lucky and we could have afforded to stay. It would have been a broom closet bedroom on the outskirts of town but heck, we could have bought a place and made it a home.
See the truth is, we love the urban life. We love Vancouver. We love seeing the seasons spin through and transform the skyscape every four months. We love the fast pace, the hustle and bustle, the concerts, people watching, summer park beers and amazing food. We love the traffic and we love complaining about the traffic. We love the neighborhood we live in and most importantly we love our close knit group of friends that we call family. In fact, I remember one late (and boozy) October evening in 2012, just after I'd arrived in the city, when I looked at my surroundings and all at once realized that I'd found my people and my place. Vancouver was first the house that felt like home.
And now we're leaving.
Why? Well, it turns out that even though we love Vancouver, we just might love something else more.
Over the last 3 years, my fiance and I (along with our pup Scout) have been engaged in a torrid love affair with the great outdoors. Mother Nature has become our church. Walking from the forest floor to the mountain ridge has become our mantra. Our prayer. The unbridled wild is our playground and we just needed to be closer to it more of the time. It's that simple. At some undefined point in the last year, we started wondering why we'd slave away all week in the city just to frantically scramble each weekend to some forested refuge to recharge our batteries. It didn't make any sense.
So we're going to leave. More specifically, we're gonna leave this city and move into a town. What town? Turns out it’s good ol’ Cumberland, BC - a small community nestled next to Strathcona Provincial Park in the beautiful Comox Valley. It's closer to our families and above all, it's closer to church. We think it's the perfect place to strike a new balance and start the next chapter of our lives.
Part of us will always live on in Vancouver but the truth is, at this moment here, we couldn't be more excited to leave.