It’s been a little over a year since my weathered Honda Civic rolled off the ferry and onto this wonderful rock.
Fresh off a fun three years in Golden, moving to Vancouver Island promised a whole new type of adventure.
Excitingly, I would no longer have to drive three hours to visit Costco or take in the latest Hollywood blockbuster. And having options between more than just a handful of restaurants proved to be a blessing and a curse for someone who tends to go back-and-forth on food-oriented decisions.
Even more attractive was the ocean, an environment I’d only ever experienced on vacation having grown up in Montreal and Toronto. The hiking, kayaking and camping opportunities here are second to none and I still feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.
Admittedly, the fact that single women far outnumber single men in the region didn’t hurt my enthusiasm for making the move either. Leaving Golden, where the dating pool is as deep as an Adam Sandler flick, seemed like it might benefit my personal life.
And just weeks after my move, those demographics worked in my favour when I met my current girlfriend.
The only caveat to my newfound love was the fact that she happens to be Japanese and her Working Holiday Visa expired in April.
Faced with a difficult decision – somehow even more challenging than choosing between Indian or Korean food for dinner – I decided that the best course of action is to move from one island to another. My Japanese visa arrived two weeks ago and my flight for Osaka is fully booked.
Long term, I do believe I’ve found my future home on the Island. The combination of (mostly) great weather, outdoor pursuits, and particularly the friendliness of others is unlike anything I’ve come across in the various places I’ve lived. If all goes according to plan, I hope to return by the time 2018 is through.
Over the past year I’ve reported on everything from local council to West Shore transportation conundrums. I had the pleasure of speaking to parents who had their lives changed by a guide dog that helped immensely with their two autistic children.
I got to experience exciting moments from the Shamrocks and Grizzlies, as well as the Westshore Rebels’ thrilling run to the national championship.
I even got to write about a young kid’s viral Deadpool-pose in front of Hatley Castle. Surely a journalistic first.
I’m doubting the hiking trails will provide the same level of solitutde as they do here, and I’ll certainly miss telling the stories of the amazing people that live on the West Shore, but I’m excited for a whole new adventure amid the hustle and bustle of Japan.
A special thanks to all of the staff at the Gazette, particularly Christine, Don, Katie and Michelle for putting up with a Habs fanatic and making this year a memorable one.
And thanks to you, our loyal readers, and all of the many people I’ve interviewed for stories over the last year.