Vancouver Island: Mixing Business with Pleasure
Submitted by Jordan Becker, 460 Realty
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough” – Mae West (1893-1980)
I used to have a tradition of committing to a new activity every January. I’d give it the year to see if I liked it enough to incorporate it into my life. I was in my early 20’s, living in Vancouver, I had just put that tiny, Saskatchewan farming town in my rearview and the world was my oyster. The options for adventure seemed endless.
As a flatlander, it was only natural that it started with hiking. There were plenty of local mountains to explore, and plenty of viewpoints from which to snap a grainy, almost unrecognizable, 1.3 megapixel photo.
As I started to meet more like-minded people, each subsequent January brought new activities; kayaking, then martial arts, then downhill mountain biking, then indoor rock climbing and so on. Some of these new hobbies evolved throughout the years; casual ocean kayaking (well, let’s be honest – floating in the ocean while sitting in a kayak and sipping a cider) turned into rolling lessons and weekend trips to Hope to brave the turbulent white waters in the Vedder and the Skagit. Downhill mountain biking brought back a familiar feeling of speed and balance, but the stretched out acres of farmland where I used to ride my dirtbike were now 2,000 kilometers away, so a street bike was the obvious choice. Some of the hobbies gave me just a taste of something new and exciting, and would have me searching for the whole pie. The half second of freefall found in rock climbing led me to a dropzone then called Pacific Skydivers, where I would do my first of many skydives from 12,000 feet.
I’m not sure how many January’s had come and gone, but at some point I looked back and realized that I hadn’t put a single activity back on the shelf. I had kept them all. Thinking about it now, it’s clear that it had become an obsession; I had subconsciously tasked myself with trying everything I could; everything that wasn’t available to me as a teenager in a prairie town of 1,400 people. I was gathering up experiences, and I had amassed quite a collection.
Fast forward a few years, one wedding and two pink lines. It was obvious to my little family that we didn’t want to stay in Vancouver, and while Vancouver Island offered some attractive qualities, I just couldn’t picture my life without the 6am motorcycle rides on the Sea To Sky highway, or my home dropzone where I learned to pack parachutes, or those spur of the moment – “I’ve got a free morning” hikes up Shannon Falls or The Lions.
It took coming over for a friend’s wedding for me to open my gaze and consider life on the Island. I was chatting with some fellow guests, many of whom had wisened up to this very idea years before me, and moved over from Vancouver. Every point that I had was met with a Van Isle solution. Predictably and eventually, I had to throw out my hail mary – “I just didn’t want to feel so detached, I wanted to be able to get over to the mainland on my own schedule”, which was then met with the truest remark of the evening – “Once you live on the Island for a minute, you won’t care about going back”.
That was in 2016 and it’s as true today as it was then. Everything that I thought used to tie me to Vancouver had far less to do with the actual city, and so much more to do with it’s West Coast placement. All of the activities that I picked up in my 20s, the ones that shaped and molded me, are still available to me here; the biggest difference is that I fight far less traffic on my way to enjoying them. Things are no doubt different now in the way that I split my time between business and pleasure, but finding adventure will always be a defining characteristic in my life, and adventure is something that Vancouver Island has in spades.