Have you EVER met someone from Vancouver, Washington? I’m sure there are many fine people who live in Vancouver, WA but I have to tell you I find it CRAZY how often I’ll tell people I’m from Vancouver and their first question will be “Canada or Washington?”. What are the odds it’s Washington?!?! (Although I just googled it and apparently it’s the 4th largest city in Washington State, so maybe I’m being touchy) 😉
We had an amazing visit to Vancouver. It feels like the more I go back, the more I appreciate Vancouver for the natural beauty that it is. I get the appeal of mountains (REAL mountains) and West coast sunsets in a whole new way.
But also the more I go back, the more that I realize how much I live in Maine now. I moved to Maine, and I really, really like it here.
Portland, especially, is the perfect combination of a charming city perched on the edge of fantastic bays and islands and cruising, with a legal liveaboard marina right in the heart of it all (which is a serious challenge in Vancouver), tons of bright sunny days and afternoon breezes, all the city-living perks of restaurants and coffee shops and weekend festivals but without the big-city traffic, a job I truly love, and a healthy dose of winter blizzards to make sure we don’t get too complacent in our old age 🙂
Given all of that, the only hard part that remains is being away from family and friends. I love my family something fierce, let me tell you that. I don’t know if it’s because we spent 7 years living on Synchronicity or because of Jess’ accident or our DNA or some combination of all the above, but we’re a pretty awesome family unit, and I’m not ashamed to say it 🙂 So living on opposite coasts causes me a pretty great deal of stress, and I’m still trying to figure it out.
This is what I’ve learned so far…
- Visits to Vancouver should be more than 10 days but less than 21. One week is not nearly enough time to feel like I had a real visit, but more than two-ish weeks and it starts to feel hard to get back into a groove in Maine.
- Working on East Coast hours works amazingly well. Yes, it means starting at 5:30 am, but it also means being off by 2ish without taking any precious, precious vacation days 🙂 Since Jess trains every day (she’s a professional athlete on the BC wheelchair rugby team) and mom and dad are at work too, this seems to work for everyone. I am SERIOUSLY grateful to work for a company that is okay with remote work — it facilitates my deepest life needs in the best possible way.
- Quality over quantity — although there’s some pretty good quantity too. If I look back at the last 12 months, I’ve spent 8 weeks in Vancouver. That’s two whole months of dedicated visiting! It doesn’t always feel like enough — I miss Sunday night dinners and easy afternoon coffees, but I think the quality of time makes up for some of the missing quantity. I’m going to misquote Bumfuzzle a little on this, since I think he put it nicely:
“Over time, I think, our lifestyle has actually afforded us more time with our families than had we stayed put in Chicago. I’m sure there is no way we would have seen each other as much had we slipped into the grind, even if [visits] would have been cheaper and easier.”
- Memories matter most. Kind of related to the point above, but I find that visits where we go out of the way to make memories — concerts, sailing trips, spontaneous ocean swims, blo-bar hairdos, BBQ’s, sleepovers, drinks on the beach — are the ones that we remember forever. Bonus points if there are a million photo-taking opportunities included.
We did a good job of following the rules this trip, and I have the memories (and photos!!!) to prove it 🙂
Thanks for the visit, Vancouver!!