I have lived in “beautiful British Columbia,” Vancouver my entire life. It was not until I was 20 years old (sad to say) and left B.C. that I truly understood the significance of how much it rings true to me and the way I identify myself. No matter how cliché it is, the city of Vancouver, the province of British Columbia, is the best place to live on our globe ─ for me. After three months of living up north in the grey, barren lands of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories (though it has indescribable sunsets, precious Canadians from all over that I adore, the mesmerizing fluidity of the dancing northern lights, and both endless daylight, and endless nighttime), I was flying back to my homeland, and I suddenly received that feeling you get when you are walking down the stairs and miss the last step, but don’t fall: it made me shed tears out of perplexity of elation when I could see the green mountains of British Columbia. I was almost embarrassed to recognize only then that I appreciated and longed for this familiarity of spectacular greenery.
That moment was when I realized that I will never live anywhere permanently, except for Vancouver. Anyone who gets the opportunity to swim in our waters (yes they are cold), ride down our mountains (the perfection of serenity), walk or run in our forests (it is magical and different every single time), roam the streets of downtown (diversity at its finest), and enjoy our nightlife (somewhere and something for literally everyone), is strictly fortunate.
When I learned how to snowboard when I was 20, I learned what the peace of a mountain means. Anyone who has experienced the extreme butterflies in your stomach from ‘shredding some serious gnar’ down the mountain in fresh powder that pillows you when you bail, knows the feeling of a genuine adrenaline rush (everyone should feel this).
While at the same time, the mountains have given me an utter emotion of stillness and tranquility (you must know what I’m talking about). And then, there are the waters of B.C.
Each lake that I get to swim in on a hot summer’s day brings me an intense happiness and ‘newness’ every time. I definitely am an ‘aqua-girl’ and grew up on the water.
Any boat will bring you a fabulous time, whether it’s a speed boat, sailboat, rowboat, or a blowup floatie that you may call “party island”, you cannot beat a hot, beauitful day in B.C. floating
on the water and swimming. My mom always tells me a story of how when I was two she had one of those kid pools in the backyard, and how I’d freak out the babysitters by diving right into them head first. I guess I always loved the feeling of “butterflies”.
If you’ve ever gone for a hike or run in forests of B.C., you will literally see, hear, and experience complete novelty.
Downtown Vancouver has brought me some great times with my friends, and it’s the kind of city you can walk around and get lost in for days. I fortunately lived downtown for 6 months, and it was a pleasure to not drive and walk the city every single day. I was writing the most when I lived downtown for many reasons, but one of them was because being in the heart of Van was inspiring and brought me stories just by taking a step outside my apartment building.
And lastly (even though I can continue), if you get away from the city, the stars are so unbelievable in certain parts of B.C., you just will feel like you’ve seen a miracle happen. There’s a reason I got a tattoo when I was 18 that means ‘shooting star’ (and no, I don’t regret it).
I suppose everyone feels attached to their ‘homeland’, but like a cherished relationship that has drifted apart, I never recognized what my home was until I was away from it ─ I never knew what a particular ‘place’ meant to my core until it was no longer surrounding me on a day-to-day basis. I love British Columbia, and I intend on seeing as much of the world as I possibly can in the future, but I will always run willingly and with arms wide open to be consumed by the bright lights and natural beauty of B.C.
– Tia D. O’Grady