“How can you not love it?! “ “Really? Even with that view..” “What’s not to love?”
And about a dozen other things I’ve heard over the last 12 + months of living in Vancouver. I try to keep my opinions of this city to myself for the most part, because like in life, not everyone feels the same. And who am I to talk smack about somewhere someone has dreamed of living or thinks is the best city in the world? I’m not here to taint anyone’s views on Vancouver, nor do I believe that anyone feels exactly the same as I do about this place. This is just something that's been weighing on my mind lately, and what better way to let that out than here. So let’s back track a little... before July 2015 I had visited Vancouver a total of 3 times (a combined 10, maybe 12 days total). The first time, was my first trip on a plane (seriously) back in 2010 and the first time I had gone anywhere alone. I took the bus from Kelowna, where I was visiting family, down to the big city & even stayed in a hostel for the first time. I explored alone, and I soaked it all in, then fell in love. Then a few months later I moved from Montreal to Alberta working for a luxury resort chain which offered amazing discounts and I found myself back in this city for a week with my best gal pal at the time. We wined & dined ourselves, shopped ‘til we dropped & stayed at 2 of the 3 properties in the chain in Vancouver. Then came the winter of 2014, post horrendous break up, pre-Costa Rica + New Zealand adventures myself + a friend took a road trip once again from Jasper to Vancouver for a long weekend doing much of the same wining, dining & treating ourselves during the short trip, both coming to the conclusion (if I hadn’t already) that I would one day call Vancouver home. Then I was gone, from Vancouver, from Canada, and from any thoughts of where I was going to live. I fell in love with life again in Costa Rica, and took that feeling all the way over to New Zealand for a year, where I kept it going and found a place that truly felt like home to me. And then, as it often does for a lot of travelers like myself, my visa timed out and I had to leave. Where was I going to go? I was devastated to even have to consider it, but seeing as I didn’t want to get deported , I had no choice. So on what can be best described as a whim, I booked a flight. A one way flight..to Vancouver (after I went back to Montreal to visit my family of course) a place I had always “dreamed” of living.
So just as quickly as I was back from New Zealand trying to nurse my broken soul by finding a new adventure in my own country (for once) I was packed up and headed to the West Coast. I had this picture in my head of what my life was going to be like when I got here. I would find a job I loved in hospitality (preferably back in hotels) I would have a cool place to live, maybe even a cool roommate, mild winters (compared to those of -40c Montreal & Jasper) and I would have this awesome life I heard so much about from people who had lived here & from what I had experienced on my previous trips. And to be fair that was probably my fist & my biggest mistake! I try to live my life without having too high of expectations from things (or people, but that’s another story am I right) so I can enjoy them the best I can. I try to take peoples opinions with a grain of salt because like I said before everyone is different & feels differently about things. But man, Vancouver really did me in. I struggled right from the get go. Struggled to find a job, struggled to try to get interviewers to understand the overseas work I’d done (aka the “why did you leave Canada” question came up regularly), struggled to find a place that wouldn’t have me living in a crawl space that not even dear Harry Potter would have approved of for $1000/month. Then I did find a job, what I thought was my dream job..until I realized I had a heart & sales just weren’t my jam. Then I thought I found a dream place to live, except it was with 2 roommates from hell. So I did what I do best, got proactive and changed it all up.
Fast forward 16 months later and while things job/house wise have settled down (thankfully now I have one of each that are fantastic & I really enjoy which I’m so thankful for) there’s something missing. There’s a serious lack of connection for me here. There isn’t anyone I’ve met through my months of living here that I can truly say has my back. It didn’t take me long to feel the sheer unfriendliness of the city, and after being the “new kid” in so many place (including foreign countries) it began taking it’s toll. You can only be on your own so much before it all starts to feel like too much. To know that there isn’t another soul in a sea of over 600k other souls looking out for you is incredibly disheartening. That’s where my biggest struggle has been so far in Vancouver. The one barrier I can’t seem to break through no matter how I hard I’ve tried, and so basically I’ve stopped trying. I’ve counted on the friends & family I have back in Montreal, the friends I have scattered all over the World for being there for me. But this is truly the one and only time I have ever felt any kind of home sickness. And while I may not be in love with the idea of living in Montreal, it’s more so the people and the feeling of “home” I’ve been sick for this last year. I’ve lived on different continents not knowing a single person and felt more at “home” than I ever have here. And yes, the views are pretty, yes I do love the mountain views from pretty much anywhere, but does the 3 months (IF THAT) of those views make up for the other 9 where you’re barred from going outside without full on rain gear with no hopes of even a glimpse of a mountain? For me, it doesn’t. Does it keep me from trying to enjoy what I can here? No, it doesn’t. You’ll still find me on a trail or up a mountain as much as I can because that is the only time I don’t find myself aching to be somewhere else. You’ll rarely find me talking about my love for this city, and the only real time I seem to have good things to say is when I’m getting out of the city. When I’m on a trail somewhere, or exploring some new hike. That’s when I appreciate Vancouver. When I’m not doing those thing, the only thing I can appreciate is what this city has taught me. And that is that not everything you think is meant to be. I thought I would live in Vancouver when I first saw the skyline back in 2010. Now 7 years later I know full & well that is not what is meant for me and that’s okay.
So, to answer everyone who keeps bring it up in somewhere or another or who is silently questioning this whole post- No, not even the views can change how my soul feels here.