Moving to Canada – it’s all getting a bit real now!

Sunlight shining through forest trees

‘Fuck it, that’s it! Let’s go to Canada!’

It was a flippant remark borne out of anger, upset and frustration and one I made on the morning of the 24th June 2016 (I’m not that great at remembering dates, honestly – it was the husband’s birthday) following the news that the country I had lived in for 17 years was not the country I once thought it was. I’d honestly never felt more like a foreigner on home soil in my life – a feeling I am fairly close to since I’ve always been ‘the foreign one’ in all my social circles.

And now, here we are, a little over 2 years later and I’ve just dropped Stu off at the airport as he embarks on the long journey to Vancouver, BC, to get set up in our new home in a town called Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley. In just under 3 weeks I’ll be following him.

It doesn’t seem quite real yet.

Vancouver skyline from Stanley Island

To answer the multitude of questions we’ve had from people…

  1. Yes, I’m terrified. And yes, I’m extremely excited too. Stu asked last night if I had any doubts. The answer is it’d be too bloody late now if I did. But I really don’t. As sad as I will be to say final goodbyes to some amazing friends I have made in the last 20 years here in Essex, I know the strongest friendships will survive whatever distance is between us. That’s a not-so-subtle nudge to those people, they know who they are, to stay the fuck in touch!
  2. Yes, we are taking our cats, Lewie and Lola with us. There was never any question about that. In fact, before we even seriously considered moving, the first thing we researched was how to take the little fluff monsters with us.
  3. Stu has a job, which is what has largely facilitated us getting a visa in the first place. He is going to be teaching student paramedics at the Justice Institute in Chilliwack. I, on the other hand, will not be continuing the paramedic life. I’m using this move as my leap into a totally freelance lifestyle and I can’t flippin’ wait. More on this in a mo…  
  4. Why Canada? Well, why not? Truthfully, I couldn’t give you a specific reason but some of the ones we’ve come up with along the way are:
  • We like their politics. They actually have ministers who have worked in the fields they now manage. How’s that for a unique idea!
  • The liberal lifestyle appeals to the lefty in me and there’s a huge creative scene that obviously attracts a gal like me.
  • The scenery, wide-open spaces, the outdoors lifestyle… I cannot wait! Although I am still a little freaked out about bears.
  • The rurality of it all – seriously, BC is 4 times the size of the UK and has an entire population less than London. The town we are moving to is the 7th largest in the country and has a population of around 80,000.
  • And, well, Canadians are just plain nice! I am tired of cynicism, selfishness and just plain mean people. I want to be somewhere where people actually give a shit about each other. Although I may have to introduce a little sarcasm to the province.

In absolute honesty, if I knew back in 2016 just how many hoops we would have to jump through, the overall cost and the stress that emigrating brings, I may have had second thoughts about the whole idea. It has been one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do (and truthfully, I didn’t even have to do that much of it – thanks again, Stu!). The small print, the immigration website, the waiting for a decision with wrangled hands – let’s just say it’s no picnic. People keep telling me it’ll all be worth it in the end, and I’m sure they’re right. But I’ll review this in a few months and let you know for definite!

Lighthouse on Stanley Island

So yeah, as I mentioned, I am going full time self-employed as of now. I’ve been busily working behind the scenes to create this new fandangled website which will showcase both my photography and (new) copywriting businesses and this here is my first new post to say hi! If you venture back you’ll find posts you’ll recognise from the old site, I’ve been slowly transferring them across. There’s still work to be done on here but I guess I’m going with the same premise that we used for Canada. If I start shouting about it now and telling you all it’s going to be done, I’ll just have to bloody well get on and do it, right? What do they call that? Making myself accountable? Yeah, that.

I’m also planning to keep a ‘first 100 days’ journal of this big new adventure. Don’t worry, I won’t be posting all that here, but I’ll definitely grace you with some highlights every now and again.

Cyclist riding past on Vancouver street

For those who have followed me over the last six years, please do stick around. Just because I’m moving 4686 miles away, doesn’t mean I won’t be back to the UK often. Part of the new lifestyle I want is to be able to continue to keep coming back to the UK and Europe while still working, so keep watching. Travel dates will be announced as soon as plans are underway.

For those that are just discovering me, it’s lovely to finally meet you. I hope you enjoy jumping in at the start of this exciting new chapter with me and my little family and I hope our paths will cross in the very near future.