I’ve been in BC for ten days, house-hunting on the Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island. So far, the plan I set out a year ago — to summer on the BC coast or gulf islands, and to ‘winter’ in Australia or NZ — is still on track. I’m thinking about what it will be like to live alone for only the third time in my life, and for the first time in thirty years.
I’m still sticking to the set of criteria I outlined back in March. My dream then, as regular readers probably know, was to live simply in an open space structure in the summer in each hemisphere, near forest and ocean, where heating and air conditioning (at least during the months I’m there) are unnecessary, in a peaceful, uncrowded and progressive location, with good Internet access, doing the reconnecting, activism facilitation, and reflecting activities I set out for my ‘retirement from paid work’.
But where? I’ve identified the following criteria:
- A place warm enough not to need heating.
- A physically beautiful, natural setting and house in or near forests and beaches.
- Peaceful and private.
- Not overcrowded.
- Reasonably sustainable when the economy and culture collapse.
- Good public transit, bike and walking lanes and trails.
- Good local organic food store.
- A place where the people nearby have a high sense of well-being, by their own standards, and ideally are progressive in their thinking.
- Connectivity: not too remote for visitors to access, and with high-speed Internet available.
I actually found two places that meet all these criteria, one in Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast (map), and the other on Bowen Island, and finally decided on a one-year lease on the latter.
My new home is on a hilltop with vast and amazing views of the ocean on two sides, right beside a park. Bowen has a temperate rainforest climate, so I’m surrounded by immense evergreens. The road my house is on was built specifically for the park and has no street sign, and I have only one neighbour, much further along this road, invisible from where I am. It is astonishingly quiet, lush, and beautiful. The house has huge windows all around, so there is no need for ornamentation — my home is this forested hilltop.
The house is quite a bit bigger than what I thought I would want, but it’s good to have a couple of guest rooms for visitors, and even sparsely decorated every room looks complete, magnificent. The local bus, which runs 1km from the house, hooks up to the ferry, which is 20 minutes to the lower mainland (West Vancouver), so the trip to the Vancouver train station (I plan to take more trains and few planes from now on, since with retirement from paid work I now have my time back) or airport when necessary, is not onerous, and does not require the use of a car. Since it is 6.5km to the ferry (where all the stores and activities are) I’m thinking of getting an electric bicycle to serve as an alternative to the bus.
I’ve already attended one ‘community’ event organized by Chris Corrigan, and in the process met thirty of the island’s most active members, and really started to become part of the community. The local organic food store, craft shops and wellness services are excellent, and, in the summer months, there is an organic restaurant five minutes’ walk from my door.
So I’m delighted: My plans to move forward with my life and to start working more attentively and intentionally on my own reconnection with all-life-on-Earth, and to create models of a better way to live and be active trying to undermine the most destructive aspects of industrial growth society, are beginning to happen. Stay tuned.