I have to learned to never say “never.” Not ever.
I didn’t always know this so well. You used to find me saying “I’d never do this,” or “never try that.” I think of that version of myself as a bit of a prude to be honest. This past year I have said yes to more things than I could have ever imagined I would, and you know how it feels?
When I first moved to Vancouver, I was influenced by a lot of things; not knowing the city, a limited friend circle, and new to being completely on my own. I relied on my minimal sources to provide information and insights for the choices that I made.
They were awesome, don’t get me wrong, but every experience brings you to a new level of understanding, and after over a year in this city I finally feel like I have a grasp on what I love.
I had always said “I will never move to north van. It’s soooo farrrrrr.” An opinion that in fact never really came from me, but was input through all of my good pals who lived in Kits, Mount Pleasant and South Granville (hipster hoods to say the least.) I love that they love their neighbourhoods, but I don’t love that I can be so easily influenced. As I’ve learned about the city, and more importantly about myself this year, I’ve learned I am indeed a small town girl.
So after moving around three times in the so-called ‘ideal hoods’ south of the bridge, when I received a notice from my landlord advising we had 60 days to vacate due to the sale of our building, I opted for a life change.
Across the big green bridge, north of Stanley Park, lies an epic place. It’s where families lay low and hot boys who like to ride bikes and have adventures reside.
Not that that swayed me at all. I found solitude in a peaceful neighbourhood apartment in a purple house in lower lonsdale, and every time I walk inside I’m sure this was the right decision.
Sure, the commute to kits is less than ideal, and makes for planning travel time a complete unpredictable factor (anyone want to carpool?) But this place is one hundred percent worth the sometimes overcrowded bridge line up. Let’s lay it out there.
Why North Vancouver for the win?
Within a ten minute car ride I can be hiking the wide spread trails of Lynn Valley Headwaters, have my choices in walking across either suspension bridge, be fishing at Rice Lake, biking down Mount Seymour, and if I venture just a teeny bit further exploring Cypress Falls and Cypress Mountain.
For a girl who would consider building a tree fort as a permanent residence, North Van is a dreamworld of trails, greenery and wilderness exploration. On Monday night, my roommate and I ventured off onto the pitch black snowy trails of Mount Seymour with nothing but a dim light to guide our way, in search of a vantage point where we could start a small fire.
Drinking wine out of mason jars overlooking our sweet city, my heart was full.
And even in the pouring rain, the trees and their magic hold cover, protecting you from the torrential downpour that sometimes sweeps over the shore. From mid mountain vistas to wicked waterfalls 10kms in, Lynn Valley Headwaters hosts my day dreams more often than not.
When I need my fix of water and the serenity of stillness, Rice Lake’s solitude is by far my favourite place in North Vancouver. I can rip around it’s trails for a sunset run, or cast a rod into it’s waters and sit enjoying the peace and quiet as I stare out onto the the mountain’s beautiful shadows that are cast on the lake as the sun goes down.
Ah yes, this place is my home. For now anyways. With everything I do in life, I find it appropriate to honour the season that the particular experience lives in. Right now, North Vancouver is my jam, so I will make the most of every moment I have to explore and find reasons to let it sing to my soul. Despite the low light of winter, I will still get lost on the mountain with a flashlight, or stroll through the quiet streets as families sit inside eating warm meals.
On Sunday’s you can find me down in Lonsdale Quay, grabbing my groceries and fresh veggies for the week’s meals and admiring the sunset behind the high rises of Gastown across the way. I love the buzzing energy of Vancouver, but I love being at a distance. The air feels clearer here and being close to the trees is where I feel most at home. The mountains are the ingredient to my utmost best life, and I love going to sleep every night knowing that they are standing in peaceful boldness right beside my bed.