It’s Saturday morning. The sun is out today and it’s probably the most beautiful day in Vancouver I’ve had so far. It’s true what people had told me. The city is completely different when it’s sunny weather. Last night I had dinner with friends and we went out for drinks until late and so they offered me to sleep on their couch. We had a great time and this morning a lovely breakfast together before we said goodbye.
My new friend here is called Ward. He’s Dutch like me and he has a Canadian girlfriend called Anna. We met on the bus to America a couple of weeks ago and planned back then to have dinner together sometime and make a typical Dutch meal. I’m glad I met them, they are very kind, likeminded and inspiring people. I told them that they’ll make it harder to leave Vancouver soon. This morning as I’m walking from their place near Commercial Street (which by the way is a high recommendation if you visit Vancouver) back to downtown, I’m thinking more about my choice to back home sooner. Now that it’s a bright day, the city looks better than ever and I can see why people like to so much to live here. The mountains surrounding the city are finally visible and giving a great view when you walk on the streets in downtown. It’s so pleasant outside that I don’t even have to wear a jacket. Did I make the right choice or should I have given it more time?
Fortunately I know the answer to that question. Vancouver is a beautiful city and it’s lovely to live right by the ocean and the mountains. I think that’s quite unique. Having that said, Vancouver is also a very expensive city. Simple things like groceries are much more expensive here. And it’s a fact that there’ll be many gray days here in the months to come. I’ve realized again that I’m quite sensitive to the weather. I have so much more energy on a bright sunny day than on those gray days. The goal of this journey was to discover how it would be to live in a different country and if I could actually do it. I now know that I could live here. I’ve made a few new friends, see opportunities for work and know the city quite well. I could live in Vancouver, but decided for now that I don’t want to live in a place where it rains so much, where it takes me about an hour to get anywhere and where the cost of living is quite a bit higher. Now that I got to know a handful of very nice people it’ll be harder to leave again, but around Christmas I decided that I want to focus more on my business in the coming time and I think that’ll be easier at home in the Netherlands and being in the same timezone as most of my clients.
Decisions like these aren’t easy. I’m thankful that I have so much freedom that I could live practically anywhere in the world, though when you have so much choice it can also be challenging. How do you decide where you’re gonna live and what you want to do with your life?
In the first place I think you need a place that feels like home and as long if you can find some close friends or family nearby, that could be anywhere. Then you’ll need a place that’s affordable and depending on your job, that choice might be a bit more limited. Finally the environment is also very important of course. Based on your interests you want to have for example nature or a gym or a local pub nearby. I think those factors among others are determinative for you choice of where you want to live. Vancouver has a perfect environment nature wise and I’ve found some friends here, but the weather and cost of living are the deciding factor for me to go home for now.
I have one more week in Vancouver. At Sunday morning I go for a beautiful run at the seawall at Stanley Park. I feel so alive and energised and I enjoy every moment of it. In the afternoon my friend Robin from the Netherlands arrives. When I had told him in October about my plans for Vancouver he immediately said that he’d visit me for a week and booked a ticket right away. Today when I walk into my Airbnb he’s sitting in chair in the living room, laughing at me. It’s fun to see him again and I laugh even more when I see the car he rented for this week, a big brand new Toyota pick-up truck. We drive to the coast, to Lighthouse Park and go for a short hike. Having a car makes it easier to go somewhere, but traffic in Vancouver is crazy busy. We have a good time catching up and listening music. In the evening we go to a nice pizza place and make plans for the coming days. On Monday we’ll take the ferry to Vancouver island and discover the island for two days.