Friday, 13 November 2015

Your Backyard is Beautiful

(Ferry Ride - Vancouver to Victoria)

Someone's going to say I'm cheating since I've recently moved and my backyard is new and therefore more exciting...but just hear me out, okay?

My iPhone is only about six months old and it's already out of space. I have next to no apps, and I only have about 10 songs on there. It's out of space because it's full of photos. The other day I decided to go through them... delete what I don't need, and move whatever I deem precious memories to my laptop. While going through my over 1,600 photos, I smiled, I laughed, I had my eyes fill with tears, and I realized how much I've jammed into the last six months and how fortunate I am. I needed that; I needed that kick in the pants, that reminder that life is (so) good and we need to get out there and enjoy every second of it.

What I also noticed during my walk down memory lane, is that I have seen and done so many amazing new things in the last couple months...probably triple what I did the entire two years I lived in Ottawa. Yes, BC is totally new to me; it's a place I have always wanted to visit, but until two months ago, never had. So it makes sense that my phone is full of beautiful photos of the amazing things I have seen and done here so far; but what I started to wonder is, why didn't I have this many photos of the things I had seen and done in Ottawa? I quickly opened my laptop to the folder of photos from my old iPhone, scrolling until I found evidence of my first few weeks in Ottawa. Again, I smiled, I laughed, and I had my eyes fill with tears; but this time for very different reasons. The photos were all of me and my enjoying a beer on a patio, us eating an Italian deli sandwich in the Market, or us cuddled up on an apartment floor after too many glasses of wine. Those first few months in Ottawa were some of the best months of my life, simply because they were spent surrounded by people that I love. But what I realized is, although Ottawa was brand new to me, I didn't treat it the way I am treating BC.

(Hatley Castle - Royal Roads University Campus) 

During my first week at work here in Victoria, I asked my coworkers to give me a list of things to see and do in town. I told them to give me the same suggestions they would give to a tourist while I noted that I was even considering the hop-on hop-off tour bus. With each person I asked and with each time a new "local" discovered that we were new to town, the list grew. It's been three months since we arrived in Victoria, and from my iPhone full of photos, I can tell you that we're quickly checking things off that list. We've been to the downtown harbour, we've seen the parliament buildings and the oldest hotel in town, we've done a tour of one of the most famous castles on the island, we've been to see the floating homes and fed the seals, we've window shopped in each different neighbourhood, we've hiked countless trails up to the summit of (small) mountains and through some of the island's oldest forests, and we still have so much more to see and do.

(Fisherman's Wharf - Downtown Victoria) 

What I'm getting at here, is that I think we too quickly become "residents" in the cities and towns that we live in and we forget to take notice of all the great "touristy" things our own beautiful backyards have to offer. Don't get me wrong, when I think travel or adventure I think of an international destination - somewhere totally new and different from wherever I call home. But back in Ottawa, when my friends were busy on my days off or we didn't have enough time or money to jet off to somewhere exotic, I would become discouraged - believing I was destined to a boring, adventure-less life - and wind up binge-watching reruns on Netflix from my bed. When in reality, there was lots that my own city - my own backyard - had to offer that I hadn't seen or done yet.

So next time you find yourself wishing you could getaway for the weekend or that you had enough time or money to hop on a plane to somewhere new, try hopping on the internet and finding out what your backyard has to offer! Or better yet, blindly hop on the bus and hop off somewhere you've never been. I guarantee you that you'll find beauty (and adventure!) that you never knew existed...all in your own backyard.

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