My father was a traveler. While I was growing up he moved us back and forth across the country. By the time I left high school I had lived in eleven different houses and gone to nine different schools. It seemed hard at the time, but now I feel lucky to have grown up that way.
Like him, I kept moving. I worked at different jobs that didn’t last very long: logging in Ontario; fishing for salmon off the west coast; picking daffodils at Easter; inflating balloons and setting up skittles at a traveling carnival; clearing streams in the Rockies; fighting forest fires on Vancouver Island. Then I studied journalism in Vancouver and went to work at small-town papers in northern B.C.
I worked my way west to the Prince Rupert Daily News, where I meant to live for a year and a day. But I loved the north coast, and stayed for almost twenty years. I bought a sailboat and traveled up and down the coast from Alaska to Vancouver Island.
Fifteen years ago I moved once more, south five hundred miles to Gabriola Island, a little kidney-shaped world in the Salish Sea. It’s not quite ten miles long, and a little less than three miles wide. But even here I’ve managed to keep moving. Now in my third island home, I’m happy to stay here a while.