Our small family currently lives in the Metro Vancouver area in Canada. I’ve lived here since 1976 when I was only 6 years old. I loved growing up here. The whole region was just over 1 million people at the time so for me it was never a small town but it felt safe and easy to get around. The access to outdoor adventures in the North Shore mountains and beyond was unparalleled and the winter climate is much more mild than the vast majority of the rest of Canada. It does come by the nickname ‘Rain City’ and the ‘Wet Coast’ quite honestly though.
Today Vancouver is 2.5 million strong and the vibe has changed. For Mrs. Freedom and I it has become too busy, too big, and too difficult to get around. It doesn’t feel as safe as it once did. We no longer visit the mountains as before as the trade off of battling traffic to get there makes it less attractive and there’s often little solitude to be found in the North Shore forests. To add to this, the cost of living has gone through the roof in large part due to the explosion of real estate prices. In short, I once thought I would never live anywhere else and now I find myself longing to live almost anywhere smaller, slower, and quieter. Mrs. Freedom is on the same page – in fact, she’s even more eager than I.
When you live in one place for 40 years you tend to put down roots so there’s challenges to making this a reality. I was an only child and my mother is 71 and having raised me as a single parent it was just her and I growing up. I think it’s hard for either of us to imagine living in different cities from each other. There’s also the possibility that she will end up needing more support in the future and living further apart would complicate that.
I’ve been fortunate to maintain a close knit group of friends from our grade school years. The longest one is starting from grade 2 and the others are from our early teens. We are five strong and occasionally get together for boys nights and go on a four day cabin retreat annually to act silly, laugh uncontrollably and ingest way too many burgers and libations.
I’ve been employed at the same university for 19 years and have worked my way into a decent paying and stable position in the IT department which although far from my passion is a decent way to make a living if you’re okay with the notion of trading time for money. Having some colleagues that I’m happy to call my friends make the days more enjoyable.
Vancouver is situated in the province of British Columbia and despite my obvious bias I still feel it’s one of the most rugged, beautiful places I’ve ever seen in the world. The raw beauty is often breathtaking and the combination of ocean, mountains, rivers, lakes, and rain forest feels like home to me. Of all the places Mrs Freedom and I have discussed living we’ve never seriously entertained the idea of anywhere outside BC. It’s also a dream for motorcycle exploration which is a passion of mine. Whether it’s the winding mountain highways or the labyrinth of back country logging roads there is literally more than you could explore in a lifetime here to see.