The Decision

In October 2011, FM and I headed to Victoria for a get-away – a birthday re-do weekend, since the attempt to celebrate my 40th year had been plagued with sickness.  We stayed at the beautiful Inn at Laurel Point and spent the weekend sampling fabulous brews from local brewers, strolling through farmers’ markets, putzing around shops and indulging in the early chill of looming winter.  At one restaurant, we discussed the laid-back, charming atmosphere of the island and wondered aloud what it would take to relocate here.  Refreshed from four days of paradise, we headed back to the mainland rat race with that thought at the forefront of our minds.

Once back at work that week, FM had a look at job postings on the island and there – right there – was a job posting which described him and his qualifications to the letter.  He came home bursting with the news of this job prospect.  It seemed positively eerie that a fitting job was waiting in the wings like this.   The more we discussed it and analysed the job description, the more we felt that he would be a shoe-in if he submitted an application.  We knew that we had to think through all the possibilities carefully because once this ball started rolling, its momentum would carry us far.

And so the questions begin.  Where exactly is Courtenay/Comox?  How is it that we have never ventured to this seaside town?  What is with this double-barreled name?   As we brainstormed, we realised that we already knew 3 couples who had moved there over the years.  We were familiar with the local ski hill, Mt. Washington, having snowshoe raced there a few times, but we had always stayed in Cumberland, which is closer to the highway.  We learned that it is in the rainshadow of Mt. Washington, giving it a dryer, warmer and milder climate than the Lower Mainland, despite being on the 50th parallel.

The idea weighed heavily on our minds and dominated our conversations for a few weeks.  The job posting remained open.  We talked about my job and what it would mean to start all over in a new school district.  We looked up maps of running, biking and hiking trails in the nearby area.  We researched farm markets, CSA farms and CSF boats to see who could provide us with fruit, vegetables and fish in the high season.

In mid-November, we went to a presentation called FEAT (Fascinating Expedition and Adventure Talks) where a few ultrarunning friends were speaking about their latest adventures.  But surprisingly, the speaker who caught our attention was Philip McKernan, a motivational speaker who spoke about overcoming obstacles in order to achieve dreams.  His speech was geared towards athletic pursuits but both FM and I applied his theory to our current state of indecision about this looming job application.  That evening, we talked about how easy it would be to stay on the path that we have been on, living a mediocre life in the city.  Philip had likened it to looking out a window, seeing what is possible but deciding instead to pull the covers up and stay the predictable course.

With that thought, we decided to take this risk, throw off those covers and jump into this opportunity.  FM submitted his application and, within 2 working days, his new employer made contact, set up phone interviews and eventually flew him to the job site to see if it met his approval.  We got the ball rolling and started an avalanche into a completely new life focus.

Although our decision to make the rural move seemed to happen quickly, we spent 4 weeks closely analysing this particular opportunity and close to 20 years waiting for the stars to align.  If you ask me, it has been a long time coming.

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