July 21st, nearly 7 years to the day that I moved to Hawaii, I packed up 7 boxes, and three bags, gave the boxes to UPS and took the bags onto a Northwest flight.
Note that when I arrived in Hawaii I had two 7x4x4 crates follow me, shipped as a partial container load. Since rent went up atrociously in the last three years, and I have moved to smaller and smaller surroundings, I have divested myself of nearly all of my belongings.
In the morning of the 22nd we landed at Seattle International, and after a two hour wait, I boarded a turboprop for a 1 hour flight to YVR Vancouver, BC, Canada. A quick jaunt through customs and I was officially traveling in a foreign country, w00t!
Changed my money (which on the 22nd a US Dollar was worth less than a Canadian Dollar). In Canada it is common to see US as well as Canadian coins (they are pretty much interchangeable, at least in BC).
YVR is a great airport, including an A&W with a special on burgers that I couldn’t resist, as well as free wifi throughout. I got on the local bus, made a transfer, and then walked six blocks to the hostel in the West End of Vancouver. Basically in the center of a real city.
Stayed there for a week, then a week in Jericho Beach (between UBC and Kitsilano). After that I got on the ferry over to Victoria on Vancouver Island and have been here for nearly a week. I’ve been staying in hostels which are $20-30 night and have free wifi and kitchens.
Victoria is neat, with a lot of great architecture and cultural elements, and tasty vittles. I look forward to exploring more of Vancouver Island which is basically three times the size as the big island and has a lot of wildlife (bears and cougars, check). About 700,000+ population with half of it in Victoria.
I’ve been able to continue working and communicating online throughout my travels and stays in various places. Lots of cafes here as well. There are many things here that I missed in California (and Colorado) before moving to Hawaii. I am enjoying experiencing them again, such as the cafe culture, excellent used bookstores, and food options that extend beyond “local” and asian. I also feel very safe here in Canada, wherever I have been. Safer than in Hawaii and in the bay area of California.
I found a furnished room in a small house that I will be staying in (have been in hostels for the past three weeks). Rent will be $460 for everything (electricity, internet), so that is an upgrade from Hale Manoa at the East-West center. It isn’t perfect (ideally I want my own little cottage or something like that) it is very flexible and inexpensive and close to everything, so that is good.
One drawback I have encountered in my travel is that I re-injured my knee and have been hobbled a bit, but that is starting to heal up. Before that happened I was walking all over Vancouver downtown and Stanley Park, which is really awesome. I will get my seven boxes from Seattle soon and then get a bicycle, and I will be gearing up to work on the dissertation and teach online in the fall. My summer online class has one more week, so I have been busy with that.
It has been good for me to get out of my comfort zone, meet new people and explore new places. What I have seen of BC is really beautiful. Great weather, and the people are all nice, and I feel safe here. Victoria is awesome with the old colonial architecture and the neo-hippy scene. It is a cafe and used bookstore culture here, as well as very outdoors and active-oriented (everyone walks and lots of bicycles everywhere).
I’m trying not to fall in love with this place, but it is difficult. Check out my flickr photostream for various goodies.