|Queen of Capilano arriving in Deep Bay, Bowen Island, BC|
In recent years PEI has had a large influx of people 'From Away'. Low priced real estate, community, and lifestyle are all reasons people might choose to live here. Some of these people have taken to defining themselves in a new way. They have chosen to be called IBC's or Islanders By Choice. I can identify with this as well. I chose to leave my home and create a new one. I hope to be accepted as a part of my new community and live here for many years. I am here, most definitely, by choice.
However, if I was asked to identify myself I don't know that I would choose either title. Rather I see myself as just an Islander. Throughout my life I have lived on islands. The BC coastline is dotted with islands. The largest of these is Vancouver Island. It is so large that the provincial capital of Victoria is located there. I attended college in the island's second largest city of Nanaimo. Off of Vancouver Island's shores many small islands cling to the coastline. One of these is the gulf island of Gabriola. I lived on Gabriola for many years and to this day consider it home. Several moves later, I once again settled on another island, named Bowen. It was while living there that I realized that city life was not my preference but the quiet existance of a small rural community felt most like home to me. The latest move to Prince Edward Island, while it was approximately 5000 kilometres away, felt like the right thing to do. When people question what would possess us to go so far away from home I tell them "it's just another island". Islanders have a way about them. Maybe it's because you're isolated from the rest of the world by water and you need to depend on each other. Maybe it's the quietness. Perhaps the the isolation attracts a certain type of person. Whatever the bond, once an islander, always an islander.