Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hello, Nice to Meet You, I'm From Away

Queen of Capilano arriving in Deep Bay, Bowen Island, BC
One of the first things we learned when we came to Prince Edward Island is the expression "From Away".  As in, you're not from the PEI, but from some other place.  This made sense to me.  I consider myself to be from British Columbia.  I was born there, I lived there for 33 years.  You can't erase history and BC will always be a large part of my history and who I am as a person.

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.


  1. How wonderful to have lived on islands on both sides of the country. Both stunningly beautiful. Your a lucky woman.

  2. I'm just visiting your blog for the first time and wondering how I've missed it up until now! Mainers use the phrase "from away," too. So, although I've lived in Maine for almost 30 years and think of myself as a Mainer, I'm still from away.

    Your exchanging islands on one coast for an island on the other makes complete sense to me. The first time I rode a ferry through the Straits of Juan de Fuca, headed to the San Juan Islands, it reminded me very much of the islands that dot the coast of Maine.

    I'll look forward to regular visits to your blog. -Jean

  3. I am claiming you as a native BC'r. Welcome home, so glad to find your blog.

    What a wonderful treat to have lived in both ends of one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

    We have PEI on our list, as one of the places we want to visit as soon as possible. Can't wait to see it's beauty.

    Welcome to Blotanical.


  4. Those are both beautiful parts of the world, and I can see why you would love living on an island. You are lucky to have had the freedom to choose where you would live. I've always been in love with PEI, though I've never been. LOL. We can thank the Anne of Green Gables series for that. I imagine it as one of the most idyllic locations on Earth.

    P.S. We have "foreigners by choice" here in Florida as well. We call them "yankees" or "snowbirds" or "Canadians."

  5. Linked to this post from yours of great! Music lovely.

    We have some history together)). I also now live on an island here in Nova Scotia..very small..ten full time families. So great to have found your blog.