Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Lifestyle Choices

I have been thinking lately about lifestyles and particularly the type of lifestyle I want to lead. I recently discovered the show Men in Trees and became even more intrigued when I learned that the show is filmed in Squamish, BC. A few months ago Chris and I came across our dream home located just outside of Squamish while daydreaming over mls.ca. It was a cozy white cottage, big yard, wide verandah and mountain views. The type of place that bordered on rundown, but we could see the potential. A coat of paint and some of ChrisÂ’s handyman skills would have made dramatic improvments.

For about a millisecond we entertained the idea of not moving to Vancouver but instead to Squamish or some other little mountain town. A place where culture is conversation at the local with the barflies.

So lately I have been wondering what type of life I want to lead. Do I need all those Starbuck's coffees, fluorescent lit bookstores filled with glossy best sellers, a wide variety of ethnic restaurants, stadium seating movie theatres and shopping malls filled with all the latest fashions. There was a time in my life when as a newly graduated professional I couldn’t imagine any other way of life. But in recent years my perspective has dramatically shifted.

Many city dwellers live for the weekend when they can jet off into the mountains for a few days of clean aired serenity. But what if that were your life? The city would always be there for a weekend binge of hustle, bustle and culture.

I have been thinking back on our time spent living in Fernie. Likely because Elmo certainly has that Fernie feel. Rugged men walking about in flannel jackets. Train tracks running through town along the main road. And of course 360 degree views of stunning mountains.

What shocked me the most is that while living in Fernie it didn’t take me that long to become accustomed to small town life. The coffee shops were cozy and stocked with delicious blends of fair trade beans. The library provided ample reading material and when in need there was also delivery by Amazon. The local theatre only had two screens but the Tuesday nights were cheap and the popcorn perfectly buttered. The restaurant options weren’t lacking either. The omelet I have ever eaten was the light fluffy concoction I sampled at the Blue Toque.

So it would seem that small town life is where I would like to head. The only thing lacking is a fulfilling career. The two local female characters in Men in Trees are a barmaid and a ‘hospitality’ worker (the subtle way of making the town prostitute into a more quirky lovable character a la Pretty Woman). The star is a self-help writer who has the flexibility to work in her cozy room in the inn. So unless I magically become a best selling author in the next year I am really not sure what career options are held for me in a small town. Of course Chris with his marketable electrician skills can relocate anywhere and find himself satisfied with the work prospects.

So while I can dream I don’t think small town living is anywhere in my immediate future. At least not until the pesky student loans are a thing of the past.

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