November 19, 2018

'The Joy Of Sox' Moves West

This afternoon, we begin a nine-day drive across Canada -- nearly 5,000 kilometers (roughly 3,100 miles) -- that will bring us to our new home in Port Hardy, a small town at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

We have been considering a western move for at least a year. We were on the island for 10 days last April, driving around with Laura's brother and his wife*, getting a feel for various towns. We spent our time in the southern, far more populated, half of the island, going only as far north as Nanaimo.

*: M&M retired and moved from New Jersey to southern Oregon to be closer to their three adult children, who have all settled on the west coast. And Laura's mother, in anticipation of becoming a great-grandmother, also moved to Oregon. With high rents in Vancouver and a strong desire to escape suburban life altogether, we thought Vancouver Island would be a possibility.

In September, Laura saw an opening for a librarian in Port Hardy. When we looked at a map to see where that was, we were extremely surprised.

The town is approximately four hours north of Nanaimo! Because BC allows landlords to refuse to rent to pet owners (a fact we did not know in April), we had almost no housing options in Port Hardy. And so ... we signed a lease before Laura had even interviewed for the job! It was a gamble, but she got the job!

Having worked for law firms in New York and Toronto for nearly thirty years, I was more than a little concerned about what I would do for work in a town of only 4,132 people (as of the 2016 census). I'll spare you the play-by-play and simply say that I will continue working for my current employer remotely, full-time, from home.

We had roughly three weeks to get completely ready. The two moving quotes we received were far higher than we expected, so we are transporting our stuff ourselves, with Laura's brother behind the wheel of a 26-foot U-Haul. When he and his wife moved to Oregon, he drove across the US three times - and he's very excited to drive across Canada. We are hiring moving crews at both ends because, as they say in the movies, "I'm getting too old for this shit".

It has been a hectic three weeks, especially since I spent one of them in Vermont seeing family and friends. And I learned last Monday that for six months out of the year, snow tires are legally required on many roads in BC and VI, so buying snow tires to our lengthy to-do list.

I mapped out a reasonable driving schedule and Laura reserved rooms at dog-friendly motels along the way, as we will be Driving Mr. Diego. We expect - weather (and all other things) permitting - to be in Port Hardy on the evening of Tuesday, November 27. We will get slightly settled before Laura heads off on Monday, December 3 for some training. My first day of working remotely is Tuesday, December 4.

After renting houses in Mississauga for 10 years, going back to an apartment three years ago was tough. I missed having a backyard much more than I expected. I'm thrilled to once again have that outdoor space - and to enjoy it in much cooler weather. To say we hate the heat of summer would be a massive understatement.

I looked at the summer of 2018 in both Mississauga and Port Hardy. As early as May 1, it was already 4 degrees warmer in Mississauga (28 C/82 F) than it ever got all summer long in Port Hardy.

Days over 20/68 by June 15: Mississauga 34, Port Hardy 0.
Total days over 24/75: Mississauga 100, Port Hardy 1.

In fact, Mississauga had more days over 30/86 than Port Hardy had days over 20/68: 21 to 20.

All that ... AND a more mild winter. Just a bit more rain is the small price I will happily pay.

I tried to see how far north Port Hardy is in relation to somewhere in the East. It is roughly where the smiley face is located.

Laura will be blogging at as we drive west. You will likely find me in comments.


Brian McCarthy said...

The very best of luck with your move. I visited the Island on a surf trip from Ireland and loved the scenery and people. I wish you and yours a safe trip, and a happy and healthy home.

Many thanks for your wonderful writing from a long-time reader.

Brian McCarthy
Cork, Ireland.

hrstrat57 said...

Safe travels and best wishes with the move.

Dave said...

As above best wishes for your move,and thank you so much for your excellent writing and comments.
Long time reader myself ,long may you continue please.
Dave from England.

allan said...

Thanks for all the good wishes! We have been driving for 2.5 days - it's Wednesday night - and we are still in Ontario. Which is friggin HUGE!! But we crossed into the Central Time Zone this afternoon. Tonight is the first night of 5 straight nights in which we sleep in a different province every night!

laura k said...

This is a lovely post, and I'm so glad Allan shared some of our excitement with JoS readers. Allan is a pretty modest guy, so it's left to me to brag on him. He was interviewing for a good job in Port Hardy, which would have taken him in a different direction. When the prospective employer called his current employer for a reference, the law firm didn't want to let him go. They took the completely unprecedented step of offering him continued employment based from home. I know telecommuting is common in some fields, but not in Allan's work. It's so "not done" that we didn't even consider asking about it. He is thrilled about the prospect, and it's fantastic for us for so many reasons. This has really made the whole crazy plan come together.

I also want to add that we visited Cork, Ireland, and many places in the south of Ireland in 2001, a dream trip for me. I fully expected to be knocked out by the beauty and culture of the country, and I was not at all disappointed. Cheers!

Steve said...

Good luck with the moves, and in the PAC timezone, you'll have extra time in the evening for updates on our beloveds. Enjoying the James' books!
Steve Hanley, Newburgh, IN