Amy 
Falmouth, England - Vancouver Canada 

Who: Amy

 

Where: In a field, in a dairy farm, close to Falmouth in Cornwall.

Going to: Vancouver, Canada. 

 

Dawn:

How long have you lived here?

 

Amy:

On and off for about four years.

 

I moved here because the rent is very cheap and I quite liked the idea of having a contained space that was my own, coming from living in a shared house with 10.

 

Dawn:

And where are you off to?

 

Amy:

I'm off to Vancouver in Canada, moving back into a shared house with 10 people, so full circle.

 

Dawn:

And how come Canada?

 

Amy:

Last year I spent three months in America hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail, and I fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. Green cards and work visas are difficult to get int he USA, but I flew home from Vancouver, which I also loved and wanted to spend a bit more time in.  I got the work visa in September 2019 and then this opportunity came up, so I took it.

 

Dawn:

What's the opportunity?

 

Amy:

There's a room in a house in Vancouver. They've definitely got a housing crisis problem there, or affordable housing, so it's difficult to find anywhere. That was the biggest hurdle. Speaking to friends over there, they're like, "Jobs are really easy to get, but housing is difficult.” 

 

Dawn:

Perfect. Have you ever lived abroad before?

 

Amy:

No, no. Literally, I think the longest I've spent abroad is six months backpacking when I was 18. This is the first time moving.

 

Dawn:

How do you feel right now?

 

Amy:

It feels good. I'm kind of restless to be done packing and to be out of this caravan, but I’m just looking forward to doing it. Slight stress, but generally excited.

 

Dawn:

So I can see you're packing up now. What physical item was the hardest to leave behind?

 

Amy:

There's nothing that I'm really regretting leaving behind. I think from the hike, because you're carrying everything on your back with you, you realise its kind of amazing how little you need. I've taken that mentality towards the stuff that I've got. I've just got obsessed with getting rid of things, especially because I'm quite bad at cleaning. If I have less stuff to clean, then it's better.

 

Dawn:

And how about people? 

 

Amy:

It's going to be hard not seeing my mom so often, but we'll keep in touch. I've got a lot of friends here, but I think everyone's just kind of settling into doing their own thing or leaving too. 

 

I'll be back in July, well, I'll be Corfu for a friends wedding, but I'll probably be here for a couple of days, in the UK.

 

Dawn:

How you funding your trip?

 

Amy:

Oh yeah. I've been saving... working with a seaweed company, but that's quite minimum wage, so to offset that I signed up to do a medical trial. That was an experience.

 

Dawn:

Would you do that again?

 

Amy:

Maybe not in the middle of winter. It's quite a long winded process. I couldn't get a cold from October until the beginning of December, while going out working as a seaweed harvester in all weather and schlepping seaweed around, up and down the coast path and trying not to get a cold, but yeah, I managed it. I think probably by eating seaweed.

 

Dawn:

How do you think you’ll feel once you get there?

 

Amy:

Probably tired, I'll probably cry, but I think I'm just going to try and keep driven and focused.

 

I guess, doing anything in winter is difficult. I think I'm just going to give myself some slack for that, or allow that to be the case, but then spring's not too far off. Yeah, then I get to enjoy Vancouver. Hooray!

 

Dawn:

Do you know the people you're moving in with?

 

Amy:

Just one who I met on the hike. They're all boys, so I'm living in a house with boys.

 

Dawn:

Nine boys?

 

Amy:

Yeah. I think I'm going to have to join a women's choir or a yoga class or something, balance the energy.

 

Dawn:

Did you always imagine you'd live in a different country?

 

Amy:

Yeah, when I was a kid I thought, as soon as I'm old enough I'm going to go off and then I'm not going to come back. But then, I guess I did a gap year and I realized that's what everyone does. Then I was very settled here. I value the community that I've managed to build and the friends, but I feel slightly removed from it now.

 

Because I'm 30 now, it’s the last time to get a working holiday visa. So I was like, I may as well do that and then see what happens. Maybe I'll end up staying there. I'm kind of imagining that I will. 

 

Dawn:

You imagine you might just stay there?

 

Amy:

Yeah, well, I'm hoping for two years. Because I think as long as you've got two years worth of travel insurance, then they'll grant you the two-year visa. And then from that you can apply, for a a full time job, I think it's a year or two years, then you can apply for the permanent residency.

 

Dawn:

Perfect, thank you. 

 

 

22/09/2020

 

When you arrived, was living in Vancouver as you imagined? 

I moved during a snow storm, which was not how I imagined Vancouver weather. It’s always unsettling to up-route and I expected it to take a couple of months to ease into things and establish a new routine. I’m quite shy around new people, so it took a minute to be open but I feel very comfortable and at home now. 

 


How has it been living in the new house with so many people?

I’ve lived in large shared group houses before, and the specific sense of family it gives is something I’d missed since living alone. It’s been amazing to have landed straight into this house. We have a solid continuity and a closeness that I’ve valued highly especially during the pandemic. 

 

- What have you been doing while there? 


I have a full time job in outdoor retail. When I’m not working I’ve been going on a lot of hikes and spending time at the beaches. 

 

 

What's the best part of your new life? 

Being able to cultivate a lifestyle that matches the diversity of my interests, in the city, the ocean and the mountains. Forging friendships with like minded wonderful people.

 

What's been the most challenging? 

Establishing roots in a place where I have a fixed deadline to leave. Although i’m hoping I can stay. Not wanting to leave and feeling split between two existences. Loved ones living far away in different time zones. 

 

How has COVID-19 affected you move and your new life?

 

The west coast of Canada, particularly British Columbia responded to the pandemic really well and we’ve been incredibly lucky with the case numbers over here. We were in full lockdown for about 2 months and during that time I was temporarily laid off work. 

© 2020 By Dawn Parsonage

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