Let me take you back a few years. In June of 2015, we set off on a road trip adventure to discover the interior region of British Columbia known as the “Cariboo”. A year earlier, Daryl had traveled these parts to participate in a nature photography workshop with renowned photographer Chris Harris. He felt an immediate connection with the area and insisted that we explore what else this wild landscape had to offer. If you’re interested in a bit of BC’s history, the road from Fort Langley to Barkerville is the route known as The Gold Rush Trail. That’s the road we took on this particular trip. Already avid backcountry explorers, we loaded up the vehicle with the tent, camping supplies, a map and our sense of adventure. We were confident there was plenty to see and do on this trip so off we went to discover another beautiful BC region.
I’ve been journaling in one form or another since I could write. To this day, I have ‘diaries’ dating back to when I was only 11 years old. The journal I kept on our “2015 Gold Rush Trail Tour“ is filled with fun stories and all types of crazy moments, and most will be shared as part of this new storytelling section of our website. This particular story will take you to the first day we visited Ruth Lake Lodge, and how it all began.
We spent the last 2 days of our 10 day adventure in a cozy cottage overlooking a gorgeous emerald green lake in the South Cariboo. We’d done a bit of research and we knew this property was for sale. For a few months, we’d been thinking about what life could be like if we just left the city for good. I mean, we were already escaping the rat race nearly every weekend, heading into the mountains for hikes and exploring the wilderness within driving distance of our home in Langley. If we were so eager to leave the city every weekend, maybe it was time to start thinking about what semi retirement could look like…you know…like in 10 years or so. Well, be careful what you wish for!
After less than 24 hours at Ruth Lake Lodge, I didn’t want to leave. It felt like I’d been here all my life, and in some ways I had. From a young age, I struggled with calming my very active mind. A dance teacher I had when I was about 13 years old taught me what I now recognize more clearly as guided meditation. At the end of a long day of dance lessons, she would have us lay on our backs, close our eyes and imagine ourselves on whatever journey she would talk us through. One day, her journey described a long winding road, leading to a wooden cabin in the forest. Then a walk to a dock where boats were tied. I would get into a boat and row to the middle of a lake, lean back and let the waves gently rock me. Tuning in to the sound of water lapping up the side of the boat, to the chant of the birds, the loons, the ducks. Feeling the sun warming my face. Only once I could feel and hear my own heartbeat was I allowed to return to shore. That guided meditation has been with me every day since. I use it to help me through stressful times, sleepless nights, grief, basically every time I need to calm my very active mind.
When I walked down to the beach that crisp cool June morning, with my hot coffee in hand and parked myself on the swing by the lake, that guided meditation hit me so hard, it nearly knocked me over. I had arrived! The place that had only existed in my mind for over 30 years was real! In that moment I knew that every experience I had lived thus far had lead me here. (If you look closely, I’m sitting on the lakeside swing in the photo above, on that very day!) And so began the year long process of leaving our life in Langley to make a new life in the South Cariboo. On May 12th 2016, on our 10 year wedding anniversary, we signed the papers and took possession of our new home. The next day, on Friday the 13th, moving trucks left our Walnut Grove property, possessions and memories safely packed, for the journey to new beginnings.
So much for the ‘semi retirement in 10 years plan’. Now we have a new vision of our future. We’re already approaching 4 years into that ever-changing plan, and we’ve never looked back. There are certainly days when we ask ourselves “what have we done?!”, but those moments come and go because we know, we were meant to be here, in the wild, living a simpler life, enjoying the vastness and peacefulness of it all. We’ve also realized that retirement means different things to different people. We’ve never worked so hard, and never been so happy (most of the time ). Hardships are learning opportunities. Wild animals are our neighbours. Guests become new friends. What have we done? The only thing we could. We took control of how we live our best life.
Be careful what you wish for…it can actually come true!