We are ending our first complete calendar year on Vancouver Island, and 2021 is one for the books for sure. Of course Covid added its own special flavour with its lack of predictability, and the uncertainty it brings to all our lives. We are continually thankful that Bill and I, as well as all our loved ones and friends, continue to enjoy good health and are Covid-free. Other records shattered in our world were weather ones, with which came their own new vocabulary. We had everything from a Heat Dome, to Cyclone Bombs and Atmospheric Rivers, which brought challenges of drought, forest fires, floods, and now some epic snow storms. BC has had it all this year, but living in Ladysmith, we have avoided any dramatic impact on our life, but we do always think about those that are less fortunate than us.
Weather and Covid aside, by living a retirement life style in an Island Paradise, we accomplished quite a bit this year. Inspired by the ’12 Days of Christmas’, here is our version (don’t try to sing it though!)
1 Photo published in Paddling Gear Guide.
This photo has become an iconic one for our family. I was thrilled to learn that others saw the joy and wonder in this very hastily snapped photo on our first Island sunrise paddle in 2020. It was published in the annual Paddling Gear Guide in April, and it was also selected as the cover of the 2022 calendar for our our paddling club.
2 Sons we are so proud of.
Both Kirk and Eric are forging their own lives, with wonderful partners in WooJin and Zoe, and we couldn’t be happier for them. Despite off and on lockdowns in London, Kirk and WooJin have thrived with a new job for Kirk, and WooJin always finding new opportunities to develop her artistic side. Their travel fund continues to grow as they wait for the time they can travel again. The bright spot in Eric’s year was his engagement to Zoe. They plan to let the wedding backlogs work out in 2022, and look forward to a wedding in 2023. We do look forward to the time we can celebrate all together but until then we survive with video calls and constant pleas from Mom for photos.
3 Rounds of chemo.
Eric had a nightmarish year with his seizure, subsequent cancer diagnosis, and ensuing chemotherapy treatments. But we are happy that he had to endure ‘only’ 3 rounds, after which his doctor was satisfied that the treatment was successful, so Eric will not need further treatment. He will move back to Ottawa after the New Year and restart work, and will have regular checkups each quarter. We are hopeful that the news continues to be positive.
4 Glamping trips in Loytää.
It was a huge investment but we are so happy we made it. We did two trips to Tofino for beach walks, bike rides, and storm watching. Another one to Victoria area for biking, Butchart, and beach walks and one to Quadra Island where we learned about cold-weather paddling and camping. With each trip we learned more about the RV way of life, discovered new places to enjoy, and that we enjoy this type of travel. We like the creature comforts like a bed, rather than the ground, to sleep on and a warm place to hang out in cold weather. We look forward to many more adventures.
5 Visits to Butchart Gardens. It’s one of my favourite places and I love seeing the different displays in each season, as well as spending time with my sister, who is usually my partner on these visits.
6 Presentations by Bill. He loves sharing his passion for his research and his knowledge with others. And we have Covid to thank for these opportunities. He did these presentations to large international audiences, from his desk at home, all of which have been extremely well received. He has also made several new professional connections from these presentations, allowing him to discuss topics of interests with like-minded people.
7 New bookclub friends. Starting a book club here was a great way to meet new friends and to continue sharing a love of reading with others.
8 Paddles with Nanaimo Paddling Club, plus a lot more on our own and other friends. We really do love paddling and each time we go out we have fun, and see so much to appreciate about this special place.
9 New friends paddling in Broken Group. A very memorable trip in September allowed us to share the joy of paddling on Vancouver Island with our good friends from California. It was a special time to reconnect with old friends and make some new friends.
0 Online meetings with Nanaimo Paddlers. Thanks to Covid, monthly meetings were held online, and we attended some fascinating presentations on trips to places near and far, as well as other topics. Bill even did one on the History of Kayaking, which was well-received.
1 Or more different hiking trails. Last year we hiked a new place almost each time we went out, and we still do find new places. We do return, however, to many of our favourite ones. It’s wonderful to be able to hike all year, and see the same hike in different seasons.
2 Monthly newsletters for Nanaimo Paddlers. We joined the paddling club to learn more about paddling in a new area, and to meet people, which has been great. To give something back, we became more involved and now assemble and publish the monthly newsletter for the club.
So 2021 was really 12 months of adventures! We love being able to bike, hike and kayak in each month of the year, as well as pursue other interests. Although we will not try to predict what will happen in 2022, we are excited to see what it will bring. We wish continued health and happiness to everyone.