So we are going to winter over in Victoria’s Inner Harbor as hoped; the marina office told us yesterday they have a spot for us.
As a cruising family we’ve lived temporarily in solitary anchorages, Mexican cities, and historic seaside towns. In Victoria, we look forward to something we haven’t had since leaving D.C.: Big City Life.
But not just any big city will do. Our temporary home needs to be walkable—with robust public transit—and it needs to be outside the U.S. Walkable because we have no car (we like not having a car), outside the U.S. because our catastrophic health insurance policy covers us worldwide, but restricts us from spending longer than six months per policy period in the United States. To explore Alaska next summer, we need to stay outside the U.S. for a while.
Downtown Victoria and the Inner Harbor is crammed with tchotchke shops and orca tour vendors, the Empress hotel, every kind of ethnic food, coffee shops, and cozy used bookstores. It’s a college town. Students on bicycles orbit the University of Victoria. Posters advertise music events. Cold and wet by our standards, Victoria is the warmest, driest large Canadian city and the capital of the province of British Columbia; at night the artfully illuminated parliament building twinkles outside our port lights.
Settling down for a while will allow us to homeschool a lot like we did in D.C. From the marina we can walk to an outstanding public library, to Frances’s gymnastics class, and to the YMCA (kids are free, part of a national health program). We’re looking for a French tutor for Eleanor, who has been interested ever since she befriended Loéva, the daughter of French acrobats we met in La Paz. A month before we arrived, I joined the active community of homeschoolers; we look forward to sampling activities and making friends.
We’ve missed being part of a community. We’re eager for our lives to intersect often enough with others so that we become familiar, even friends. We don’t aim to dig roots so deep that we move off the boat or put potted plants on the deck, but since we’ll be relatively immobilized by the coming Canadian winter, we want to make the most of it. Victoria seems like a good place for that.
In our twenties, we traded our boat for a house and our freedom for careers. In our thirties, we slumbered through the American dream. In our forties, we woke and traded our house for a boat and our careers for freedom. And here we are. Follow along at http://www.logofdelviento.blogspot.com/