• Lara

Chasing Dreams and Turkeys on Gabriola Island

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

"All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware"

- Martin Buber.

I can't tell you how true this quote has been throughout my life and perhaps one of the reasons I am so keen to explore my province, my country, my world. All I have to do is say YES to an opportunity, get out the door and then trust the process. The destination I plan is hardly ever the destination I arrive at. This was the case for me just last week. This journey began 11 years ago, and it has hardly even come close to the end.

It is embarrassing to say that it was just 11 years ago when I first heard the traditional South African song Shosholoza. Having grown up in Africa and even having my best friend at the time South African, I couldn't believe how this had passed me by all these years. Here I was in my late 20's in a remote and rural community in Northern Alberta feeling like I had found a part of me I didn't even know I had been missing.

I'll never forget the feeling of hairs raising on the back of my neck. I sat in the audience at the Women in The North Conference and watched a woman sing and dance this inspirational and traditional South African song with a rigour and a passion I was not expecting. I was undeniably mesmerized by her dance, her boldness and her story of struggle and triumph.

After the conference ended, I sent her a simple email applauding her for her edu-taining presentation and offering to be a volunteer to her if she ever needed it for future conferences. I just felt in my core, I was meant to learn from her, to be under her wing, to dance this thing called "Life" together despite the 30 year gap we had in in our ages. I had no idea what the future had in store for us.

Just like that, I had set the universal powers that be into motion by clicking "send". She responded to my email with open arms and we made plans to meet the next time she came from Saskatchewan to Alberta. Monica and I began our own dance together. we began working closely together, speaking at workshops together and encouraging each other on our respective journey of public speaking and research while she completed her Ph.D. Both of us shared a passion for entrepreneurship, and she could relate to the challenge of juggling family life while chasing personal dreams and dealing with clients.

Seen at the Giro Depot on Gabriola Island

When I got married and my career focus changed to allow me to start a family with Mark, Monica and I still stayed in contact via email. Over the years she and I traveled extensively, and yet our paths didn't seem to cross. In what seemed like the blink of an eye, It had been 8 years since I had seen her in person and she had never met my children.

On a recent hike (you can read about it here), I thought about the words of wisdom she had taught me -Ubuntu ( I am because we are). I felt moved to connect with her and make plans to actually see her. We had both, as though universally destined, made the move from the prairies to British Columbia a few years ago. She invited me to her cottage on Gabriola Island. Just like that I packed up my three kids and began the road trip and ferry ride to Gabriola. I didn't even know where I was going, but I knew I was meant to go. We took the ferry to Nanaimo and then drove to a new terminal and took another ferry to Gabriola

Gabriola completely blew my mind with its rich culture, medical and recreational services and amenities. During our drive-through tour, I was left in awe at the landscape, the humour and the thoughtfulness of it all. Fig, plum and apple trees were ripe and ready to be freely picked from and shared with the deer that pranced freely over the land. If it wasn't deer we watched, then it was the wild turkeys that came out like clockwork in the evening waggling around happy to be in a no hunt zone. It felt a bit like we had landed on an island version of the Garden of Eden.

We planned to spend two nights on the island and in the morning after we arrived, we began our visit by walking along streets with the cutest names like "Tin Can Alley" on our way to the local recycle center called the Giro Depot. This self funded re-store has Eighty percent of its merchandise priced at $3 and under! We had a great time there buying some Sand Castles molds, a skim board and even a pair of socks that look like cat legs. (I couldn't resist!). Monica insisted my money wasn't legal tender on the island. HA!

Then we trotted over to Paradise Island Alpacas. This adorable, by donation hobby farm captivated all of us. We learned about Alpacas only having one row of teeth, and meet people who were volunteers from WWOOF! WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms, (WWOOF) is part of a worldwide movement linking visitors with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange thereby helping to build a sustainable global community. (Stole that from their website).

Meeting out of town youth who were volunteers on this farm inspired my son (age 8). He has always stated he wants to own a hobby farm and learning he can travel and work on farms across the world just lit him up completely. He spent the rest of the evening weeding Monica's garden as a WWOOF-ER. lol!

The farm was so interactive. With personalized cups to feed the animals (and then rinse in bleach as their covid-19 procedure), the children enjoyed getting up and personal with each animal.

From goats nibbling on carrots, to miniature horses gobbling hay and chickens plucking at broccoli, this farm kept the children occupied so Monica and I could talk.

One thing Monica and I share in common is the power of writing down our intentions. She shared with me some of her intentions and how it came to unfold, that the home on Gabriola seemed to fall into her lap. Seeing her chasing her dreams and catching them one by one, reminded me to create a vision board and put pen to paper in a visible location, of my own dreams. It is easy to lose sight of dreams when you juggle so many other little people's needs so intensely. Walking through the farm's fairy garden seemed like the perfect magical place to dream and dream big.