Canada, Destinations, Feature Trips, Musings

Back to British Columbia: Woven Lands, Woven Lives

August 5, 2014

It makes me incredibly happy to map this unfolding life in relationships: people and memories rooted in places and adventures and shared celebrations.

When Ted and I married, we honeymooned in Cascadia. (I like that title. It sounds even more romantic than “Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia,” doesn’t it?) We knew no one at our destination, but we returned home having made a few friends on Vancouver Island.

Four years later, we returned for a World Cup/anniversary trip, visited friends from our honeymoon, and added a new friend when we stayed at our first AirBnb booking in Vancouver. (More on that in a future post.)

Four years after that, this past July, we returned (again, World Cup season, again, anniversary season, again, a hello to our AirBnb host) this time to celebrate the very special wedding of sweet friends we met during our travels half way around the world. (More on this later, too…)


Truth be told, even though it’s across an international border, I think I feel a stronger affinity for British Columbia than I do for more than a few farther-flung United States. Geographically, ecologically, socially, the westernmost province of Canada much more closely matches Oregon than, say, the midwest or the east coast.

We Pacific Northwesterners share a different sort of American* bond: a west-coast North American bond. (We are, after all, dwelling together in “Ecotopia” as this imaginary map from the New York Times recently illustrated.)

(*By the way, since spending time in South America, I hear more acutely how we U.S. citizens quickly call ourselves “Americans” without recognizing how many other Americans – north and south and central – can also claim the title.)

The movement to unify the bioregion of Cascadia gathers together the land mass and people groups of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, parts of Idaho, southern Alaska and northern California.

I like thinking about how my great(x5) grandpa Etienne made his way in the early 1800s from eastern Canada down into what is now known as Oregon before the hard and fast international boundary lines were drawn… I like thinking about how his wife, Josephette, may have traveled with her tribesmen between Vancouver Island and the Willamette Valley.

Maybe it’s fitting, then, that Etienne and Josephette’s great-great-great-great-great-great granddaughter, our little Lucie, used her passport first for a simple hoop-jumping exercise, to cross a man-made line and then carry on just the same in another corner of Cascadia…


The next several posts coming up feature our recent visit to British Columbia and the beautiful people and landscapes and experiences in this fairly-close-to-home part of the world. I hope you’ll enjoy the scenes and stories as much as we enjoyed the getaway!


On Seeing Beyond Borders:

I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of 100,000 miles their outlook could be fundamentally changed. That all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument silenced. The tiny globe would continue to turn, serenely ignoring its subdivisions, presenting a unified façade that would cry out for unified understanding…
— Michael Collins, Gemini 10 & Apollo 11 astronaut,
Carrying the Fire: An Astronauts Journeys, 1974.

On Cascadia (a 15-minute primer produced as a student documentary):


This post is part of our twoOregonians tour British Columbia series in which we use babyOregonian’s passport on her first international trip, attend the Canadian wedding of dear American and Lebanese friends, enjoy beautiful scenery and rejuvenating retreats in Whistler, and reconnect over delicious home cooking with our very first AirBnb host-turned-friend in Vancouver. Much gratitude to our friends for including us in the special celebrations, and thanks to Tourism Whistler and Scandinave Spa Whistler for sponsoring a portion of our adventures. As always, these stories, photos, and opinions are our own, and we love sharing them with you!

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2 Comments

  • Reply Sandra_Kathleen August 9, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    I *finally* made it to British Columbia after years of telling myself I’d make a proper visit to Canada (airports don’t count in my book). Anyway, while in the parking lot to hike up Stawamus Chief I saw a car with a Texas license plate and thought about how FAR it would be to drive all the way to B.C. from the south. And then I thought about how different Texas would be from B.C. and how I probably have more in common with British Columbians than I would someone from Texas. I told my boyfriend this and he agreed. I also agree with you: being from ‘Cascadia’ certainly transcends international borders without a doubt. Honestly, I think my trip to B.C. was one of the best I’ve had in a long time for a variety of reasons. I can’t wait to go back. Yay Cascadia!

    • Reply Bethany ~ twoOregonians August 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm

      Sandra, so great hearing from you! And I’m glad you agree.

      Your Texas anecdote makes me think of a story from ten years ago, half way around the world. Three friends and I had just finished a multi-day, 50 mile hike through the backwoods of New Zealand, and we followed the end of the trail to an old side road that had a little hut with a telephone where you could call for a ride. (Side note: I love NZ so much.) Anyway, while we were waiting for the ride, an old bearded Kiwi came walking toward us from his nearby property. He asked where we were from (“Oregon, in the U.S.”). His reply, in a slow drawl: “The U.S., huh? Texas… [pause] There’s a lot of guns in Texas.”

      He wandered off shortly after that, and we girls all compared notes: at the time, none of us had ever been to Texas, and we felt like we must be the farthest things from the stereotypical American that existed in his head.

      Anyway, all that to say, yes! We Cascadians are a fun bunch with a great shared culture.

      Glad you finally made it to B.C., and I hope you get to return again soon. :) Thanks for stopping by. See you on Twitter!

    What say you?