Best of 2012: Victoria, BC

I’ve been living in Metro Vancouver since August 2012. In that time I’ve come to realise Vancouver for what it is, little more than a large city. I mean it’s a nice city, but it’s still a city. And it’s a trap too. It’s easy to get stuck here, because it’s so big, because it takes so long to get out of it, because it’s so damn expensive to do so. It’s like slowly sinking in mud.

At the tail end of October I decided enough was enough, and I took a trip to the province’s capital Victoria, over on Vancouver Island. This opened my eyes.

Beauty and light
There’s beauty in this land.

I was born in Inverness. At the time the population of Inverness was maybe 40,000. Shortly after my birth, my parents moved to Perth, of similar size. Then, we lived in Pitlochry for several years, which has a population now of about 2,500. Every time I visited my grandparents in Inverness, it seemed like Inverness was unfathomably huge.

We moved back to Perth, and it took me until high school before my brain started to connect all the different parts of Perth into a single continuous map. When I was younger it was too much for my brain to comprehend. Eventually I moved to Dundee and then Glasgow, and Perth began to seem real small. The geography of my childhood started to shrink in my memory.

At heart I’m a small town guy. I always felt fairly out of place in Glasgow, fairly “outside” and almost unwelcome because of it. That’s just who I am.

Metro Vancouver by comparison to Glasgow, makes Glasgow seem small and quaint. The way it’s laid out into different cities, and different areas within those cities, it can be extremely alienating.

Not so with Victoria. Victoria is closer in size to Perth or Inverness of today. Even having spent three days there, I have some comprehension of its layout, its topography and its urban feel. It’s a place that better fits my personality.

I wrote pretty extensively about the trip on this blog, so if you want to read those articles please do so (day 1, day 2, day 3). Other than that, I just wanted to say that I’m kind of in love with Victoria, and of all the cities outside of Scotland I’ve been to in the past year (Vienna, Reykjavik, New York, Atlanta, Seattle, Metro Vancouver, Victoria) this is the one I could most see myself living in – though that search continues.

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