On this day ten years ago I boarded an airplane in Toronto and moved myself to Vancouver to start a new life. I came without a plan, without any prospects for employment, or a place to live, and knew only one person in the entire city. I can’t remember my exact reasoning for doing this at the time, but I do know I didn’t want to be in Toronto anymore and I was following a feeling that Vancouver was the place I needed to be.
It’s been an eventful period of my life, these last ten years, with plenty of ups and downs. Vancouver has been good to me, and I’ve grown so much but its been far from easy to live here. But I never expected it would be easy to make a new life, build a social network, find a home, and make a career all from scratch.
Vancouver is the place where I’ve come into my own as an artist, and in surprising ways. When I arrived I was barely doing photography, and now I find myself a full time artist transforming paper into intricate works of art. My younger self would’ve been so surprised had she known how things would turn out.
I owe the internet a big thank you for many things, but most of all for enabling me to meet a fabulous group of friends here. Vancouver has a reputation as a place where it’s hard to make friends, but it’s never been a problem for me. The rise of social media coincides with this ten year period of my life, and it’s played a significant role in helping me forge connections. It all began with Flickr and our meetup group Vandigicam, then Twitter, Facebook, and more recently, Instagram. There are so many people I may never have known without these social media tools to bring us together.
Six of these ten years have been spent in the company of Boris Mann, my significant other. It’s funny to remember I didn’t like him when we first met, because he came across as an arrogant jerk. I never would’ve guessed at the time how important he would become to me years later, or that we’d end up in a long term relationship.
Up until our recent trip to Toronto in March I was actually thinking it was time to leave Vancouver. I was feeling frustrated and fed up over the lack of opportunities for artists, and a more general negativity about the city. I compare us to Toronto and feel like there are so many exciting things going on there, and I want to have that.
Luckily the trip to Toronto allowed me to step away from Vancouver and have the perspective of distance to reflect on my life here, and it helped. I came to the realization that if everyone just gives up and walks away then the somewhat dire situation with arts and culture is never going to improve. It made me realize I don’t want to give up. I want to try to do what I can to make things better, even though I don’t know exactly what form this will take.
What will my life be like ten years from now? I have no idea, and I’m not going to spend a lot of time thinking about it either. I’m just going to live it and see where things go, just like I have been these past ten years.