For the low, low price of $259,000 you can own your Elementary school.

Following World War 2 many soldiers returned home to Canada to settle in rural/remote properties because they were cheaper places for them to ‘start over’ with the family they already had, or to start the family they’d been waiting to have.

With the influx of children being located in smaller, remote settings, the government took the opportunity to build elementary schools “centrally located” between these kids to ensure they would all receive a proper education in spite of how far they may be from the nearest town or city. The idea was that while they were young, the schools would be as close to them as possible, and when they got old enough for high-school they would either bus into the nearest town or city each day, or their parents would keep them out of school to work full time on the farm. (The government obviously preferring the former over the latter)

Over the years, as kids grew up and moved away from the farm, technology expanded allowing for online education systems and, as a whole, people tended to settle closer to towns for access to medical services and such, the need for these schools fell by the waist-side. As a result, if you’ve spent any time driving British Columbia’s highways, you’ll have noticed dozens of empty/abandoned Elementary schools along the way.

This particular school caught my eye this past few weeks because, when I was driving past, I realized that someone bought it and turned it into a home.

All photos credit the realtor. Listing can be found here >

It’s clear in the pictures that it’s little messy these days, and a little cluttered… but imagine the potential of having an entire school for a home.

The built a nice little kitchen, upgraded the bathrooms. All the creature comforts necessary to make it a home.

Imagine having 7,700 square feet to work with and design as you please. The possibilities that space could provide are endless. And if you had the renovation budget, you could turn this school into a real palace. Or, leave it as is if you prefer a more simple life.

Oh, yeah the original gymnasium was kept in tact – basketball hoops and all. Could you imagine what an NBA player would do with their own gymnasium? Actually, NBA players make enough money they probably build gymnisums in their home… but that’s not the point. A gym! This home comes with a gym!

If you’re a handy person, you’d already have your own workshop, too. Workshop aside, imagine how big your bedroom would be if you turned a former classroom into your bedroom?

I think about the history that must exist in a place like this. If you’re the type of person that can live out of town, who wants land and who wants wide open spaces, a property like this could really be a dream come true.

A school that’s already been turned into your home not your fancy? You want your own school to work with? Well, take a drive down any major highway in BC and you’ll likely find an abandoned elementary school just waiting for the potential of someone with an open mind who wants room to grow.

Solo Road-Tripping the ‘Highway Thru Hell’

Photo: Bridge Wisdom

In Canada, we have a relatively popular docu-series TV show called ‘Highway Thru Hell’. The show, chronicling treacherous heavy rescue on wintery British Columbia highways is definitely one that’s struck a cord with people of my dad’s generation. It’s been on the air since 2012, and frequently showcases roads that I travel and have spent my life travelling.

The past few days I’ve driven about 1,500 miles up and down the ‘Highway Thru Hell’ chasing scenery, the feeling of calm and every tourist attraction I could possibly find. (Sounds familiar, right? Once you get a taste of the road trip buzz, you just need more of it)

Most major highways in British Columbia are mountain passes. With the Rocky Mountains, the Coast Mountains and the Cascade Mountains all in one province, it’s safe to say if you’re driving anywhere, it’s going to be through, or over the mountains. In spring, summer and fall, these highways are much easier to travel than what’s showcased on the television show. These roads can showcase some of the most breathtaking scenery you ever did see. Even on a cloudy/rainy day. The ‘Highway Thru Hell’ is S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G.

One of the best things about driving a mountain pass is that cell phone reception is sparse. It’s a matter of going for long periods of time, hours on end, without having being able to see any notifications on your phone or have anyone call you. It really is just you, the road and the stunning scenery around you. And I love that feeling.

Nature is amazing. The way the mountains poke up out of the earth like gifts from the heavens. The way that trees grow right out the side of mountains and thrive, on the edge of a cliff, sturdy and comfortable as though nothing can harm it. The way that rivers carve out landscapes from the sky to the sea, flowing with such power it can destroy rock face and anything in its wake. British Columbia is incredible.

Along the way I got a little fed-up with road construction. Have you ever heard the phrase ‘In Canada we have nine months of winter and three months of road repair’? Oh boy, British Columbia for July-September is RIDICULOUS. Tired of sitting in a lineup of traffic due road construction, I stopped on the side of the highway and went for a bit of a hike.

I wound up finding an old, abandoned bridge. The sign on the bridge said it was built in 1927. Which, I thought was pretty cool. Imagine all the history this bridge has scene over the past (nearly) 100 years.

There were locks with initials along the bridge (reminiscent of the love-lock bridge in Paris) and initials and names carved all the way across it. I can’t help but wonder if Abby and Brad ever worked out. If they ever came back to that bridge after carving their names into it. If there was a happy ending… These are just the types of thoughts that can run through my mind when I have no cell service to distract me.

One of my favourite messages carved into the bridge (photo at top of post) was ‘Love is Stronger’. Because I agree. Love is stronger.

The actual highway can be seen in this photo below, it’s that orange bridge up in the distance. There was some construction happening on the bridge and traffic was pretty heavily backed up leading to the bridge, which was why I decided to stop in the first place. And I’m pretty glad that I did.

The abandoned bridge had a lot of ghosts and a lot of history to it. The feeling of walking across it, I couldn’t help but wonder about those who travelled it and how incredible of infrastructure they must’ve found it to be in 1927 when it was first built.

All in all, it was a pretty incredible trip. I love British Columbia. I’m grew up here and I’m still finding new places each and every day that I’ve never seen before. There’s so much to see, so many places to go and so many things to do. Honestly, I think you could spend your lifetime exploring this province and never see it all.

I love solo-road trips because you get to do as you please. It’s peaceful. It’s solitude. It’s anything that you want it to be and you don’t have to deal with, or please, anyone else in the process.

And it doesn’t hurt that British Columbia is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful… even on the cloudiest/rainiest of days.

Solo Road-Tripping up the Gold Rush Trail

In 1858 word got out of the discovery of gold in the upper Fraser and people began flocking to British Columbia in droves with hopes of striking it rich. After the gold count began declining, prospectors made their way further north into British Columbia’s interior in search of the rich-gold bearing creeks of the Cariboo.

Though I can’t even begin to imagine how vastly the route has expanded in the past 170 years, The Gold Rush trail remains to this day. Now, it’s a highway through the heart of British Columbia’s broad landscapes (that my pictures can’t even remotely do justice) and heartland. It’s a route to remind people just how vast and breathtaking this part of the world truly is.

I’ve been on the road the past few days. I’ve driven more than 1,500 miles up and down British Columbia’s ‘Gold Rush Trail’ chasing the scenery, the feeling of calm and every tourist attraction that I could possibly find.

Why? Because when you’re road-tripping alone, YOU and only you get to decide what you want to do and where you want to go. It’s a powerful feeling, not needing to check with someone before you stop somewhere or do something. I loved it.

I spent some time with my best friend and her family. Time with them always grounds me. She inspires me and her children cant help but make me feel happier. They’re adorable, they say silly things and everything is exciting to them at this point in life. What’s not to love about that?

I spent a lot of time on the road. Truthfully, I love driving alone. I love taking a stop to appreciate the view. I love feeling the sun beat down on my face as I hear the river rushing beneath me. I love finding new ‘tourist traps’ to wander into. I, most importantly, love driving the highways with no cell service. When your phone just doesn’t work – it’s the universe’s way of telling you to let go and be one with the world. And that, that I have done.

The Fraser Canyon, home to the famous ‘Jackass Mountain’, is a several hundred kilometer long highway that was literally built by blasting out the sides of mountains to make enough room for roadway. The road can often get crowded with herds of Big Horn Sheep that make for the most darling of Canadian ‘traffic jams. Also on the highway you can find a string of seven tunnels, and some original bridges from the 1800’s Gold Rush that have been turned into Provincial Parks for people to hike/picnic.

I love nature. I love being out in the world, seeing how the mountains have peaked up over thousands of years, how the river has curved it’s way through the landscapes, how the trees have grown in some places and not in other. And I love finding homes in the middle of nowhere. I find myself imagining what these people do for work, how they can live so far away from towns… how long their morning commute must be, without traffic. A morning commute without traffic, how’s that for irony that’s not really irony?

The Fraser River, one of the largest (if not the largest) in the province, winds along the side of the highway, providing scenic sights throughout the drive for you to be able to stop, take a breath of the freshest, cleanest, thin mountain air, feel the sun beating down on your skin and realize how truly incredible nature is.

I found a farm, and a mini-orchard along the way. This might have been my favourite stop of today. Not for the overpriced baked goods and delectable goodies that I am not able to eat. But more because of the fact that it’s a tiny little farm outside a tiny little town (population 200) and so many people know about this tiny little farm outside of the tiny little town that when I drove up the place was packed.

I came, I saw, I picked some apples, posed for some photos and was transplanted to a simpler time and place in which life’s little things (such an apple orchard) can really be the biggest and most important piece of so very many people’s day. And I mean, can you get fresher apples than from straight off the tree?

Today was a reminder to not take life so seriously all the time. Sometimes, the best thing I can do for myself is stop at a little roadside pullout, have solo-picnic and dip my toes in the lake. It’s the little things that can bring brightness to your day. And when you’re driving 1,500 kms on your own, you need to get out and stretch your legs.

In one highway you can go from the Pacific Ocean to densely pack coniferous forests, into the Coast Mountains, along the Fraser River/Canyon, into the BC desert (complete with rattlesnakes and all) and then back into the densely packed temperate forests that are Northern British Columbia.

This province is S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. Every piece of it is breathtaking. And it’s so hard to explain in just a few words and a few photos.

Solo road-tripping is peaceful, calming and everything that I needed to reset and recharge to face the world again.

If you’ve ever been thinking about going on a road trip on your own, do it. You don’t have to travel across the world in order to travel. Sometimes you can get in your car to travel in ‘your own back yard’ and find places, sights, tourist stops you’ve never seen or heard of before.

And if you’ve ever been thinking about doing a Canadian road trip, do it. I highly, highly, highly recommend British Columbia. Any highway that you drive in this province you’re going to be hit with incredible scenery, vast landscapes, beautiful wildlife and a reminder of what a small space you take in this universe. Which, in my mind, are all incredibly valuable experiences.

*Point of Note – The ‘Gold Rush Trail’ is also the road that you need to take to get to Alaska if you’re interested in road-tripping that far north.

True crime hitting too close to home.

The remote part of Canada which I live has been making a lot of international news lately for some very horrible crimes. When things like this happen in this area of the country, it really hits too close to home. While murders might be prevalent in large, metropolitan areas, the population of Northern BC is so small, it’s really true what they say when they say everyone knows everyone. The fact that someone could do something like this, it’s a hard pill to swallow.

Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler (Credits: NSW Police) – Photo from CBC Article

To those of you who’ve heard of the terrifying murders of Australian Lucas Fowler and American Chynna Deese, a millennial couple travelling the world, who were murdered on a remote stretch of highway en route to Alaska, the story continues to unfold.

A third body, that of an unidentified man believed to be in his 50s or 60s was found some 500 miles down the highway just steps away from a burned out truck and the two teenagers who owned the truck were/are missing. The public initially believed the two teenagers to also be the victims of foul play. Today, however, the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) have announced that the two teenagers are the primary suspects in all three murders.

The teenagers are believed to be on the run and were last seen driving a 2011 Toyota Rav4 in Northern Saskatchewan. Kam McLeod and Bryar Schmegelsky are to be considered dangerous and people are being asked to call 911 immediately if you see either of the two suspects, and do not approach.

Kam McLeod, left, and Bryer Schmegelsky, right (B.C. RCMP/Al Schmegelsky) – Photos from CBC Article

I’m hoping these two are found quickly and I’m hoping there’s more to the story. I’m still having a hard time believing two 18 year old’s are responsible for three murders. That being said, if they are, I hope they’re caught before they have the opportunity to hurt anyone else.

Lucas and Chynna’s family deserve some peace after this truly horrible crime. So does the unidentified third man found dead next to the burned out truck. If you’re in Canada… or even if you’re not… keep your eyes on the lookout for these two.

For Lucas, Chynna and the unidentified third victim, I sincerely hope that police are able to find some closure for you soon.

All photos and information in this post from CBC News. Link here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/couple-killed-in-bc-missing-persons-lucas-fowler-chynna-deese-1.5221657

The largest Ancient Inland Rainforest on Earth

Nestled in the heart of the British Columbia interior is the largest ancient inland temperate rainforest on earth. The watershed of the upper Fraser River has given rise to a unique inland wet-temperate rainforest; a forest ecosystem that combines attributes of both the coastal wet-temperate rainforests of British Columbia and adjacent boreal forests of Alberta and the far north.

Though forests are plentiful in British Columbia (close to 25% of the earth’s temperate rainforests are in BC), this particular region of the province is something special. Showcasing trees that span five meters in diameter at their base, reaching hundreds of feet towards the sky, densely packed to canopy vegetation and plant life found nowhere else on earth, it’s estimated the trees in this forest range between 1,000 – 2,000 years old.

Though this land has been protected as provincial park for several decades, in 2016 a portion of the park was turned into a hiking/walking trail to teach people the importance of rainforests in our ecosystem. What a perfect place for Auntie Vee to take the little chickens for an adventure! Their dad works 5-5 on Friday’s and mom had to be in court, so I had my niece and nephew and we went for a day hike.

Without further adieu, here are some unfiltered photos from the largest ancient inland temperate rainforest on earth.

It was quite a rainy day for an adveture. But hey, there’s something poetic about finding rain in the rainforest. The kids loved it, and me, I’m always happy to experience just how vast this planet truly is and remind myself what a beautiful corner of this world I come from.

If I ever won the lottery.

One thing that I really love is real estate. Not for investment, but more so for living. Homes fascinate people. How people make them, how people decorate them, what’s popular and how styles come into popularity and fade out of popularity. All homes inspire me.

I love to drive down new streets and look at the homes, see what I like and what I do not. I also love browsing homes on Realtor.ca (also known as MLS). Realtor.CA allows you to see inside of the incredible homes that you can only see from the street when you drive by. It’s like being a fly on the wall in someone else’s life. (And I’m kind of nosy!)

I also like to look at homes and imagine lives for the people who live in them. I dream up entire scenarios of who they are and what they do, how they spend their time. Then I turn the stories into what I would do and how I would spend my time when I lived there.

I just love looking at homes.

One of the places that I love looking at homes is Vancouver. I’ve always felt at home when I’ve been in Vancouver and I’ve always had this idea in my mind that when I retire, I’m going to buy a massive home in Vancouver with a lot of windows and a home library to fill with the books of my travels. It’ll be my haven to come back to from all of my travels and my place for my loved ones to come and visit and escape the world for spring breaks and summer vacations, Christmas’ on the West Coast or just a weekend away. It’ll all be mine.

If I ever won the lottery…

I present: 4205 RockRidge Road, Vancouver B.C. Canada.

All photo credits go to the realtor Eric Christiansen/Realtor.ca.

“Sitting high on prestigious Rockridge Road is this incredible modern home designed by renowned architect Rob Ciccozzi for the current owners. Enjoy stunning views through massive floor to ceiling windows and a floating staircase running down a gorgeous concrete feature wall in the entrance foyer. The main floor boasts 12 foot ceilings, beautiful hardwood flooring, a huge climate-controlled wine room. The open plan kitchen, dining and living room are gorgeous and flow smoothly through massive folding doors to a huge patio and deck with sundrenched swimming pool. Offering 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and an incredible master suite. Truly a special home in an amazing neighborhood. ” – From Listing

Click here to view > (House listing)

I love clean, crisp, minimalist designs. White walls, wood floors, simple appearances. If you look to the right it appears to be a wall of windows that can be fully opened for indoor/outdoor living, which is an incredible bonus!

Look at how warm and cozy this beautiful bedroom looks. I love that it’s so simple. There’s no need for a tv in the bedroom when you’ve got windows that large with views of the city.

The type of bathroom that dreams are made of. Imagine sitting in that tub, looking out at the view of the city lights/English bay to wind down each night. Also, that walk in shower with glass walls! I love everything about this room.

I love the fireplaces/cement throughout this house. It gives it a very minimalist look. The simple furniture is something that raises the profile of the home as it allows viewers to picture their own things in the space. I’m a fan of basic colours for large furniture and bright colours for accents (cushions, stools, etc).

I could imagine myself putting a giant bookshelf in here, as big as this wall. I would spend my days wandering through second hand bookstores all over the world to collect books to fill it with.

When it comes to homes, I love the ‘West Coast Contemporary’ style. Imagine having this many windows in your home to watch the sunset each night or the raindrops fall in the winter, or view the city lights each night before going to bed.

Imaging the parties, drinking the wine… playing the piano, singing the songs in my horrible, horrendous singing voice. I can absolutely see myself in every square inch of this home.

All I need is a cool, crisp $5.9 million dollars and it could be mine! Oh and $13,900 per year for property taxes.

All credits to realtor Eric Christiansen and Realtor.ca. Listing >

Back in British Columbia!

I spent a quick two days in Calgary, went to four job interviews (including the two that I spoke of in my most recent post: Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow), hung out with some important people and stayed at the most divine, incredibly priced hotel I think I’ve been to in the past few years. (Hotel review coming soon)

I haven’t heard back about the job yet. The CEO said that he would issue an offer of employment next week. I’m trying to not get my hopes up, but I’m also trying to talk myself up so that I believe I’m going to get it. The position would be such a perfect fit for me, so I am genuinely asking the universe for a favour for this one.

Happy Victoria Day long weekend, everyone. If you’re Canadian you know this is one of the most important holiday’s of the year because it’s our nation-wide kick off for summer! If you have a long weekend this weekend, I hope that you enjoy it. And, if you don’t have a long weekend, be jealous. Canada is awesome.

I’m off to spend some time with my brother and sister-in-law. She’s pregnant and she’s due in just under a month… and let me tell you, babies are the most fun to shop for.

Love and Light.