Wow, just back from four days of complete sunshine, ocean fresh air and local produce. We had an excellent time doing our research (aka holiday) for our future home. We have made a final decision, instead of settling down in Parksville we are moving slightly further north to the Courtenay Comox Valley. This area has its own small but very efficient airport(which hubby will use if he chooses to consult across Canada and the kids can fly to see us) and it is the fourth fastest growing area in North America. The twin cities boast a population of 60,000 and services like Costco, Canadian Tire, Superstore, Safeway, and many lovely local shopping stores as well.
Why did we change our mind?
We are not yet seniors. We would like a slightly younger population while at the same time experiencing slightly lower real estate prices. We connected with a realtor and even found the exact neighborhood we want to live in. 10 minute drive to local free beaches, scallops, oysters and salmon all local and within 1/2 hour. Farms abound, I could even try out a 100 mile local diet and survive happily here. We grazed on local peas (still producing even this late), apricots and apples. This area is certainly great for novice gardeners like me. IF YOU PLANT IT IT WILL GROW HERE.
Down the road if we feel like working employment is much better in this area due to non-dependance on one industry. There is a large military base here, forestry, farming and aquaculture harvesting plus tourism thrown into the mix. Winters are similar to the rest of Vancouver Island with 10 to 15 inches of snow per winter (usually one or two dumps followed by rain which washes it away), large amounts of rain in November, December and January and moderate beautiful Spring, Summer and Fall.
Although we don't live on a budget now (other than my grocery limitation) we made up a "tight budget" for our first year of unemployment a "loose budget" for when we obtain part-time work doing whatever it is we want to do. I am starting to get excited now.
I could not believe the bucketfulls of free blackberries everywhere we looked even saw free crabapples growing wild on one beach. I certainly will be taking advantage of nature's free food out there.
If everything goes by the plan we will be living on the island by summer 2012.
Finally, we are realizing the dream of living in our little slice of paradise.