Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

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I have been asked countless times how I could possibly live on an island with no stores. The implication being that stores are the great reason to continue living in the city… No one has ever asked me how I could live on an island with no theatre, hockey rink or restaurants.. If they did, then I might answer that there are indeed things I sometimes miss about the city.

Over the years we usually had season tickets to the Arts Club, would spend our unused travel dollars on Canuck tickets and were partial to good Greek food on a night out. We lived in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and we enjoyed what it had to offer while we had it.. The variety of stores and opportunities to shop were never part of that enjoyment.

I sat on the deck yesterday talking with a friend. E was working on his wife’s computer and they were inside. Now this friend would be the first to admit we have had our difficulties finding topics on which we agree. We come from very different back grounds and have led very different lives, yet here we are enjoying the shade of the deck on a perfectly lovely afternoon.

On this island, the residents have come from all over the world (this friend included) and they all continue to like to travel. They come from every possible occupation and everyone (but E and I) seems to have led such interesting lives. E and I often have nothing to contribute to conversations until they get back to septic or compost.

But yesterday, yesterday.. My friend and I came upon the most unlikely of common ground in our conversation. We were discussing how there really isn’t much that we need. No reason to shop.. If we did go to a store, there is nothing we could conceivably add to our lives that we are missing which would make this life better. But then as if at the same moment we said, but shoes, we could really use some new shoes!!!

I cannot tell you how hard this island is on shoes. Walking all day, every day on rock and gravel takes its toll. When we walk the dogs at night I can feel every rock and every pebble through the sole of my shoe. E shoes are worn through too, and so apparently are my friends.

Now I can see the purpose of a store. A building which you could go into and leave with something reliable for your feet.

Now island shoes have requirements. They need to be slip on. We are constantly in and out of our friends houses. No one likes to take the time to tie laces in a crowd at the door as you are leaving a get together.

Good tread. The shoes have to have good tread for jumping on and off boats. Walking up and down slippery docks and rocky shores can be perilous if you can’t rely on your foot wear for stability.

If not water proof they need to be mud proof. Canvass isn’t going to do the trick when walking down the river bed that is my driveway in the winter. Sure I have gum boots and they are fine sometimes.. But I am talking… walking around shoes..

Stylin, they gotta look good when heading into the city for groceries. I can’t be seen hanging out at the Save On cashier in gum boots. It’s bad enough I am head to toe dressed in flannel. I have some standards!

So my friend and I commiserated with each other as to where will we find such a shoe…. As E and the wife finished with the computer, the husband and I finished our conversation.  I told him E and I hoped to get some Blundstones in Vancouver next month. I promised to tell my friend where we are able to find them and if they fit the bill.  Whether its your septic system, truck alternator, or footwear…… on this island if you find the solution to a problem,

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Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

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