Close your eyes and imagine.
The smell of a salty breeze. The sound of waves crashing on the shore. The feeling on your fingers touching the rough bark of the trees. The taste of fresh seafood or wild berries.
Open your eyes.
You are surrounded by the diversity of the old-growth forest. Sitka spruces or red cedars makes you feel miniature. Waist-high ferns are growing on a bed of soft moss. If you turn around, as far as you can see is jade coloured ocean, gloomy clouds, or if you are lucky, a picturesque sunset. The collision between the mountains and the sea is oh so elegant, but raw.
This is Tofino.
When I first arrived to the West Coast, like so many, the beauty of the place amazed me. It was like nothing I’ve seen before. On the beach or in the forest, this place will make you feel lucky. This end of the road on Vancouver Island has something special. Unique.
But there is more than just natural charm. It was something else that struck me: the people are so beautiful. All of them. From the housekeeper to the fisherman, to the girl that serves you coffee in the morning or the surf instructor with a wetsuit tan—they all shine. It was more than their sun kissed cheeks, or their salty hair. I just quite couldn’t figure what it was that would make all these locals so pretty. Germany or Nova Scotia, Australia or Chile, Courtenay or Vancouver. The locals are from all over the world but they have something in common, the sparkle in their eye. I then asked myself : Why is everybody here pretty? How is it possible?
About 2000 people live in Tofino year-round. Rare are the ones that are from Tofino, it is mostly foreigners that made it become their home, making the decision to live in this remote place.
I did not hesitate a second. I knew I wanted to stay.
Choosing your place of living changes the way you see what’s around you. Everyday you remember that it is your decision to be here, that you made that decision for yourself. Every beach walk, sunset and rainbow is appreciated and enjoyed. You feel extremely lucky to live in this Canadian paradise. It doesn’t matter what reason brought you here, you listened to your heart. To do what you love.
Your yoga teacher, the chef that puts all his heart into every meal he cooks, your kayak guide—passion is all that matters. You are here doing what you love, and doing it with purpose.
A couple years later I made Tofino my home.
A lady I just took out on a surf lesson asked me, “What makes Tofino people so beautiful?”
I realised I now had the answer to my own question.
I simply answered, “We are happy.”
All photos by Bryanna Bradley
Have you ever traveled to Tofino, British Columbia? How was your experience there?
Up next: The Hawaii of Canada