It is 7am in the morning here, and the view outside the large bay windows is a deep and steady grey. A blue oyster house sits perched at the end of the boardwalk, the sea still. Now I cannot see the mountains, but I know they are there – blue and misty, and on particularly perfect days, touched with snow.
Vancouver Island is paradise – lush, wild, more untamed than any part of Canada I have so far encountered. On the drive up, our bus driver—a bearded man with a slight drawl and a beaded necklace, the kind you find on surfers—says: Welcome to the Tofino Express, ladies and gentlemen. I don’t care what they say; I still find that name funny. His sense of humour is acerbic but easy (I once met a strange man on this bus. He was very serious when he said he was both Buddha and Jimi Hendrix in his past lives. Pretty impressive for a kid from Milwaukee. But who I am to judge? I could be wrong – it has certainly been known to happen.). Tofino is much like that: small, touristy and laid-back, but with depth beneath its veneer, if even that depth is only offered by its sheer natural beauty.
I’ve spent most of today in this room, soaking up the pattering skies and the hardwood floors and rustic furniture. When I first arrived, no one was down, but now I have been joined by an assortment of people reading books or kindles, writing emails or just staring out at the vast wide sea, cup of tea in hand, taking it in. The effect is calming. I had expected blue skies and hard sun (roasting me as it did in Jericho) but this is as – if not more – beautiful. I feel like a sailor, or a woman given a lighthouse of her own, equipped with everything I need: tea, chocolate, beauty and a crystalline solitude. Perhaps owning a lighthouse is the way forward.