February 7, 2014

Live Somewhere Beautiful

We can see many birds and boats from our home. This yacht left the harbour one morning last year
as the gulls slept on the sandbar. Note: yacht is not mine.

Almost a decade ago when Linda and I were planning on drastically reducing our ecological footprint, we realized that if we weren't going to be travelling, we better like were we were at. We wanted to live somewhere beautiful enough that we wouldn't want to leave.

After some brainstorming we decided that beautiful place would be on the Pacific ocean. While that is what we were asking the universe to bring us, we weren't fully expecting to have a waterfront home materialize.

But the universe works in mysterious ways, and we got what we wanted in a small apartment with large windows looking out on the ocean about 5 meters away. The apartment is small, more the size of a cozy cabin on the beach than a house in the city.

High tide in the front yard.

Size is not the only similarity to a cottage - our home, like most cottages, is situated in beautiful natural surroundings. It is a lot like a bird blind with a view of a large harbour that hosts not only bald eagles, mallards, oyster catchers, geese and other birds, but also river otters, harbour porpoises, seals, and salmon.

There is always wildlife of some sort to look at and enjoy. Just this morning we had geese and ducks eating the green grass between us and the water. It was so cold out that the birds were sitting down to eat so their frozen feet were covered and warm.

Cougars, and wolves also live here, and once we watched as a black bear ambled between us and the sea wall. And all from the comfort of our couch. Living here feels a lot like being at a cabin or cottage, or even like camping. Because of this, it has been easy to stay put - we love being here among the natural beauty and quiet.

Living in this location has helped us reduce the amount of travel we do, but I think it has helped reduce our overall spending as well. Because we enjoy the quiet life at home, we are not motivated to go out often. Going out, like travelling, means spending money, so staying put with the rest of the wildlife here is alright with us.

I am not sure if we would feel the same if we lived in the big city in a small apartment with only one window looking out at a brick wall 10 feet away (I actually looked at a place exactly like this many years ago - I passed on it).

If you can, live somewhere beautiful. It is good for the pocketbook as well as the soul.

The end of another beautiful day on the beach.


  1. I completely agree...but then there are those of us with children to consider--and the big issue of schools. We have actually been looking at a sustainable neighborhood built shoulder to shoulder, but with a huge park that includes a lake you can fish in (for the non-veg), a farmer's market every Sunday, and close proximity to the things we like to do. I never considered myself a city girl until I had kids and now want to be closer to kid-friendly activities (and also meaning far less driving). We're still undecided about it, but I have a hard time giving up a yard. I too am someone who loves being near nature and can't imagine becoming a full-fledged city girl!

    1. Megyn,

      Linda and I do not have kids, but realize that most people do. While we have an elementary school a couple of blocks away, children are not allowed in our complex as it is more senior oriented. While it is quiet, we both miss being around a mix of ages that includes kids. It feels too quiet sometimes...

      Not having a yard is a major drawback as we would love to have our own large garden near by. Our allotment at the community garden is a couple of kilometres away so I can't just step out the door while I am cooking to gather fresh ingredients.

      There are so many trade-offs to consider, but the next time we move we will look for somewhere we can grow a garden and have chickens. This will probably mean a small house on a couple of acres in a nice spot within biking distance of a small town with services like a public library.

      If there was a lake or river close by I might even take up fishing again to augment our food supply.

      The city won't be an option for us until we age more and need increased support and special services. Hopefully this won't be for a while yet.

  2. Very beautiful pictures! Easy to understand why you two don't feel the the need to travel anywhere. :)

    It reminded me of a documentary I saw on televison about identical twins sisters from China who were adopted to different parents. One family lived the busy city life in Sacramento, California and the second lived in Fresvik, a village of about 250 people in southern Norway.

    The american family's visit to the family in Norway was interesting. The nature, the mountains were overwhelmingly beautiful, the lifestyle of the inhabitants simple with a sense of rich fellowship. The influence of this on the american couple was obvious although their comments were few. I got the impression that they came there thinking they were the richer famliy but had to redefine that attitude. This documentary was not just about twins beeing reunited after some years' seperation, but about what is important in life and how different lifestyles and places influence our behavior toward each other and the quality of our life. The norwegian family did'nt even seem to be interested in visiting Sacramento...! I was planning to send a link to this documentary but it could'nt be seen on the internet outside Sweden.


    1. Anonymous2/09/2014

      If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be in Norway! But alas that isn't possible.

    2. Anonymous2/09/2014

      I've never been a city girl, but now that I am at the point of needing more help, I sometimes wish that I lived in a larger metropolitan area. Somewhere with mass transit and support services available. Beautiful nature close by a must.

    3. Eva,

      Thanks for sharing the story of the sisters - so interesting. I would like to see the documentary.

      My experience while travelling globally was similar. I met a lot of people with few possessions, but with a great deal of social capital from which to draw strength, support, and love. They were happy in their simple lives (just like we can be).

      In the west we have chosen material possessions over family and community, although it is not entirely our fault - social control through consumerism was a well thought out plan by those who profit from our zombification.

      All the evidence is there, and has been for thousands of years - love, community, and nature are more important than stuff.

      "Life in common among people who love each other is the ideal of happiness."

      - George Sand

    4. Miss Marla,

      Cities do have their advantages. Our town has 10,000 people and services are limited. Thankfully our public library is great.

  3. This was what I found about the documentary I mentioned above.


  4. "... social control through consumerism was a well thought out plan by those who profit from our zombification" Ha! So sad but true.

    Your view is gorgeous. It is a shame that in the U.S. we have to sacrifice community and social services to live in a place with some natural beauty.


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