I spent some time in Vancouver recently, and it was fantastic. However, when I stepped off the plane and hit my native soil of Prince George, I was happy to be home. Though I love the time I spend in Vancouver, I find when I get home I get a feeling of security and peace. I realize this more and more I travel around the world. I understood this feeling of security when I walked off the plane and immediately recognized many familiar faces in the airport. It was reinforced when I was driven to a local coffee shop where I knew all the baristas and many of the patrons. Afterward, I went to my bank where I knew the tellers and managers. At these three places, I realized that I got to tell my barista, my banker and the airport attendant all about my trip, and I was able to do this because it’s so easy to get to know people throughout this community.
When I was in Vancouver, I wasn’t able to have those same meaningful conversations with my coffee shop barista or bank teller cause in the major cities it’s all about the go, go, go. In Prince George, you can have that same busy urban life, but you get to know people along the way. This creates an environment where we’re happy to go out our door in the morning and explore our community. A community is so much more than affordable housing prices, good jobs, and great opportunities, though Prince George has all of that. A community is also about the people who live in it and who make a city become a community.
The natural beauty also plays a factor too. Walking in Connaught Park and overlooking the city, you can see a nature scape interwoven into a hustling urban environment; each is crucial to the other for maintaining the balance of the community. It can at times seem that one might overpower the other and vice versa. We can easily take for granted our easy access to nature, and our close community when we live in it day in and day out. I gain a new appreciation for Prince George every time I come home after a long trip.
Many of my friends have spoken over the years about wanting to find a community where the lifestyle is like the ones we see in the media: urban, busy and fun. Many of my friends have moved to communities like Vancouver, Calgary or Edmonton in search of those lifestyles. Some did find great amounts of happiness in those communities; they also found high prices, heavy competition and lack of community kinship. Many of them have come back to Prince George over the years because they could never find in those other cities what was already here; a sense of belonging and community. A city can always open a club, café or museum. The feeling a person gets when they step off a plane and into their home community and become grounded – that is a feeling that is hard to find. I found it in Prince George.