Loobylu and the Salish Sea

Oh – hello! It’s been quiet here, I know. But I promise you, my mind has been alive with thoughts and fantasies and true adventures.

You see, we have been busy concocting a plan… a wild and wondrous plan. It goes a little like this:

Pack up our house.

Pack up our family.

Fly across the ocean.

Get on board a boat.

Travel to an island.

Find a house by the ocean/in a forest/in a big garden.

Set up our house.

Grow plants, children and adventure.

So it sounds bonkers. BONKERS, I know, and like a total dream.

But quite unbelievably, it’s all about to come true.

It’s amazing for me to think that just eight weeks ago it wasn’t even in our minds. I was going about washing the spuds, stretching my legs in pilates, clicking and dragging in photoshop or checking my email thinking “here is my life, this is what I do, and these are the familiar steps we will follow into the future – plod plod plod”.

Don’t get me wrong, plodding is very nice most of the time – I do like to plod. I am a dreamer, but I am also a “change? What? change NOW? Are you crazy? No way! Screeeech!” kind of girl. I like plodding about in my ugg boots, making bread, illustrating a bit here and there, tucking my kids into bed with a kiss on the nose, but I also spend ridiculous amounts of time (as regular readers of loobylu might have noticed) thinking that there is some other kind of life for us out there. One that I would have plotted out as a fourteen year old, or even a seventeen year old – or even a 23 year old. One filled with wonder and surprise.

This was on my mind one quiet evening, while I sat at my computer in my ugg boots, and Google presented me with an alternative reality.

Phil had just returned from a work trip feeling good having been out walking in the world. We had one of those conversations that we have from time to time while washing the dishes after the kids are in bed – you know the one: “We could be anywhere – so why are we here? Life’s so short. Why aren’t we living in Byron Bay? Why aren’t we living on a mountain top? Why aren’t we building that eco-house in the woods? Why aren’t we doing any of the things we thought we might one day, because you know, we’d better hurry up with that, time might run out – because ‘one day’ is sort of right now…”.

And quietly we acknowledged that it simply came down to that big burly, bugger of a word – “fear”. Fear of making a mistake, of taking a risk, of missing my parents, of losing our friends, of screwing up the kids, of losing all our money and any prospect of making any more, of it being less than what we hoped, of being too idealistic and not grown up enough.


Eventually we were going to have to come to the conclusion that all of those totally fabricated concerns are kind of a lame reason not to do something new. Maybe it is a risk. Maybe all of those things might happen.  Maybe maybe maybe.  I don’t want to be 80 and wish I had done something and think “well, I was too scared and I missed that totally bonkers adventure – and it might have been awesome.”

Luckily we are at stage in our lives when things are flexible enough with work and children that we can consider such a big upheaval. In so many ways it would be a shame not to take advantage of our opportunities. The idea to be closer to Phil’s work, closer to Phil’s family, and the idea that we should have an enormous adventure started to develop.

So as I said, I sat down at my computer in my ugg boots. All I did was google a very simple fantasy, adventure scenario and it (plus so much more) was presented to me: a tiny island in British Columbia full of artists, hippies, ocean, forests, organic farms, markets… The more I looked and explored, the more amazing and right it all seemed. Everyone I emailed or spoke to who knew anything about this place said “it’s a fabulous spot.” Everything I could think of that we might need seemed to be right there. Sensible things: Hospitals? Check. Choice of schools? Check. Not too cold? Check! No drought? Check. High speed internet connection? Check. And the indulgent, extra things: Beautiful scenery? Abundant! Interesting, like-minded people? Check. Interesting houses? Check. Close enough to big cities for big-city adventures and big-city friends? Not too far at all. Right down to the little things: Fresh french macarons? Check. Sushi? Fresh daily. Quilt/yarn shop? Check. Good soil for vegies? Check. This has to be an adventure with comforts after all! Everything I have read about it makes it seem as though it’s The Land of Delights at the top of the Faraway Tree.

Last week (because the universe has obviously decided to help us out with our mad plan) we set out on a reconnaissance mission – boarded several planes and a boat and found ourselves right in the middle of this Land of Delights – and it was almost completely as I had hoped.

We found a house in a forest on a mountain with a view of a lake and the sea and the mountains beyond, (and the sparkling lights of distant North Vancouver at night). We enrolled AJ in a school, and we met internet friends and made new ones (small island = enthusiastically friendly people) and now we have come home to pack up our house and organise ourselves and then we head off again in August.

There will be much to miss about Australia – friends and family being the biggest things for me – but I keep telling myself that we still need to try this, as I have always imagined that this is the stuff of which life is made. Right?

PS. The illustration? Yes! Bears! They might be one of the very few drawbacks. I know googling bears is just like someone moving to Australia googling poisonous spiders, snakes and sharks. I know that I am being silly, but seriously – when you read a website from the local area where you are looking which says “if attacked by a Grizzly bear, protect your head and play dead” I do get just a little nervous. Fortunately it seems grizzly bears are not the bears which turn up on our magical island – mostly it seems to be the very occasional black bear and “black bears are more afraid of you than you are afraid of them” is a very comforting statement. Somewhere in a forest right now, a bear is reading Loobylu and seeing that we are coming to stay and it’s sweating bullets.

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170 Responses

  1. Karen says:

    Congratulations Claire to you and Phil on taking the plunge and doing something so grand and spectacular. I am awed that you have the chance to be able to do something that many of us wish we could do ourselves but are always holding back due to fear.It’ll be a bit sad to say goodbye to Australia but I’m looking forward to reading about your new adventures in British Columbia.

  2. Danya says:

    That sounds like an awfully big adventure.Goodluck! xxx

  3. Renee says:

    Your own little Moomin clan moving to Moominland. It sounds like it was meant to be…Have a wonderful adventure and please, please take lots of photos and keep posting to your blog.

  4. frog says:

    Congratulations! It’s a big brave and beautiful decision. I’m looking forward to following the adventure.

  5. victoria says:

    I’m glad it went so well, I’ve been checking in for an update. I admire you and Phil, and the girls of course, how are they with it. I have all the worries you do about doing something, but equally about the not doing. We found a house we love to buy that’s for auction on Saturday. It’s a lot more money, which makes decisions for us, and as much as we love the house, we’re not sure. I know you can get rid of these things, but for us, for all we went, we want the flexibility to choose something else without having to shed kilos of “stuff”, real and otherwise.Can’t wait to see more, pictures etc. We never did get coffee here, perhaps we’ll have it there …. I’m envious.

  6. theresa says:

    How exciting! And bears are fun–dont’cha know? Good for you for being so adventurous. Wishing you guys all the best in your new home!

  7. Miss K says:

    good luck! hooray for you all!

  8. Lillabilly says:

    Oh I’m so glad you’re back – I’ve missed you! I would LOVE to move to Canada so, well done!! I can’t wait to see some photos of your new place in the world. How daring and exciting and completely wonderful!

  9. Amy says:

    This is my first visit to your blog but it was obviously meant to be….I love this and it is exactly what my husband and I have been toying with but haven’t made the leap…this was a perfect little push. Right down to the fact that we have been talking about British Columbia for years! Look forward to reading more about your adventure!

  10. Emma says:

    I have followed your blog for years and I find it so weird that I am too moving to British Columbia from Melbourne in August!! I will be in North Vancouver. That’s just weird!Good luck with your move Claire and family. All the best.

  11. Tali says:

    wow! that’s a big adventure all right! Good on you!!! I think we all grapple with this feeling to some extent… Good luck!I ran straight into a black bear on my first trip to the US. My second day in a national park, and there’s a bear just a few meters away looking right at me! It was amazing! If you do meet one, clap and make lots of noise! Don’t do what i did. I just stood there saying “hey look, there’s a bear!”

    Luckily he ran away. 🙂

  12. I take my hat off to your courage. Its agreat move. I did the same when I became a single parent in 1980. Moved to a commune in Denmark WA and finally to Margaret River. It was a great adventure and the best move I could have made for my son. Met my new husband, entered new adventures travelling and living in Nor West WA as country teachers and finally retired back in Margaret River. I would not change a thing. cheers Chrissy

  13. Steven Herod says:

    I’ve followed your blog for years, back when Phil was ‘Big-P’ and before you guys were even married.I wish you all the best for a fantastic new chapter in your lives!

  14. Olivia says:

    How very, very inspiring; I will certainly enjoy watching your new adventures unfold!(… and after years of reading loobylu, I’m pleased we’ll finally be in the same time zone!) 🙂


  15. sooz says:

    Very inspiring, you will without doubt have a fantastic adventure. We are all very jealous and look forward to some heavy duty blogging about what you see and find and who you meet so those of us who can’t go adventuring can at least dream along with you. Happy trails!

  16. amy k. says:

    so exciting!! I am so happy for you guys!! and you MUST visit down south to Portland soon, you know 🙂

  17. sophie says:

    Good on you for breaking through the fear. What you are doing is fantastic. And, given I don’t really know you this will be strange – but you’ll be missed. Tweet and blog hard.

  18. Alanna says:

    What a wonderful adventure! I have the joy of living just outside Vancouver and dream about moving to the Island (and I’m so close!). But for now I love it as my little getaway spot.You will not regret it!

    There is nothing like the comfort of a latte on a rainy day, for which there will be many 😉

    Bears like cappuccinos, that’s a fact, you can google it.

  19. bowb says:

    omg, claire. i’ve been following your tweets over the last couple of weeks, kind of in awe of your sudden adventure. to know that it all came together in two weeks is completely mind-blowing. just considering moving to *melbourne* from sydney is making me clenchy and twitchy, because of the FEAR OF CHANGE. i hope you have a wonderful time! all the best!! 🙂

  20. pip says:

    I am so happy for you.This is going to be great.It is.Can’t wait to follow your adventures, Claire.xxx

  21. Jacqui says:

    Oh wow! I’m not sure if you’re talking about the Gulf Islands or Vancouver Island but who cares, what a gorgeous part of the world! I used to do bike tour in and around there when I was still living in Canada and I fell in love. Saltspring Island was magical… Best of luck, I’m excited for you!

  22. girlprinter says:

    I’m hoping that you and Keri Smith are moving to the exact same island! Congratulations, Claire you’ve always been an inspiration to me.

  23. Kirsten says:

    Oh, I am so curious about which island. Bowen? My husband and I got married on Saltspring, and I lived on Gabriola for a couple of dreamy summers. We love living on the west coast, and while living in Vancouver is wonderful, I dream of moving to an island. I am so excited to follow your adventures, and if you are ever in the city and want to go for coffee or sushi, let me know!

  24. Rachel says:

    Wow- what an adventure! It sounds so amazing, I hope everything goes well for you all, and I can’t wait to read about your new experiences on the other side of the world!

  25. Kristen says:

    That. Is. Amazing. I wish you all the best and please post photos of this amazing place.

  26. Lizz says:

    I have been following your tweets too. SO exciting, and scary, but sounds like so much fun!

  27. Frogdancer says:

    OMG!I’m sitting in front of my year 9 class while they’re working on their computers and I thought I’d have a quick check of my Google Reader.

    Good on you! Your head must be spinning… 2 weeks is a very quick turnaround… but you’re right. You have to do adventures while you’re young. Have a wonderful time!

    How long are you going for?

  28. Dan says:

    Canada! Welcome! Shame it’s not Ottawa, you could come and see one of your pieces on our wall. Nevertheless…. Canada! Congratulations on the big move.

  29. iheartnewyork says:

    how very exciting! I hope you’ll live on the same island as another of my favorite bloggers: http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/ (or at least close by). can’t wait to read about your new adventures. good luck with the move!

  30. Absquatulate says:

    Oh Claire! If you hadn’t prefaced your description of your new digs with Canada, I would have thought you were moving to the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts, USA 🙂 Congratulations on your new, big adventure. It’s only when we stop to stare fear in the eye that we really grow. Good luck over the next few weeks!((hugs))

  31. Ammie says:

    Hooray! Congratulations on that very grand adventure. Enjoy the loveliness and the thrills, especially the bears! :PI grew up in rattle snake and bear country. Amazing how easy it can be to survive and even get along together. 😉

  32. Lindsay says:

    you are going to LOVE BC!Have a great trip over here.


  33. Mel says:

    Claire, this is super exciting and I think you are so ‘right’ to take a leap and have this fantastic, excellent, super adventure. I can’t wait to follow your adventures. And you know Australia is always going to be here for you if you decide to come home! Travel well!

  34. lexi says:

    I am completely covered in goosebumps. And it’s not because I am cold. How freaking exciting! I am so stoked for you, how freaking fantastic! I can’t wait to hear of your adventure, and hopefully plant some seeds in my husband’s mind.. he seems to think life doesn’t exist outside Sydney. Kills me! I hate Sydney! I am so darn excited for you, sounds like a bountiful adventure.

  35. Anna @ D16 says:

    I am so, SO excited for you and Phil and the girls, Claire. This is amazing and inspiring and wonderful.!!!! (!!!!)

  36. Melanie says:

    Congratulations On your Big Adventure. The Gulf Islands are a really really fabulous place although, it rains a lot and the ferries start to get to you after a bit and it is a lot colder than Australia and … OK I’ll shut up because the good things outweigh the bad. It is, after all Canada, the best country in the world to live in. I’m qualified to say that because as well as Canada I’ve lived in Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, England and I’ve traveled to Europe, the USA and India.I can only imagine how excited you, Phil and the girls must be. I’m looking forward to reading all about it on your blog.

  37. sarah says:

    Oh Claire!I am so thrilled for you! I have been following your blog for years, and it’s so exciting getting to see you take the leap into a great new life. Amazing!


    PS. I live in Alberta and am hoping one day I will come to your island and might magically bump into you. You know, being the magical place that it is.

  38. Shannon Zoellner-Cavin says:

    good luck, BC was beautiful when we visited on our honeymoon. I would love to live there, but I’m still sorta in the fear stage. Just got back and settled from nearly 2 years in the UK. But I thought BC was wonderful and a near perfect destination.

  39. mylene says:

    the bear has an ipad! ahhh.. now i am kicking myself for not visiting you in melbourne before you guys leave! ahh.. i hope the universe devise something too! like many readers, you have been a big part of my life, claire! a GREAT inspiration! and now, again! wow.. big hugs to all of u!

  40. linsey says:

    Congratulations! I’ve been following your blog for years from here in B.C. Can’t wait to read about your adventures. That part of the province is fabulous.

  41. teresa says:

    This is so great. I’ve read your blog for years now, I think since I was at high school (8 years ago!) and I will be very excited to keep following you guys on your new adventure!

  42. Jenny says:

    oh CRIKEY! that’s AMAZING!! (sorry my heads talking in capitals with excitment) … congratulations, how fabulous and WOW. and I am jealous and so full of admiration … just WOW.Good on you and Phil and the kids will love it.

  43. Viv says:

    *thumbs up!*Congrats Claire! How long are you thinking you’ll be there for, or is it for ‘the foreseeable future’? As an earlier commenter mentioned, I’d freak out just thinking about moving within Australia, let alone overseas. Good on you!


  44. Christie says:

    It will be an amazing adventure Claire & you are right, life is short so you have to make it what you want it to be RIGHT NOW!Hope there’s a good hotel on your island, may have to bring the family over for a visit to scare some bears!

  45. Leanne says:

    Congrats – Saltspring is wonderful. I have been an avid reader of your blog for many, many years – I cannot believe that you are moving around the world and into the province (I live in Vancouver)! I hope that our paths can cross.Leanne

  46. Jo says:

    Claire I wish you and your family a hugely successful adventure to the other side of the world. We took our young family overseas for four years and it was the experience of a lifetime. Problem is I’ve always been addicted to change and it’s time to settle for a while so I’ll have to find some other ways to keep my feet planted on the ground for a while.Not sure if you’ve come across Gil in your online travels, she’s in that area too, very talented individual!http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhembein/

  47. shannon says:

    Ill miss you robbo and look forward to some sporadic blogging from the other side of the globe. And just to warn you – if you turn vegan in your grassy tree filled patch Ill run you over in my 4WD. Promise.

  48. Kate says:

    Inspirational Claire and a conversation we have here in our house on a weekly basis.Best of luck and I look forward to following your adventure.

    Love x Kate

  49. Kirsty says:

    Yep life’s for living. I’m glad you’re packing your little bags & living yours…(i am however flat as a tack that you’re going – will miss you dreadfully & hope that you decide that the bats of our burbs are better than the bear alternative) xxx

  50. Cristy says:

    Oh how fun! I am looking forward to reading about your adventures. It does sound like The Land of Delights. Or maybe The Land of Live How You Want?Just last week my partner and I had a similar conversation to the one you describe above and hatched a plan to get rid of most of our stuff and to go and volunteer in Laos (where we lived, and volunteered 5 years ago). I’m so excited about facing our fears and really living our dreams.

  51. leilani says:

    AH! That’s so cool! And don’t worry too much about the black bears, I live across the mountains from where you’ll be and have run into a fair few in the spring or in berry patches – they’re fine and they hate loud talkers, so talk & sing loud and lots, whistling works too! They back right off. Grizzlies are less easily frightened, but they’re quite shy, and the hump is a dead giveaway. Horses are good at fighting off bears too (a big guy named Moose went after the last bear on the ranch – poor litttle bear got knocked out).Anyway, you’ll see more deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk and maybe a few moose in your area than you will bears, plus maybe some cats (cougars) and lots of coyotes. (though coyotes are total cowards – we used to ‘hunt’ them as kids, your girls will have a blast!)


  52. OK, so I’m fluctuating between deep deep envy and being totally and utterly stoked for you.I would sooner do this than simply move interstate or to a different city.

    Maybe we’ll join you in a couple of years?

  53. Liesl says:

    Good on you – what an ace adventure! I loved everything about life in Canada. Its a fabulous place to live.Enjoy!

  54. Jenny says:

    Wow, what big news I, too, am curious as to which island it is. I have family on Salt Spring, and the island you describe matches except for the sushi — there’s not really any sushi restaurants on Salt Spring, weirdly.Good luck with the move, and welcome to Canada! There may be bears here, but you can look forward to not being as afraid of spider or snake bites anymore.

  55. innerpickle says:

    HOORAY for you! Living the dream, that’s so damn exciting. xxx

  56. wow. wow wow. that is so cool. and inspiring (i’m sure i’m not the first person to say that!). how brave of you and yours! i hope one day i can do that too.my parents shifted my siblings and i to the UK for a year when we were kids. and it worked out great and i have such fond memories. your girls will love it!

  57. Judy Edmonds says:

    Good luck. You make it sound so easy. Having done similar things as both a child and an adult (though not to islands with bears on them, admittedly!) I know that it is far from easy. However nothing worthwhile ever is – and it will certainly be worthwhile.

  58. Samone says:

    Claire, this sounds like the best thing ever for you and your family – well done on being brave!xx

  59. Leah says:

    How wonderful! I do hope you’ll blog the adventures that you find…

  60. kath says:

    oh so wonderfully bonkers – you crazy carefree gal – go on a wonderful adventure it sounds unreal and real and just so crazy exciting I am almost peeing my pants for you.K

  61. Anna says:

    I wish you and your fam a wonderful adventure in a beautiful new world! Feel free to come down and visit a fellow island dweller (Bainbridge Island, off the coast from Seattle) sometime!

  62. I was lucky enough to visit Vancouver Island and stay in Nanaimo for a few weeks when I was a teenager. It truly is lovely. I’m not sure which island it is you’re going to (I’m guessing!) but it is ALL lovely, as you know yourself now.Congratulations on making this decision. I wish you many happy adventures, and I hope you keep us up to date here on the blog with how it goes.


  63. melissa says:

    What an amazing adventure for your family! You will create such fantastic memories for the girls.Enjoy yourselves – but watch out for those bears. 😉

  64. Sandra says:

    Congrats on the daring move!I’ve been wanting to do something similar for awhile, so next year I’m going to sniff Vancouver out and see if I can find the warm fuzzy feeling that everyone talks about 🙂

  65. Wonderful! Sounds like it’ll will be a wonderful move for you all! Enjoy every minute. May you love where settle and thrive! Honestly, Claire, you are such a great writer!

  66. Nichola says:

    OH WOW! What an adventure you are about to start! I totally agree, you’ve got to go for it and pursue your ideas and dreams while you can otherwise you’ll be old and grey and wondering why you didn’t give it a go.Good luck and i’ll be here reading all about your adventures with the bear. ;)xx

  67. Pippa says:

    Oh Claire! Oh Canada!That is totally exciting and brave and also, a very sensible thing to do. Because, nothing is more sensible than doing things that make you happy and grow and thrive!

    Maple Syrup and Mountains and Adventures and Bears! Oh My!

  68. Kelly says:

    Wow, I got goosebumps reading your post! How utterly wonderful and amazing. You guys are so brave to be doing something most people only ever daydream about – but there are going to be so many wonderful adventures in store for you.I can’t wait to hear about them. Bon voyage and happy travels, family Loobylu!

    xx kelly

  69. monda says:

    wow, wow and wow!It’s not the same at all, but I recently left my ‘safe’ job of 10 years to strike out on my own, and I’m seriously not looking back. It felt right so I did it, and you have too – great stuff!I look forward to reading more about your adventures.


  70. Krissy says:

    I lived in Vancouver for 2 years (before heading back home to Perth) and gosh I really miss that beautiful place. You and your family are going to love it there. Best of luck!

  71. Jennifer says:

    Claire, you might not remember this, but several years ago, you wrote to me about the possibility of taking just this kind of adventure. I know what you mean about time that keeps on ticking, into a future that you really do have a chance to change. Wishing you the best on your big move.

  72. librarygirl says:

    An Awfully Big Adventure!Excellent!Melbourne will still be here if you decide to come back.Meanwhile – have a life-changing experience…why ever not?All the best to you and your family.

  73. pilgrim says:

    wow. the term ‘inspiring’ is bandied about far too often in blog comments, but THIS is seriously inspiring. i wish you guys so much luck and i really can’t wait to hear what happens next. watch out bears!

  74. Kirsty says:

    Three cheers for you all! Amazing, wonderful, inspiring. (Deep breath) I am a firm believer that life is what you make of it. You will be missed though. Can AJ be Ella’s overseas pen pal?

  75. Cat says:

    What a wonderful example you are setting for your little people. Congrats on the move.I must admit to secretly dreaming of a change of this nature myself and we’d have to take my Mum or I’d suffocate.

    Looking forward to hearing about all your grand adventures with the Saucepan Man. xo

  76. Laura says:

    Good for you!What’s life for, after all?

    Best of luck, it MUST be the right thing to do. Enjoy, enjoy, ENJOY!!!!!

  77. Lina says:

    Wow! Congratulations! This is going to be amazing!Don’t forget to keep us posted:)

  78. Wonderful, live your dreams!

  79. Mousy Brown says:

    How exciting to go off and do your dream adventure – I look forward to reading all about it and wishing I was there too! 😀

  80. Wheeeee!!!! Let the Adventure begin!

  81. ~~Melissa says:

    This is so inspiring. I’m guessing you’ve inspired a lot of people here to ramp up their dreams as well. In case anyone wants to snoop around housing prices in Canada, this is helpful: http://www.realtor.ca/index.aspx. You can enter any location and then zoom in to see all the listings. Best wishes on your move and I hope you’ll be able to keep us updated here.

  82. Erin says:

    Good Luck on your adventure! How exciting. Maybe someday I will have the guts to do the same 🙂

  83. Leonie says:

    Sounds like a wonderful plan. Good on you two for having the guts to follow through despite the fear. I think your magical island will reward you for it! 🙂

  84. tulip says:

    Amazing and inspiring. I wish you all so well! I know it’s going to be a wonderful adventure!xoxo

  85. beth maher says:

    I’m so very excited for you to come live in my country, even if it is on the other side of it. You’ll love it there, everyone does!Ooh, and you’ll be close by to Seattle and Portland too – which are both sooooo lovely. Even California is not too far away.

    You take a break for awhile and get moved and settled, but then you better start blogging about all your adventures again!

  86. Sheila says:

    I’ve also been following you for YEARS from Vancouver. Welcome! The Islands are lovely. We vacation on Galiano and Salt Spring and have vague dreams of retiring there, but that seems so far off – amazing for you to plunge right in. Inspiring!Sheila

  87. Megan says:

    Wow!!! How exciting! I’ve been reading your blog forever and this is such good news! What a thrill this will all be. The BC area is so enticing! I’ve always wanted to go there myself and we are planning a trip there next year. You’ve really inspired me and I’m really looking forward to hearing about all your adventures in the new land!!

  88. Amy says:

    This is so wonderful! I, too, have been following you since Phil was Big-P. I’m so excited for you guys. To new adventures and stories!

  89. Ani says:

    Welcome to the northern hemisphere!So inspiring, wishing you and your little fam all the best…

  90. Yvette says:

    My mind wanders and wonder what it would be like to live ‘here’, ‘here’ and ‘here’… I have moved several times in the last 20 years, but not quite as far or as big a move as you and family are doing. I’m past the age where picking up and going is not easy anymore … but the mind still wanders and wonders.The best of luck in your new endeavor, and please take pictures, take pictures and take pictures.


  91. Kate says:

    This is such inspiring news!! Congratulations – this sounds thrilling and life-changing in a wonderfully brave way.My parents packed up us kids when we were 14, 8 and 5 and went to Europe for 6 months. Adventures like you wouldn’t believe and we still talk of them all the time and with great fondness.Yay for new adventures!

  92. Oh my goodness, you are moving to my country!You will be so happy on an island in BC.Is it Galiano??

    All the best to you and your family, Claire!

  93. Kelly says:

    Oh how wonderful! Welcome to the Pacific Northwest! So glad to hear your news.

  94. jenny V. says:

    WELCOME to our (close) neck of the woods!! Hopefully you will make a jaunt to Seattle too! (Reading this reminds me of my feelings when we decided to just pick up our lives and move to South America… just because! I wanted to tell you that it was teh easiest move we ever made – and the MOST fun! ADVENTURE!)Happy trails!

  95. Lianne says:

    I’ve been following you forever, too, Claire. And while I will miss your accounts of life down under, I am giving you a big welcoming hug. I live on Vancouver Island – give me a shout if you want to explore beyond your island.And thank you for giving me a wonderful perspective – nothing like someone describing your life as their idea of a great adventure to make you stop and appreciate it more.

  96. Claire says:

    Hi ClaireI too have followed your blog for a long time, way back before you were a mother, when Phil was Big-P!

    This is so exciting for you and your family, and how incredibly brave of you to put the fears to bed and bite off a great big chunk of adventure!

    Good luck, I hope you will continue to blog and keep us all updated!


  97. Ashley F. says:

    Congratulations on, as they say, just DOING it. Australia is the only foreign country hubby and I have visited together, and we often joke about just packing up our lives and moving across the ocean to be somewhere entirely new. We don’t have the cajones to follow through–what about his job? (I’m always changing jobs–he’s only ever worked at one company his entire life.) What about our friends? What what what if if if but but but. I hope that one day in the not-too-distant future we just jump into the deep end the way you guys are and find ourselves bobbing along happily on a family adventure of epic proportions.Best of luck on the move!

  98. whitecraft says:

    OMG! You’re really jumping out there. Wow. Congratulations. It sounds soooooooooooooooo good.

  99. melinda says:

    its so awesome and inspiring what you are doing.ive read your blog for years and identified with your ugg boot wearing sometimes illustrator etc way of life. i never expected to read a post like this from you and i love that.best wishes to you and your family on your new adventure and thankyou for opening my eyes a little wider…

  100. Francesca says:

    How exciting – and incredibly inspiring! I can’t wait to hear all about your new adventures! xo

  101. kirsten says:

    Wishing you the best! I’m from British Columbia…are you by any chance relocating to Salt Spring Island? I’ve been there and it’s fantastic!Lovely, lovely…what a wonderful adventure!

  102. Fran says:

    Lions and Tigers and Claire(s). OH NO!

  103. Viv says:

    I wondered what had happened to you! Which island? We looked at Bowen Island a few years ago (my husband is Canadian) and it’s definitely part of our future plans. We live in Hong Kong (for 20+ years) and are about to pack it all up and move to the countryside in Wales next month. If not now, then when – that’s my motto. Seize the day. Looking forward to many more Loobylu adventures and good luck to you all.

  104. janet says:

    I’m so excited for you Claire! Yours was one of the blogs I read in high school and now I’m 27 (!!). Wishing you all the very best – can’t wait to read how it goes! xo

  105. Felix says:

    Dear Loobylu,My wife is one of those blog lurkers and she lurks on your blog. Moments ago, I received a single line email telling me that you were leaving.

    So, On behalf of my darling wife, Congratulations on heading out on this adventure! I hope that the mountains have got some sort of Internet Connection so you can keep on posting to your lovely blog (I too do peruse it from time to time ^_^)

    You have also inspired me (possibly Ms. Lurker as well) to get off my behind and live life!

    FelixP.S. I am sure that you can get some sort of repellent spray for bears… or is that for flies?

  106. amanda says:

    Claire,I moved from Sydney to Vancouver last year.It’s a beautiful place.I’m yet to see a bear.All is good hehe

  107. Eerika says:

    Oh my, what a wonderful adventure you have ahead of you! I’m so excited for you all!No matter what the future might hold, you made the right decision, theres nothing worse than wondering what could have been if you never take the leap.

  108. pinry says:

    How wonderful! I’ve always found you inspiring, but this really takes the cake! So great for you and great for the kids. Sounds perfect. Hope you keep blogging… Jx

  109. Cath W says:

    Went camping on Salt Spring – wonderful.Have a happy life!

  110. Sarj says:

    That is such fabulous, fabulous news!!! Well done you for taking your fear, throwing it out the window, and living your dreams!I’m about to do the same – I leave Australia in less than two weeks!

    Excitement supreme!!


  111. Jo says:

    YEY for you! Why wouldn’t you, hey? Enjoy the Northern hemisphere and keep us posted…

  112. Lil says:

    That is sooooo fantastic! Congratulations on making your dreams a reality. So very inspiring. Challenging your ‘fear’ is such a major step in your life…a fantastic role model for your children as well…I’ll enjoy catching up on your adventures abroad through your blog…Hoping the transition goes smoothly.

  113. Helen says:

    Wow thats amazing! Love it! Just make sure you share your adventures in beautiful BC with us! Hope the move goes very smoothly x

  114. Michelle says:

    Loobylu was the first blog I ever read and started me blogging!!I wish you all the best – you will have an amazing adventure.Fifteen years ago I spent a couple of weeks on Saltspring Island and it was pure heaven. I often think of the realestate agent there that were selling neighbouring islands (and not for millions) – and wish I had been able to buy one. Whenever I think of escaping with my family – it is always to one of the photos I saw at that realestate.


  115. Kim says:

    Wow, congrats on the move! I’ve always wanted to move there, myself! On the bears. Just bring pepper spray. Bears HATE pepper spray. One little puff and they will stay far away. Good luck!

  116. Hilary says:

    Wow! Hooray for you! We are also talking about moving to a new place, and we are also struggling with “fear.” I feel totally inspired to take another look at the scary things and think maybe they will be an adventure after all.good luck–and GO YOU!

  117. Ana says:

    Congrats!!!!! Happy move!

  118. Lorraine Carlton says:

    Wow – go girl and go all your family. Knowing that I would always be too timid to make this kind of change, I will follow your blog and dream, dream. Can’t wait to hear more…Lorraine

  119. Emjie says:

    Oh my! Oh my! Oh my! Oh my! Okay, feeling quite emotional right now. It might have a little to do with the glass of red wine I have been sipping. But mostly it is reading your entry.I am so, so excited about the plunge you guys are taking. It is great to have a change. As someone who grew up being posted between RAAF bases, I know how scary the change can be, but also exciting when you’re open to the change.On a more selfish note, I am sad. I guess I had believed that one day I would get to meet you. But probably not now. Oh, well! Safe and happy journey to you and your family. And please continue your blogs. Say hello to the bears, I hear they like picnic baskets.

  120. Vreni says:

    Congratulations on making a life changing decision. We’ve made a similar one about 25 years ago – ours was the opposite way though as we headed to Australia. Since then we’ve moved seven more times to different destinations and we have no regrets at all! Wishing you all the very best and enjoy the journey.

  121. Ah fabulous!, happy moving and all the love & good health & prosperity in the world, your my hero and you’ve felt the fear and your doing it anyways, good for you :)x

  122. sakurasnow says:

    Oh, exciting! Wishing you all lots of fun and happiness on this new adventure!

  123. Kate says:

    EEE!! When I started reading the post, I was hoping you were talking about Vancouver Island! Well, I know you aren’t now, because that island is huge, but you’re in the area 🙂 I’m down in Seattle.Regarding the bears: On a recent trip to Alaska, I saw loads of black bears, and they are indeed more scared of you than you are of them. In fact, the neighbors of the house we were staying at often brought out their house cat, not even setting the cat on the ground, and with one hiss the bears would take off.

  124. Hanna says:

    Saltspring? That’s where we had our honeymoon, love that island! There was a tiny stone church with sheep in the field. What’s better than that?

  125. april says:

    Oh my goodness you are really living the dream aren’t you!? I’m jealous of your adventure and I wish you the very best!

  126. Happydacks says:

    Your the best when you are Bonkers Claire, I hope your adventure becomes better than you could have ever imagined possible…I know it will! Please let us know from time to time! Pretty please!!! Michele x

  127. Tania says:

    For a moment I thought you were going to say you were moving to Byron NSW … I was just about to clap my hands in the thought of meeting somone a I have “lurked” for years – ALAS no it wasn’t meant to be.BUT god on you – and I wish you and your family the best.What an amazing adventure.Can’t wait to read all about it.

  128. Carol says:

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained. We did something similar 20 plus years ago, and haven’t regretted it. Missing family is the toughest part I think, but what with skype, cheap airfares etc. it is not so bad.Congratulations to you all ….

  129. Cassandra says:

    Go Claire! I was waiting in anticiptation after your email not long ago. Congratulations and courage to you.xxxx

  130. Nadia Lewis says:

    Welcome to Vancouver and its Magical Islands! I’m over here in East Van, if you ever want to know what’s going on in that part of the city. 🙂

  131. Julia says:

    Claire! What an inspiring post, I have such similar thoughts almost daily. I’m totally going to read this to my husband. We live in Seattle – so welcome to the Pacific Northwest! Congratulaitons on setting out on such a wonderful adventure! Vancouver is stunning. I really look forward to your impressions of this corner of the globe! Best wishes!Julia

  132. Nanette says:

    Fear is such a crippling thing!Good for you and Phil for plucking up the courage to follow your hearts & dream!


  133. Wow, what an adventure. Good luck with the preparations and enjoy the journey.

  134. Lisa says:

    And to think…I live on an island off the coast of British Columbia and I often dream of moving to Australia…

  135. Lily says:

    Can we visit?!Good luck on such a wild and fantastic adventure.

    I will await your blogs with anticipation!

  136. Amy says:

    Definitely exciting – I’ve grown up on Vancouver Island and therefore visited a number of the Gulf Islands – including spending my honeymoon on Saltspring (don’t need exotic when you have all those islands available to you!) I really hope you love it. Luckily, all the Canadians I know are quite fond of Australians, so you should be well taken care of! I hope to move back there with my husband, hopefully sooner rather than later. Good luck to you!

  137. Veronica says:

    Fear is such a crippling thing!Good for you and Phil for plucking up the courage to follow your hearts & dream!


  138. katie says:

    Hello, I peek in on your blog every now and again 🙂 We are on Vancouver Island and I am pretty sure whatever little island you move to you will love! Good luck!!! And very very inspiring by the way

  139. Garden Lily says:

    Exciting! Welcome! I’m in Burnaby (Vancouver), BC. This is a lovely part of the world, and I’m sure you will love the island life.

  140. denice says:

    congrats on this wonderful news! i am canadian and absolutely love it here :)on the bear issue, i hear ya! bears! eek. but it’s true, they don’t want any more to do with us than we do with them.

    i have sent you an email via your website address regarding an interview request. please let me know what you think 🙂

  141. Monica says:

    That’s mind-blowingly amazing, Claire! What an adventure! Reading your blog this morning reminded me of how much fear controls my life, and how wonderful life can be if you defy it. I wish you and your gorgeous family all the best.

  142. V says:

    So excited to hear that you are in my neck of the woods! You have chosen an absolutely wonderful place to stay. Enjoy your time here!

  143. Kelly says:

    I’m a regular reader of your blog Claire, and have to pipe up finally and say “good on ya!” for this move. You’ll surely love our country, and if you’re ever going to venture to the far east coast, where I’m at (another tiny island of enthusiastically friendly people) come sit on my beach that faces the Atlantic ocean and share a glass of wine! Best to you, Phil and the kids on this adventure.

  144. jen says:

    Fear is a powerful thing isn’t it? But I’m glad you and Phil got past that to go on your adventure. It sounds just fantastic and I can’t wait to read your blog as you tell stories when you live there.

  145. Chris says:

    Wow. Congratulations on the start of a wonderful adventure, so pleased you pushed that fear aside. Years ago I spent a lot of time on Bowen Island outside Vancouver, and it was paradise. Even now when things get a bit rough I think of Bowen, and all the areas around Vancouver, and everything seems a bit brighter. Have a wonderful time.

  146. Aunt LoLo says:

    Oh, girl, WELCOME TO THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST! Well, I guess, in Canada, it’s actually the Pacific SOUTHwest, but…still. I’m a Seattle girl, and everything up here is as beautiful as you say it is. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in BC!!!

  147. grace says:

    Hi Claire. i rarely leave a comment, but i too have been following your blog for many years. your work and inspirations have always been a bright spot in my day. And now you and the whole family are heading all the way to BC. A truly inspiring post. ~ to new adventures! can’t wait to hear more!

  148. Kate says:

    What an amazing and daring adventure you are setting out on! Reading your story was inspiring. I am not picking up sticks and moving across the world anytime soon (maybe one day, we’re still settling into life back in Oz) but I can’t wait to read all about your new lives.

  149. meg says:

    holy crap! how awesome are you! welcome to the northern hemisphere!

  150. Nathalie says:

    Welcome to our shores! Look us up when you get here. We have you on our blogroll.

  151. Visty says:

    This is so timely, because right now we are doing the same thing. My husband’s job changed and we can technically go anywhere. But our kids are a bit older, so the FEAR is a bit stronger. Will they hate us? Will they always feel like they never really lived anywhere? Will the schools we move to be worse than the good ones we have here? Funny that it’s BC, too; my husband has been talking about that for a while. That, and New Zealand. But Vancouver seems to big for me. I never thought of the islands. Good luck on your adventure!

  152. Deborah says:

    I was myself a west coaster until I met my husband in 2007 and I loved it over there. I just recently had the pleasure of flying to Vancouver BC for a business trip and it made me miss the West Coast soo much. I’ve spent a couple of vacations out that way and the bear signs (and cougar) signs freaked me out a little too. On one hiking trip, we actually came across a big bear trap in the middle of the trail. It was then that I knew that they weren’t joking about the bears :-). Buy bear bells and spray!

  153. Alicia P. says:

    Oh GIRL!!! I am so dang happy for you. How incredibly exciting. Can’t wait to hear of all your adventures.

  154. paula says:

    ive been reading loobylu since your first girl was born. you cant imagine how i understand your feelings about making a mistake or not taking the chance. i live in argentina and may be next year my husband will go to miami universty for a master. i know the feeling of doing sth very new, even mad. i used to live in buenos aires and we moved to marcos juarez cordoba looking for a better life for our kids. now we are planning to move again, but to usa… take the chance, share your fears, we are all reading your posts and sending you our best energy. good luck!

  155. Keile says:

    Hi,Your post was one of the last things I read online before the packers came into the house the next day to move us from NSW to the West Coast of New Zealand. The whole time I was reading it, i kept thinking, WOW, this is happening to me in a couple of days…so exciting. Now I have finally got my broadband up and running I can respond to you and wish you all the best with your move. Remember, “No Guts, No Glory”, make the most of everything, even those moments when you may question yourself, life’s all about the journey.We are loving our move so far; the girls are settling into school and relishing the wilder weather and the Alps, rivers and rugged beaches we get to explore on weekends.Don’t die wondering I say. We miss our friends, but are meeting friendly people daily. I am often amazed with how kind and considerate strangers are and, how soon these people are familiar faces to me.Enjoy every minute. i look forward to reading of your new experiences as you settle in to island life.

  156. Laurie Eno says:

    Hi,Just wanted to say that for me, tthis post is an excellent example of why people SHOULD be blogging. Love the glimpse into your life, plans, thoughts, hopes, dreams, fears … it is literature, “on the fly”.

    I’ve been up to Vancouver when I lived in Seattle and it was BEAUTIFUL country.

    Wishing you and yours a fantastic life in a new location. Sounds like you are really ready for it and have a great open attitude about the uncertainties involved. You risk, no gain.


    Laurie Enoa.k.a The Daily Corgi Ladyhttp://thedailycorgi.blogspot.com

  157. Andi says:

    How did I miss this post?I just noticed on your flickr stream that you are heading off to BC and I thought “what? When did this happen?” so I came and found this post.Amazing!!!You guys are seriously doing a wonderful thing for your family.Have a wondrous time, don’t stop blogging, and don’t frighten the local wildlife too much!Its a shame I won’t be bumping into you at the dentist but there are worse things in life!Take care of yourselves.Andi 🙂

    PS Your house looks amazing!!!!

  158. Kylie says:

    What an adventure for you all. My DH keeps talking about taking his long service and packing us up to go over to Canada for a few months – hw will do bac country ski instructing or something and I am just so scared and kep say NO – maybe I should give it a chance.

  159. sugarloop says:

    I’ve followed your blog for years and just had to comment and send my best wishes on your sea change. My family and I have done the same thing (albeit not on an island) but a downshift nonetheless…we’ve never looked back 🙂

  160. blair says:

    Oh Claire! Congratulations to you on this gutsy move. I’ve always thought we should move every few years (not that we have) because each move brings so much growth to me in so many ways, life enriching. I am so excited for you guys, and you will be so much closer to Seattle, maybe you’ll come down and visit (I can gather your fan club!)

  161. Christie says:

    WOW! I just found your blog through Living the Good Life and this is the first post I’ve read – can’t wait to read more!

  162. geekxnerd says:

    Wow! Hi Claire! I am an *old-school* reader, who hasn’t popped by in a bit, and I checked in only to see this post!!! It all sounds amazing. I hope that you and your family enjoy every minute of it!

  163. Tania says:

    Holy heck, woman! I’m bookmarking this post! You just gave me a much-needed kick in the pants. Eighty and regretful indeed.

  164. ABC Sensei says:

    Hi there, I’m a new reader but I can really relate to your post. Five years ago, I was thinking the same as you and made the leap to live in another country…Japan! I love it here and am excited to hear about your journey. Gambatte ne (best of luck!)

  165. Mandy says:

    Hi Claire,Well I bumped into your website from sh1ft.org thanks to googling a “electric blue room” for further inspiration to decorate my new home… and obviously i get sidetracked easily… but i’m so happy I do/did! I love your post, i love your story and as a native of USA’s Pacific Northwest – Welcome! It was quite funny i was looking through your posts before I even clicked on your about and thought, “That maple leaf and those views seem as though she’s in WA!” I hope you are settling in well… it seems like you are… no bears I hope. 🙂 Back to the main point however… WAY TO BE on your bonkers adventure!!! SO refreshing to hear there are people out there that do this! I’m 23 so yes i guess I’m at the typical stage myself… but thank you for the inspiration that it really is possible. I suppose that was the main point of my post… I too am setting out on an adventure soon… and it’s nice to know I’m not alone to think there is way more to life than a 9-5 cubicle job, and a part-time passion for creativity. so thank you. 🙂

  166. Maxabella says:

    Wowza! I’m visiting at just the right time, it seems. What a wonderful adventure you are about to have. I am in awe. x

  167. Erin says:

    Oh my I didn’t know you are in Canada now!! Rock on! Welcome from a fellow Canadian follower!!

  168. Hi Claire, I admit I follow only occasionally but your blog was the first blog I ever read 7 years ago and I fell in love with your illustrations! I even purchased your print Night Flowers 7/10! I didn’t realize that you moved 2 years ago! I live in New Westminster, BC. I think it would be lovely if we could meet one day. You are more than welcome to stay here. We could visit the local crafty shops, drink tea & do some art together (I also have 2 sewing machines & craploads of fabric)! Somehow my daughter’s name ended up being Claire too. She is 7 years old and wants to be a children’s book illustrator! She always has her nose in her sketchbook :o) Belated welcomes to Canada. Hugs, Laurraine

  169. Hannah says:

    Hi This is inspiring. My husband and I is currently having this situation in moving to Australia from the Philippines. It is a risk but life is made to be risky…

    Thanks for inspiring me

  170. Laura Ashton says:

    Wow Claire, but this time you are most definitely settled into your new home as it is now 2013. I am from Vancouver Island, not sure if that is your current island. But I am a native Canadian born and raised on the island. Recently we moved to northern BC for my boyfriends work….. tracking Grizzly Bears of all things ;)Reading your article gave me a twinge of yearning for my beloved pacific coast and ocean. I hope you are living a fabulous life in the woods.

    If it is any consolation the Boreal Forest where we now recede is full of bears. Having experienced both I would say the sighting frequency is far less on the coast.

    Love your blog 🙂


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