Salt Spring Island. The moment I heard these three words at a friend’s going away party in Vancouver, I knew I had to go there. It was the summer of 2011. I packed up my car and took a chance to be on the island, since I didn’t have a place to stay long term. After posting a request for a place to rent on the Salt Spring exchange, someone responded about this beautiful little cottage on Weston Lake, which I moved into a week after arriving on Salt Spring.
For five months, I lived a hermitage lifestyle to focus on spiritual practice and writing. It was something I had always wanted to do: to live in a cottage in nature. You know, like Henry David Thoreau on Walden pond. I made simple meals, chopped firewood and swam in the lake most days. When it got cold, I made fires in the wood stove. These fires not only kept me warm, but also provided a feeling of presence and companionship.
It was an ideal lifestyle for me, and helped me grow meaningfully. I felt very fortunate that I could take the time to retreat for a while, even though there were parts of my time there that were very challenging. I had no choice but to face my full self, including my fears and uncertainties. It would feel hard sometimes, to deal with firewood on my own, or have to lug water across the horse field. But they were positive experiences, and to just be able to be, without the pressure to perform or produce, felt very freeing. Being alone in nature helped me heal and attune more deeply to myself.
The island made a strong impression on me, and ever since I left in 2011, I often thought about Salt Spring. I always wanted to come back.
Three years later, I’ve finally returned. I am so happy to come back, I couldn’t help but cry tears of joy. Salt Spring truly feels like a spiritual home to me. Something about the atmosphere makes me feel happy. I feel close to myself here.
The island itself is very special. The natural beauty is unprecedented with massive trees and mountains, and plenty of lakes. The island sits on a big crystal rock. Crystals have long been used for their healing properties, and to help raise consciousness, often used by the Native Hopi Indians and the Hawaiian Islanders. It’s been said that the Aborigines never came here to live, but would come to Salt Spring for healing.
Salt Spring has incredible creative energy. There are 30 working artist’s studios across the island. People are really into their craft here! Everything is quite authentic here, from the goat cheese farm where they hand-make every single wedge of goat cheese, to the Lavender farm, where you can buy everything and anything lavender, from soap to coffee!
I feel blessed that I found a beautiful cottage room to rent while I’m here to write and relax. It’s on a horse farm on the sea. Though admittedly, I’m often distracted by the natural beauty that surrounds me.
There are certain places in the world that bring out that inspire us, heal and nourish us. They activate us spiritually and bring out the best in us. Salt Spring is one of those places for me. Where are those places for you? If you could go anywhere, where would you go and what would you do?