When I moved to Vancouver Island, people would tell me: you will love Cumberland and Salt Spring Island, you would fit right in! I did fall in love with Cumberland as soon as I saw that cute little town nestled in between mountains and forest. So I stayed. But Salt Spring was always in the back of my mind. At the Herbal Gathering (a festival for herbalists, it is as wild as it sounds) I bumped into Aly, a lady who makes her own soaps and herbal products, and who inspires me endlessly. You should come visit me on Salt Spring Island!
That was all I needed to hear to hop in my car and go on a road trip to the island of magic, two hours drive and a twenty minute ferry ride from Cumberland. I arrived in time for the colourful Saturday market, danced to every busker in sight and blended right in with the Saltspring crowd. Wild flowers, underground farmers markets, smiling faces all around. I immediately understood why people recommended me this place. Aly took me to a house concert where violins and accordions turned the living room into a dance floor. Welcome home, I smiled.
The next morning National Aboriginal Day asked for a first nations gathering on the beach. I watched the clouds roll in, mountains disappeared but the fire was stronger than the rain. Elders sang songs and played the drums while young ones danced. We wrapped ourselves in layers of stories by the fire, passing around a big pot of moose stew to warm the soul.
Ryan hitch hiked down to the island and with him, the sun arrived. The ticking of drops on the car made way for sun beams through the leaves of the trees. We drank wine listening to a frog orchestra, overlooking the reflection of the sunset on the lake. Finding places to sleep in the car unnoticed, where we would wake up with a gorgeous view in the mornings, became our daily treasure hunt. From the lake to the forest and the beach, every day Saltspring greeted us in a wonderful new way.
Mountain hikes filled with dragonflies were followed by refreshing lake swims and strong coffee on the side of the road. My mind wandered back to Spain, where I had my first cafe bombon with my feet in the sand. Espresso and condensed milk and life is good. Fuel for more hikes and swims until we found a field of flowers and decided that's where we would live. Sun and wine make for sweet memories of summer love.
We missed the ferry on the way back. Lake swims were more important. The island got stuck in my head like a song on repeat, all the way back home.