My Month as a Hermit!

Long ago, I made my plans to visit some place named Sechelt. Some place “up there” that housed a cabin, that somehow called my name. Seven months ago, I think it was, I checked the dates, signed the tab, and paid the bill. And then went on to forget all about this stay that was to be. But as the months went by and others asked about my plans, I would sometimes dare to pronounce the name of my upcoming January home (See-Shell? See-Chelt? Say-Shell?). And from others who knew, I learned that I’d be seeing the Sunshine Coast.

1    IMG_2802 (3) It’s hard to explain the beauty of this place. In what spans such a short stretch of space, the entire region is densely packed with sweet surprises from nature. 101 is the main highway lining the coast, curving for miles as it takes travelers past tiny towns, beautiful beaches, and majestic mountains. Like nowhere else I’ve ever been, there are hiking trails wherever you go. Numerous times I stopped at the side of random roads and within minutes would find a trailhead that led to beautiful, well-marked networks of trails. In forests of bright green moss-covered trees, sprouting out from carpets of ferns. IMG_2265 (2) The handful of towns that sit beside beaches are small and quaint, but offer all of the amenities that this (newly and nearly) reformed city girl requires (including a whopping three theaters that play movies!).

IMG_3217 (2)    IMG_3165 (2)And all of this is housed within a space between mountains of all shapes and sizes that hover over lakes and straits. Shielding us all from the outside. It was here, in this space, for a month and 4 days, that I lived like a happy hermit…surrounded by silence and smells and peace like only nature knows how. IMG_3130 I lived in an area called Tuwanek, a 15 to 20 minute drive from the small town of Sechelt, in a sweet 2-story cabin nestled among tall trees. The tiny bedroom upstairs – in a triangle loft – looked out onto the Sechelt Inlet. For the first few weeks, I slept with my head at the foot of the bed, as this allowed me a direct view of the moon as it grew to its full size and reflected off the inlet water. As I slept, my dreams fell in step with the movements of the moon and those hours brought me closer to connection. I kept the little window over my bed open so I could hear the sounds of rain drops and smell the scent of trees. On some of the more stormy nights, with every twist and turn of my body, I would wake to hear the crashing rain and howling winds, all sounds more soothing than the last. 307c98b4_original (2)   2

Cabin photos by the owners

And then during some moments throughout the day, I would stop whatever I was doing and just listen…and hear nothing. Nothing at all. Total silence. And I’d dive into it and swim around. And feel the intense power of the stillness that I’ve craved for so long. I held onto this silence like a blanket, and knew that at some point I’d have to let it go.

IMG_2559

the view from my bedroom!

But until that time, I lived this life of hermit-dom. And loved every minute. And somewhere in there I read this excerpt from a book about the Sunshine Coast that shed some light on my reclusive response:

“Among those in the know the Sunshine Coast has long been seen as a haven where people might do their own thing in their own time with a minimum of interference from the outside world. This has made it a refuge for painters, writers, hermits, handloggers, stumpranchers, trappers, prospectors, fishermen, and draft dodgers…They are willing to do without a lot of consumer goods considered necessary to life in most of the western world, which allows them to do without the income normally used to buy such goods.” 4 Now, I might not be a handlogger or stumprancher (or even know what those things are…maybe I am?), but there’s a feeling here that fits me. Something aligned with that strong seed in me that’d taken me down this path. A place where people know the need to listen in new ways. And just when pleasures of sweet seclusion might have started to wear thin…I discovered an amazing community of people through the Gibsons Curling Club and Gibsons Paddle Club. Welcoming, warm, and, as I have been required to note…”a bunch of old people who are incredibly active and fit!” (all of whom had me tired out and beat within 10 minutes of activity). In the short amount of time that I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve made good friends with good people. I smiled the other day while I was a bit lost after a hike, realizing that I actually had people to call if needed. Here in this town full of hermits.

IMG_2967 (2)  8 Well, bye bye for now, my sweet Sunshine Coast. For this hermit, you’ve been a special stop, to which I will return! IMG_2686 (2)

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12 Responses to My Month as a Hermit!

  1. Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

    Awesome writing…it’s like I get to live vicariously through your blog and enjoy nature, solitude, and other adventures! How DO you pronounce the name of town properly? Love all the beautiful photos you use.

    Like

    • 🙂 you are so sweet! thank you for the nice words (again!). i’m so glad you’re enjoying the stories. sometimes when i write them, i think…who the heck will find this interesting at all?!?!? so, your thoughts are very appreciated. AND it’s pronounced “see-shelt” (if that makes sense). one of the funny things that happens when i travel alone is that i often never learn how to actually pronounce things (because i never have to say them out loud!!) but this one i did actually learn…and i can pass along to you! 🙂

      Like

  2. Ain't No Shrinking Violet says:

    One more thought: I would love to read a post about the pluses and minuses of this lifestyle you’ve chosen (if you have the time and the desire). Moving around all the time sounds so completely appealing I can’t even think of a downside, but maybe that’s just me romanticizing things. Is it all fabulous, or do you have any regrets? Do you think you’ll put down roots again?

    Liked by 1 person

    • ustabe says:

      For what it’s worth, I have the same question as Violet. I’m headed onto the road in 4 months and would love to hear any insights you might provide. In addition to Violet’s question, I’d be interested in knowing what you would have done different in the way of preparation, given your experience since you’re left.

      Love the blog and am looking forward to future posts. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are both so sweet and your interest is so inspiring to me! You know, it’s interesting that you ask me this at this point in my journey. One thing that has been incredibly difficult, especially in the beginning, was this conflict I continuously felt between taking the time to actually go out and have experiences vs. taking the time to write about the experiences. And I decided early on that I would focus on the former – actually having the experiences. And that I would give myself a full year to “collect the data” (so to speak) before putting any real pressure on myself to try to make enough sense of it all to be able to write about it. Fortunately, I’ve found some stories to tell and little pieces of the adventure to share, but the overall “themes” (as I like to call them) will wait until I have a full year under my belt. Then I plan to lock myself in a (hopefully beautiful) place and write, write, write (or at least write). I have 2 more months to go before I reach that full year! So, your interest is so motivating to me and provides a great deal of support for my plan to share my thoughts. Also, it helps to hear your questions, so that I can make a list and really focus on those when I do my writing (yes, yes, yes…I am a very structured kind of person!) So, please keep ’em coming and if you’re patient with me, I will have some thoughts for you in a couple of months. 🙂 But that one question….what would I do differently. That’s a toughie! 🙂 I was just thinking about this yesterday…and it’s really hard to answer because I specifically wanted to have experiences that were not ideal so that I could see how I responded and be forced to move away from my routines and my usual way of doing things. So the typical “I wish that never happened” response isn’t one that I’ve really had on my adventure. It would help me to know what your adventure plans are and what you’re doing to prepare…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ellen & Seth says:

    Thanks for following our sailing adventures! Looks like you’re having some great experiences—I’m looking forward to checking out more of your site 🙂
    Cheers,
    Ellen

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahh, the joy of aloneness, and in such a gorgeous location. I admire your vision and know that you will find ideas and some answers in your quest for adventures. Thanks for “liking” my little blog page, I’ll look forward to reading of your future endeavors. Regards, Cap’n Bob

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ustabe says:

    Thanks very much for the quick reply to my earlier post … VERY much appreciated, Rabbit. You can learn more about my plans by visiting my blog, where I’ve been writing about my plans and prep work.

    Take care … and again, thanks again.

    Like

  6. contoveros says:

    I want what you found.

    I guess it’s been calling out to me for many years: “Silence.”

    The silence that let’s you hear the voice of the universe. I believe it’s a feminine voice, one full of sweetness and alluring chants. I could die happily ever after while listening to that sound of silence.

    Thank you for sharing this part of your life with me and the rest of us down below here in the States . . .

    Michael J Contos,
    Philadelphia, PA, born kind of a guy

    Like

  7. Pingback: An Amazing Year of Life on the Road | THE TRAVELING RABBIT

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