Give Me One Reason to Stay Here…and I’ll turn right back around

I wrote this post 5 years ago. We’re very happy with our place in the universe – Bear River. – Flora

Bear River at low tide.

I’m sitting on the couch beside one of our kitties, with one eye on the coals in the fireplace and another on the live stream of CBC reporting from the NDP (Canada’s social democratic party) leadership convention in Toronto.

Larry has made us some melted cheese on home-made bread along with a cup of tea and we are waiting for the fourth-round election results. I’ve enjoyed the interviews with the eliminated candidates because outside of the formality of the debate, they are better able to show their humanity.

The defeated contenders are all asked who they will ask their followers to vote for. They all decline to say because “all the candidates are good people.” and “I want people to feel free to make their own decision.” and “I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”

I really get it because I often feel the same way when people write to me to ask about moving to Bear River.  They are looking for an endorsation and in a way they are seeking affirmation that they should take this bold step.

And I know this so well, because I also had mixed and confusing feelings about whether leaving Toronto to move to an unknown tiny village was the right step for us. I too connected with some of the artists via email before we came here. My idea was that “if I like this person and they love their life in Bear River, then I will probably like it too.”

Unfortunately,  it’s much more complicated than that. We are all such complex individuals, not 2 of us among 7 billion the same, that it is impossible for anyone to know the answer to that question of: “Should I ditch my job, and my city life and move to a tiny village in Nova Scotia?”

In the 4 1/2 years since we’ve moved here to this village of 800 we’ve seen people move here from other parts of Canada and some from the UK and at least 50% have left within this same period.

It’s all here. Or is it?

I don’t know why they all came or why they all left, but I do know why we stayed.

So, over the next week or two, I’m going to tell you what our reasons are; what we like and maybe what we don’t like. It’s a good exercise for me because it’s about gratitude. And hopefully, it will help me to post more often too! And maybe it will help to answer some of the questions you’ve had.

Spoiler: It’s not only about landscape, environment, solitude and community.

16 thoughts on “Give Me One Reason to Stay Here…and I’ll turn right back around

  1. Hello Flora,
    Talk about synchronicity! I’ve been reading your posts for a while, and was right now checking up you URL to add as a link to my blog about living in West Hants. I’m in the process to replying to someone from BC interested in moving to Nova Scotia, and how to look for the right community. And here you have a wonderful post about taking a good look at your decision to move here from Toronto.
    Thank you.

  2. Nice thoughtful post Flora,
    I used to be a major Tracy Chapman fan — way too sad for me now. I’ve cried a lot of tears listening to that one. All I know is that right now I am not a country person. I love my time
    at the schoolhouse, re-entry into the city is hard, but the city is my home. You have to know yourself. I love Nova Scotia too, and New York, and Florence. Our dream is to live in Italy for a year or so. I love how accepting you sound. Bear River is lovely to us because you and Larry live there. Pugwash is our Nova Scotia home.

    Major Love,


    1. Hi Barbara! In my perfect world (or so I imagine….who really knows??) I would spend 9 months a year here, 1 or 2 in Toronto and another one in Europe. We’ve thought about house swapping. Wouldn’t that be fun? The only trouble is that I really wouldn’t know when not to be here. I love every season. Anyway, Italy sounds like a place I’d love to visit! xoxo

  3. Flora, having picked up from Ontario and moved to Eastern Passage, after retiring in 2009, I’ll be interested in hearing about your relocation experience.

    I moved in November (bad time of year — hard to meet people).
    I thought I was making a huge mistake as I moved. Pushed myself to the edge of my comfort zone and then slipped right over the edge …
    Making friends is pivotal.
    Having Amy-Lynn (Flandrum Hill) welcome me with open arms helped so much.
    Now, Lynne (Five Good Things) is moving here this summer and I look forward to helping her make the transition …

    BTW, I would NEVER move back to Ontario. There is no ocean. No tides there. No erratics. No drivers who stop because they “think” you might be thinking of crossing the road.

    Stopping by Bear River is on my “to do” list for this summer …

    Blog on !

    1. Hey Sybil…..I totally agree with you about the friends part. If you can’t connect to and with some of the people in the community it can be a very isolating, lonely experience. I look forward to seeing you in the summer! 😉

    1. Thanks Lisa!! I can’t believe I haven’t posted yet this week!!! I’ve been so busy with a sick cat and other internet work and painting and planting more seedlings!

  4. I too will be interested in your ‘reasons’ living in a small community myself on the opposite coast many people come here and many are gone within 2 years. I have some ideas why they leave and for awhile I thought I might head to Nova Scotia to get more of what I want (land/sheep etc.) but it looks like I’m staying here ‘loving the one I’m with’ 😉

    1. Hi Siki…the ocean is always bluer on the other coast 😉 For some reason I assumed that noone would move away from a BC coastal location so it’s interesting to read that you have a turnover there too. Hmmm….I’d better get cracking finishing up my next post!

  5. Flora, I totally resonate with what you are saying. Why stay, why go? Last year when i visited you and Larry, I thought maybe Bear river was the place I should have moved to. Different sets of circumstances, brought us to similar conclusions. I am glad I am here, although I loved Bear river from the moment I saw it – rich in culture, generous, caring folks, a lush landscape – who ask for anything more?

    That is the choice, though isn’t it? What does anyone want? I will be reading your blog more closely over the next few weeks to note what you say.
    Big hugs to you both!

    1. Ursula, there are so many heavens that a person could be in. Even Toronto! I love my hometown of Toronto…I’ve forgiven her for her fast pace and bad air. But my soul has always yearned to be right where I am and it feels so good to be ‘home’. Hugs to you too! I believe we are all where we need to be right now. xo

  6. I’m looking forward to future posts, Flora – let’s see if your reasons for staying are similar to mine. Also, where has Tracy Chapman been all my life? Or have I had my head under a rock? What a lovely voice… Thanks for the introduction.

    1. Faye: Ha ha ha! This is the only Tracy Chapman song I know. I love the rhythm of it and the intention. I certainly have felt that push and pull about leaving the ‘familiar.’ Now, of course, I can’t imagine that Nova Scotia was never in my consciousness.

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