If you’re looking for a positive new experience and have a knack for chopping firewood, the Bridge River Valley could be the place you call home. My family has had a cabin at Gun Lake since the late 1980’s. We’ve travelled year round to this remote spot and enjoyed the natural beauty it has to offer as part of long weekend trips and time away from the city.

Growing up with the basic understanding of how to build a fire or catch a fish is a privilege of the environment. The unparalleled beauty of the mountains and the warmth of a fire on a chilly night are the kind of images I’ve always reserved for the special occasions of a trip to the cabin. It has always felt unique that the city lights and noises are non existent and instead stars overwhelm the sky at night. It’s a wonderful feeling to never sit in traffic and to know it only takes a moment to find new mountains and trails to explore. It had never occurred to me that these were the kinds of things I could enjoy all the time.

I moved to the BRV earlier this year and had plans to stay for about six months through the Summer. There were work opportunities available and I settled in on a position at the museum in Bralorne, a town close by to where I was living. It was a personal highlight for me to learn new skills for the job and get to know many of the locals. Every person I met was as welcoming as they were kind, and there were plenty of different ways to be a part of the community. I became involved with a watershed protection group for the Gun Lake area and it was extremely encouraging to find others with a high level of care and interest in the environment and for those that they shared it with.

Part of my experience also included a more ‘rustic’ style of living, including maintaining a stockpile of firewood and keeping a regular watch on my water reserve. Between this — and the brand new experience of not living with a TV in my home — I started to fill my time with actions instead of reservations. And although I did have family and friends come visit, I found that surrounding myself with more open space and with less people was incredibly relaxing. That my appreciation for the time I did spend with others had grown in value.

To live in a more remote area, away from a city and dense population, is a recommendation I’d give to anyone to try. It probably isn’t best suited for every individual out there, but it can provide opportunity for a unique style of living that could create a better connection with yourself and the space you call home.

Dana Archer