Some moments in our lives are pivotal to our futures. Particular people, experiences and places that touch us, and influence us in ways we often don’t realise at the time.
For me, it is the town of Banff, and the story of how it led me to regional Tasmania. I first visited this picturesque town in the Canadian Rocky Mountains in 1997. I was only there for 2 days, but at the time I had an incredible sense that I would live there one day.
Life happened, relationships came and went, so did jobs. The pull to live in Banff became increasingly strong and in 2004 I moved there on a 12-month working-holiday visa.
Prior to this, I had been a big city dweller with a city girl life. Suddenly I found myself hiking, canoeing, rafting, skiing, snowboarding. It was a compact town, and I didn’t have or need a car, so I walked everywhere. I practiced yoga regularly, including a memorable outdoor session facing the omnipresent Rundle Mountain.
Being surrounded by mountains touched something at my very core. Despite being a busy tourist town, the slower pace of life was a delight. Looking back, I now see that the ratio of nature to man-made structure is what resonated so strongly. Buildings were low, the sprawl was contained, and the mountains, the trees, the river are what dominated the environment.
When my time came to leave Banff, I did so with an intention to one day live somewhere smaller, quieter, and where that ratio of nature to traffic/buildings/people was tipped in favour of the animals, trees and land.
Again, life happened, but I held on to that intention. I undertook yoga teacher training specifically to help me get there – originally, I viewed it as an employable skill. I never estimated it to be a calling.
In 2015, I found my paradise in regional Tasmania. I am surrounded not by mountains but by trees, water and wildlife. I hike, I practice yoga outdoors, and my next task is to get a kayak. I teach yoga to a beautiful community of people, something I find immensely rewarding. I’ve worked hard and waited long, but I am living my dream life. And it’s all thanks to you Banff.
I am in Banff as I write this. The height of Canadian summer, it is completely overrun by tourists. The streets are crowded, you can’t get a park, and everything is massively overpriced. It’s certainly a different experience as a tourist in 2018.
But it still speaks to my soul. Although the mountains are covered in haze, my first glimpse of Rundle Mountain brought tears to my eyes as I felt that strong connection I first felt in 1997. Thank you, Banff. You changed my life.