Written by Courtney F. of Sincerely Courtney
Here is my story about moving to the Okanagan. For as long as I can remember, I’ve imagined my life in the mountains. As a young girl, my favourite holidays were spent visiting my Grandmother, who had a beautiful home overlooking Kalamalka Lake. With her cherry tree in the backyard, Davidson Orchard only a short drive away and hiking trails all around, the Okanagan quickly became my haven.
I moved around a lot as a kid. The question, “Where are you from?” became a harder one to answer with every move we made. It wasn’t until I finally settled for university in Winnipeg after we spent a few years living in Europe that I began to dig deeper into the question “Where am I from?”. I know where I was born, I know where I spent the most time living so far, and I know where I just came from directly. However, I wouldn’t consider myself actually from any of those places.
I decided to reframe the question to “where do I WANT to be from?”. I wanted to be from a place that fruit grows freely on trees, mountains nearly touch the sky, the sun shines endlessly and where the crystal blue water sparkles. The first place that came to mind was my grandmother’s house, as it had all of these qualities. I wanted to be from the Okanagan.
Thus, my instinct set in. Something was pulling me to a place I could call home. The girl from “everywhere”, and “nowhere”, finally found “somewhere”!
In an instant, everything in my life became a step to get me closer to the Okanagan Valley. I shaped my entire life around this future I wanted. I chose a career that could be flexible, I achieved a degree to set myself up for success, and I met an amazing partner who also wanted to live in the mountains. With every year that passed, I could feel myself getting closer to home.
In January of 2018, I had a reading from a psychic. I sat down with her and she immediately said that I would be fulfilling one of my life long dreams within the next year. She said she saw mountains in my future. She sensed it was California. The psychic said that I would stay there forever. Little did she know, my partner and I had just put in our 6 month notice at work and had committed to picking up our lives and moving to Kelowna(fornia).
It was now the beginning of the Summer of 2018, my partner and I were packing up our two bedroom home into nothing but our two vehicles and one very tiny (and very old) U-Haul trailer. We were doing it. We were hitting Highway 97 and not looking back. I remember taking a moment as we drove away and appreciating this warm sense of homecoming that I was feeling. Nothing had ever felt more right in my life.
It will very soon be our one year anniversary of living in Kelowna and we are still happy as ever. We spent our first summer getting to know Kelowna; visiting the local vineyards, farms and beaches (our favourite is the Dog Beach at Cedar Creek Park, where our 8-year-old Miniature Schnauzer first learned how to swim.) We spent our first winter NEVER having to plug our car into an outlet in fear that the battery would freeze (anyone from anywhere that can reach -50 will understand), taking the odd drive up to Big White to witness the winter wonderland, and ice skating at the rink located in downtown Kelowna.
Moral of the story is there’s a beautiful power in the Okanagan Valley. It’s pulling people from all over the world in and persuading them to pick up their lives and call the Valley home. The Okanagan is so adaptable and has something for everyone. Whether you are coming for the snowboarding up at Big White or Silver Star, or maybe you’re coming to sit at Gyro Beach or float on a tube down the lazy river in Penticton. Regardless, you will find something to fall in love with within the Okanagan, and maybe you’ll feel the need to call it home. Follow your heart. That means The Valley is calling.