A portrait of Daniel

Daniel’s Story

Being able to travel 20-30 minutes to get to world-class trails, hikes and mountains is incredible.”

A portrait of DanielBrits in Vancouver is continuing to develop as a project and I’m finding more people that are interested in having their portrait created in the studio rather than on location. Daniel is one of those and, we sat down (suitably apart in these viral times) to chat about his journey. Living in Canada was a long term dream for Daniel so he’s now soaking up the experience of settling in this wonderful part of the world.

Daniel first visited Canada back in 2007. The country had a big impact, in fact, as Daniel puts it he “immediately fell in love with the place. As I continued to come back to visit through my 20’s, I realized that one day I would eventually make the move here.” Okay, so Canada had cast a spell but this is a big country. Why Vancouver?

I had previously worked as a teacher in South Korea, from 2011-2015. During that time I met a lot of wonderful Canadians, many of whom were from B.C. I also had a couple of friends from high school and University who had also made the move to Vancouver, so it made the move a lot easier. 

Daniel added, “Life had become somewhat ‘stale’ in the UK, so I decided to make life in Vancouver a reality.”  Vancouver became the obvious choice and ten years after his first visit to Canada, Vancouver became home, although Daniel freely admits to a little hesitation. I can understand the soul-searching that happens, particularly as the big day approaches. Like Daniel, I’ve lived and worked overseas before relocating permanently to Vancouver and even though I’d experienced being in a different culture, as the relocation date neared for myself and my family, the stomach butterflies swarmed. However, as Daniel mentioned, the move was a chance for him to get “a fresh start, and an opportunity to develop myself, both professionally and personally.” In other words, people relocate for reasons other than the lifestyle, although around Vancouver I admit that the mountains and lifestyle help. A lot.

A portrait of DanielAs Daniel had now been here since 2017 I wanted to know about how he spends his days. Work is as a University lecturer so he experienced a shift in how he delivers his lectures due to the coronavirus mandated changes. I’m sure things will continue to shift and develop as the world figures out how to live with the issue for at least the near future. How about outside of work? 

I love to be out in nature. You might see me talking a walk around the PNE, going for a run at Empire or New Brighton Park, or playing football a few times a week, both recreationally and competitively. Weekends are usually reserved for exploring, taking a hike, or going for a nice walk somewhere.”

Even though lifestyle wasn’t the sole motivator for moving, it seems that Daniel takes full advantage of being on the doorstep of Vancouver’s great outdoors. “Being able to travel 20-30 minutes to get to world-class trails, hikes and mountains is incredible.”

Moving to a different country always brings with it an unexpected culture shock. I asked Daniel what caught him out when he moved here. 

“It would probably be the amount of time it takes things to get done. Maybe I am spoiled from living in the UK and Asia, but having to make appointments at the bank, not being able to do things online, that definitely took some getting used to.”

There are other little oddities that one comes across from time to time. When I first arrived, “Perfect” was the overused adjective, particularly when buying or ordering something. Thirteen years later “Perfect” doesn’t seem to be the word ‘de jour’. I was curious if Daniel had any similar experiences. Referring to the locals, he mentioned “but some of their mannerisms bring a smile to my face. One, in particular, is, “That’s so funny”, which is used when something actually isn’t funny at all.” Perfect!

A portrait of DanielFor this latest run of Brits in Vancouver interviews, I’m asking about film/movie sets and when posed with the question, Daniel offered “I’m a huge fan of classic horror and cult movies. So to see a classic horror movie set here would be of some real interest.  I decided to do run a quick search on horror films made in Vancouver and found this list, so my challenge to Daniel is to find a couple of local locations for movie-tourist selfies. 

I wanted to add to the gems of wisdom that other Brits have offered up for wannabe relocators. Daniel’s thoughts….

If you are considering moving to Vancouver, go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose and so much to gain. Living here has made me more outgoing, made me more active and I’ve achieved things I would never have done if I stayed in the UK.

It’s amazing how people open themselves up to new experiences once they’ve relocated and Daniel’s response is well-aligned with what I’ve heard from other Brits I’ve met and spoken to.

Immigrants tend to understand and accept that they’ll miss family and friends, so I’m always interested to find out what else is missed. I’ve certainly had responses around the lack of old buildings and Daniel had his own take. 

It’s hard to find a ‘proper’ pub atmosphere. Being from the North (Leeds), I miss being able to go to a 200-300-year-old pub, sit by the fireside, and enjoy a proper pint. There are some great places here which try to replicate this, but it just isn’t the same sadly.” 

So what will keep Daniel here? “With the high cost of living, it would probably be my work. I am extremely lucky to be doing a job I love, working with students from all around the world, and making much more than I ever made back in the UK. Work, balanced with my active lifestyle, my friends and my different teammates will definitely make it hard to leave.”  I think the answer is that life here for Daniel is fulfilling and that’s surely a good reason to stay put.

Thank you, Daniel, for being part of the Brits in Vancouver project. It was a pleasure to find out more about you and your motivations for being here. We all have our own story and our own journey. I hope you continue to enjoy this chapter of your life. Welcome to the Tardis.

You’ll find more images from Brits in Vancouver on my photography site.

A portrait of Daniel with the Tardis

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