First Scotland, Then Nova Scotia, Now? Victoria, BC…

Why Victoria, British Columbia, Canada for my retirement years?  Well sit back for here I shall account for how that decision evolved.

Growing up in the fifties and sixties, my parents were big on two-week car vacations every summer.  The earliest one I remember was in 1957 when we drove from Dallas to Disney Land in Southern California.  I was five years old and spent my time in the car colouring inside the lines in my colouring book. We spent an unanticipated overnight in Flagstaff, Arizona, awaiting delivery of a flywheel for one of the two cars.  My grandparents, A.W. and Pearlie Nobles, were in their car and we were in our car.  I think we saw the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks on that trip as well as The Magic Kingdom.  All the various car vacations blur now in my memory.  Over the years I recall that we made it to Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Tetons, Northern New Mexico, Carlsbad Caverns, Hot Springs, Arkansas, the Southeastern states, Memphis, Nashville, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mammoth Cave, the winding mountain roads of Kentucky.  For one month in summer 1965 we lived in Washington, DC, as Dad was in-training for his government agency position, and we saw all the sites in the nation’s capital.  We made the New York World’s Fair that trip as well and New York City.

I recall Boulder and Denver Colorado in summer and various ski resorts in the winter, once Dad discovered snow skiing.  We spent a full week in Vail one of those winters.  I made weeklong mission trips with the church youth group to Sparta, Illinois, and Des Moines, Iowa.  Once Disney World existed in Orlando, Florida, we had to make that trip.  And we were all over Texas at one time or another including Padre Island, Port Aransas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and the Hill Country.  By the time I reached university days I think I had been in parts of forty-plus of the forty-eight continental states.

Carrying on the tradition of two-week vacations when my sons were growing up, we drove or often flew to places including the nation’s capital, New England, New York, Florida, California.  Basically my sons experienced many of the same traveling experiences I did as I was growing to adulthood.

At some point in my pre-teen and teen years I had become an Anglophile due to watching all the old black and white movies on the local independent television channel including Ivanhoe, Robin Hood, and the like.  At Abilene Christian University in the early seventies I took four of my five Bible classes with Dr. Earle McMillan who had lived six years in Scotland earning his PHD in Theology.  He made me a convert to all things Scottish.  So much so that the ten weeks of the summer of 1974 I lived in Edinburgh, Scotland, working with the local church as an unpaid missionary.

Serving on the mission’s ministry at church I made two trips to Brazil to check in our two supported missionary families which took me to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Jundiaí, Campo Grande, Rebeirão Preto, and Cuiabá.  Brazil, even in the spring, was hot.

I recall a week-long vacation in Yorkshire in England one summer where we met the esteemed veterinarian, James Herriot, who was featured on his own BBC television series and favorite of my first bride, Carol.  Then there was the two-week long return visit to England and Scotland in March 2002 all on my own on cheap roundtrip airfare after fares crashed to record lows in the wake of September 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S. by terrorists flying planes into buildings.

Mary Nell and I made two trips separated by ten years to Paris, France, then England and Scotland.  On the second trip we also made it over to Northern Ireland.  I think that is five different journeys to Britain and in four of them I made it to Scotland.  Frankly, for decades my thoughts were to retire to somewhere in Scotland.

Only in 1992 my father-in-law, Ben Sides, remarried a lady originally from Hawkesbury, Ontario, Canada, where he prompted moved.  So naturally, we made several trips up to visit him and Eleanor.  On one visit we piled into his RV and made a trip through New Brunswick down to Nova Scotia.  Caught Nova Scotia a second time on another of the visits.  I made a third trip to Nova Scotia when a single-again accompanied by the lady I was dating at the time.  My fourth visit came when Mary Nell and I sailed out of New York City on a five day cruise that went over to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  My thinking for retirement had by then shifted from Scotland to Nova Scotia, Canada.

Mary Nell had not traveled much in her life until she acquired me for a groom in 2005.  We cruised out of Galveston on four separate occasions catching Jamaica, Cancun, Grand Cayman, the Bahamas, and Key West, Florida, at one time or another.  We made it to Hawaii for a vacation.  See the photograph of the two of us below with the post Confirmation, Finally!

We also have vacationed in Maryland, Washington, D.C., New York City including Long Island, Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls, London and Toronto, Ontario.  Living in Texas her whole life, Mary Nell had never been to Big Bend National Park, so we went there as well.  We also made it to Northern New Mexico, and Southern Colorado including Mesa Verde National Park.

For over a decade I had been thinking to retire to Nova Scotia, Canada.  Then Mary Nell and her extended family decided a one-week Alaskan cruise out of Seattle would be just the ticket.  Our final excursion stop before returning to Seattle was naturally Victoria, British Columbia, to see Butchart Gardens.  See the photograph below heading up my third blog post from 21 April.   We were both duly impressed with both Butchart Gardens and the city of Victoria.  We were there a second time when we made a later two-week Alaskan cruise out of Seattle.

With retirement nearing and two visits to Victoria, my thinking of Nova Scotia for retirement shifted to Victoria.

So I commenced intensive research online into the city and in particular its climate.  What was there not to like?  By early 2018 my mind was made up.  I would seek to retire to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  And if you have been following this blog for the last month or so you know my story of the evolution of efforts to make said relocation a reality this summer.

Mary Nell will stay put in Midland for she has two granddaughters to watch grow to adulthood over the coming decade.  We will be separated by 2,500 miles, but we will always be forever friends.  And who knows?  Maybe when the girls are grown and off to the four winds, I can entice her to join me.  One can always hope and pray.

So now you know how Victoria became the target for my retirement relocation efforts.  First Scotland, then Nova Scotia, and now finally Victoria.  The common theme?  I seem to have never planned to retire in Texas.  Been here sixty-six years and that serves me well enough.  I shall embark on a new adventure.  Take the risk.  Relocate.  And thrive.

Cheerio, till next time.



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