#myhornbystory: Rachelle Chinnery

Living the Dream on Hornby Island

Rachelle Chinnery

It’s easy to romanticize living on a Gulf Island. Beaches, a laid-back lifestyle, and no traffic are powerful lures to rural island living. But there’s a lot more to it than sunset walks, setting your own pace, planting a garden, or riding a bike everywhere you go. This lifestyle requires a certain amount of stamina – the kind you can’t learn from life coaching or inspirational reading.

Making the transition from urban to rural life was challenging for me and my husband Doug. We bought an empty lot and chose to build our own home despite having very few building skills of our own. Doug traded in an office job for a new career in carpentry at the age of 42, and I launched into a full-time studio ceramics practice. We were living the dream! But the “dream” was a great deal of work and stress, as it turned out. Questioning our choice to leave the big city became a cloudy pattern of thinking for a little while.

Rachelle Chinnery - Sea Lions

It came down to values – what mattered to us. What did we value in life? On this quiet island we sleep without the sounds of sirens; we hear sea lions roaring from our house just uphill from the ocean; we take time out of our day to witness the herring spawn in spring; we appreciate the friendships that grow stronger with our fellow islanders with each passing year.

We still have to work hard to build the house and keep our modest incomes flowing, but we can get into the woods five minutes from our front door for a mountain bike ride, or launch our kayaks into the sea ten minutes down the hill.

Moving to Hornby was challenging, but we gained the stamina we needed to be here by living and working through that challenge. And the garden we planted nine years ago is now fully rooted and flourishing.

Rachelle Chinnery