KAMLOOPS — When I was young, growing up on the prairies, BC was a mythical place.
The rugged mountains and pristine lakes were the stuff of postcards and TV fishing shows, not real life.
Then, my family visited BC a couple of times before I was 12 years old, and for the first time, I could see that it was real.
My childish question became, "Why doesn't everyone live here?"
And when I returned to a Manitoba winter, that question became, "Why does anyone live here?"
Age and maturity bring perspective, and I know now there are some things to miss about the prairies, mostly around cost of living.
But I have also had the opportunity to visit a lot of this country, and my 12 year old self would be happy to find out, there is no place to match BC.
So why doesn't everyone live here?
Well, there are very real costs.
Monetary expenses shouldn't be downplayed, as home-buyers in many parts of Canada don't have to compete in a market where foreign investors are causing prices to escalate into the stratosphere.
And for the past few weeks, we have seen another aspect of the rent we pay for being here.
The hot, dry summers we get conspire with the hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of forest to put us on edge, expecting that a wildfire season like the one we're experiencing now will arise.
Some of us have lost our homes.
Some can't breathe the smoky air.
The rest are experiencing such a high level of anxiety, it's not good for our short term or long term mental health.
Does it suck?
Yes, it does.
No one else in Canada has to live with this particular set of worries.
It's the rent we pay for living in paradise.
I don't know about you, but I'll keep paying that rent, and be happy to do it.