How do you say goodbye to an island? A week ago, I ended the four year relationship I had with Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria. Saying goodbye to my human friends followed a seemingly scripted custom: the awkward hug, the “see you soon” or “keep in touch." But for an island? I don’t think there is a tradition. I guess you can feel the embrace of a familiar beach or experience the "see you soon" of a favorite vista but, to me, these things are incomplete.
Like most human relationships, ending a long term affair with a large landmass is never easy. Sure, there will be the occasional weekend visit, where you end up looking at each other over a cup of coffee and thinking about how good the times where when you were still together. The island's wind might tussle your hair and maybe you'll let the waves flirt with your feet, but it just won't be the same. You'll just be a guest, another tourist, someone who won't be around long enough to become really intimate with its coastlines and forests or streams and mountains. And when you see the locals, you'll think about how that used to be you and how the island used to be yours.
Update: We posted a some pictures of our final summer on Vancouver Island (and a few other places) here.