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Some of the trees in Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island are more than 800 year old. The highway from Nanaimo to Tofino cuts right through the forest, which is unfortunate because you can hear the cars from the woods, but which is fortunate because it causes people to stop and acknowledge their environment.

Vancouver is filled with environmentalists. People seem to care about eating organic food and living with a minimal impact on the earth. Hiking and other outdoor activities are common. I guess living with the ocean at their doorstep and the mountains in their backyards is a gentle reminder.

This attitude comes hand in hand with a rather alternative lifestyle. I have passed more people with numerous piercings and tattoos than I have anywhere else. The city contains a wide selection of ethnic foods, and is home to a multitude of cultures. People dress how they want and are more open to certain activities. The nude beach by UBC is a popular spot, for example.

I like this vibe. It tells me that people care about who they are and what they do. It tells me people can think differently.

But just in case you’re starting to think that Vancouver is the best place on earth, check out the Downtown Eastside or go a bit deeper into the forests.

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Vancouver is definitely one of my favorite cities that I’ve been to so far, but let’s not get cocky. Sometimes we think we are a bit better than we actually are.

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