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** UPDATE ** We are currently looking for somebody to join our little family beginning in mid-December. We have a wonderful workawayer with us now until then. We welcome you to apply well in advance if you are interested in joining us here on beautiful Bowen Island in B.C.! Read below for details. **
Greetings from the west coast of Canada! We are a family of four living on beautiful Bowen Island in British Columbia, very close to Vancouver (20 minute ferry trip to Horseshoe Bay and then 30 minute bus or 20 minute drive to downtown; or 25 minute passenger water taxi to Granville Island or Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver). Bowen Island is a special community to visit because it is SO BEAUTIFUL, and special in that it really feels like a village. People move here because of its beauty and the sense of community. It has about 3500 full time residents, and many of them are young families. The beaches are quiet, the forests are old growth and lush (50 shades of green!!). It's quiet but you also have coffee shops and restaurants and a bit of local art and a music scene. It really is a wonder that such a natural paradise is so close to one of Canada's major cities. Bowen residents sometimes feel as if we are living in one of this areas best kept secrets...
Bowen Island is situated off the Sea-to-Sky highway between Vancouver and Whistler, a major ski destination. There are also many ski mountains on the north shore of Vancouver, readily accessible by bus from Horseshoe Bay (which is where the ferry from Bowen docks in West Vancouver). There are ferries from Horseshoe Bay to Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast, so this is a great leaping off point to explore some of the most beautiful areas of the lower mainland of British Columbia. The weather in this area is glorious in the summer and fall months (May—October)—sunny, dry, temperate—and wet and rainy through the winter months (November—April). The good news about weather in the winter is that it is mild (usually above 0 degrees, hovering around 5-10 degrees), and therefore everything stays green even in the thick of winter. There are snowcapped mountains all around us, though. It's beautiful all year round.
My husband, Shahar (originally from Israel) is a professor of Counselling Psychology at Adler University in downtown Vancouver. I am a Ph.D. student, working in the area of contemplative education and psychology, as well as a therapist with a small private practice. We also run a large retreat center at a gorgeous lakeside house on Bowen. We have a 7 year old daughter, Annika, who is out-going and a lot of fun, and a sweet 2.5 year old boy named Aden.
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
This exchange would likely really be about NATURE, CHILDREN, and COMMUNITY. Bowen Island is a special place to visit. If you were to pay for accommodation, it is hard to find a place to stay here during the high season because it is (surprisingly) limited due to the fact that there are no big chains or hotels here. It's a local-oriented culture, and so living with a family here will give you a special sense of this place, its forests and trails, and its community.
Shahar and I are both travellers ourselves—we met in India 12 years ago. He is originally from Southern Israel, and I am from the United States and Canada. I used to work in international development and spent extended periods of time in India, Bhutan, southern Africa, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. We are both philosophers at heart, and are really interested in east-west psychology. We also really appreciate local food culture, hiking local trails, exploring the BC coastal and mountain terrain, and snuggling down as a family with music, movies, books, and good food and drink. :)
This host offers accommodation and payment.
We are a small family of four—Shahar, an Israeli-Canadian psychotherapist and professor of counselling psychology; myself (Saskia), an American-Canadian psychotherapist and doctoral student of contemplative psychology and education; Annika, our outgoing, spirited, fun(ny), imaginative, adventurous 7 year old daughter; and Aden, our sweet, curious, smiley 2.5 year old boy.
As of September of this year, I returned to work on my Ph.D. thesis, and so we will mostly be needing help with the children from our workaway guests. Help with Annika may involve spending time playing games with her, helping her to further her education (reading/numbers) through play, going on walks or forest or beach adventures, biking together on forest trails, and so on. Help with Aden may involve playing with him during waking hours, dropping him off and/or picking him up at preschool (2 mornings per week), and going for walks or to activites with him in the stroller or on foot. We have a play house that we built at the back of the house, and you can spend hours there, and there is a playground that is a 5-10 minute walk from the house. Our home is close to forest and mountain trails as well that are wonderful to explore with the kids, who are not afraid of the rain or of getting dirty. You can also walk all over the cove and take them to coffee shops, to feed the ducks, to hang out on beaches, and so on. We also have a big garden with homegrown veggies, fruit, and flowers—Annika is starting to love to "help" there.
In addition to childcare hours, we may ask for help with cooking dinners (mostly vegetarian—though our kids eat meat so we are not opposed to having meat cooked in the house), laundry, and light general cleaningand (always!) tidying. If you love to garden and it is gardening season, there is also always work in the garden.
We will come up with a regular, though generally very flexible schedule for you so that you can plan other activities around it. Most of our WorkAway guests have had 3 days per week entirely off to explore and to do other small jobs for pay through connections of ours here on the island. We would love to employ you for another full day of care for Aden (usually on Monday’s), is you're open to that. If you need to save additional money for travels, we might be able to help you to find other work (e.g., childcare, cleaning, painting, carpentry, gardening, etc.). You also have the option of getting access to unlimited free yoga classes at the yoga studio (The Well on Bowen) in exchange for help with cleaning and other small tasks if that interests you (I am a founder and former owner of the studio).
This would be a great set up for somebody who wants a home base in Western Canada for a longer stint, to advance their career (or career prospects) through the work in the lower mainland or through language study (there are lots of language schools for non-English speakers), and for somebody who loves young children. You will be an important support person for our family. It goes without saying that, in exchange, we will do our best to support you to enjoy your time here, and to make it really fun. We may do little trips together (to Whistler, Vancouver Island, and so on), so you will also get to see a bit of the West Coast (if you like!).
NOTE: Given the fact that you will become part of our family and the lives of our little ones, we give preference to people who would like to stay 3+ months. It takes time for the kids to develop rapport with you, and they become quite attached. Since it's best for them not to have too much change, we will always prefer working with people who are looking for a place to put down some roots for a while. We are open for stays as long as a year and beyond, if the fit is right, and have found that our relationship with the people who have stayed for long periods to be both rich and deeply enriching. Sometimes we have a need for a "stop gap" helper between times when a WorkAway guest leaves and a new one is scheduled to arrive, and at those times we put our profile on the "last minute" list of hosts and make a note at the very top of our profile. You are welcome to inquire about shorter stays, but we will always be balancing our interest in a good fit with length of stay. We have had seven longer term work awayers in the past 1.5 years, and a few short term guests, and all are happy to act as references. :)
We have a 5-bedroom, 3-level home with a view to the mountains that is within walking distance of Snug Cove (which is where the ferry comes in). We are therefore walking distance to all of the stores, coffee shops, library, galleries, and restaurants on the island.
If you visit us, you will be staying in a private guest room on the lower level of our home that has a separate entrance from the garden. It has lots of windows, and therefore is sunny and has a nice mountain view. It has access to the main level of house from inside. It has a double bed and other essential amenities. It will fit a second small mattress on the floor on the (rare) occasion that we host more than one WorkAwayer (we are really only set up to host one person comfortably, and prefer longer stays). Washrooms and shower and kitchen will be shared with us (upstairs). We created this room especially for WorkAway guests so that you feel that you have your own separate space to retreat to when you want or need to. :)
You will be invited to make yourself feel at home here! But do know that our home is filled with the sounds of a young, boisterous children, and so you must love children and be comfortable with that.
On your time off, you can walk the trails of Bowen, spend time on beaches, hang out at coffee shops, or travel to Vancouver or the coastal mountains that surround it for the day. You can also use this as a jumping off point for trips north to Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, the Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, etc. On the North Shore of Vancouver, which we are very close to, you can visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Lynn Valley, hike the famous Grouse Grind for amazing views of the city, and explore an infinite array of trail systems, ski mountains (with cross-country and downhill) and snowshoeing terrain high in alpine territory. This is wild, coastal BC at its best! From our living room windows, you see snow-peaked mountains and trees, and you can hear the sounds of the ferry coming and going. It's a beautiful place to explore.
If you are coming to North America to learn or improve your English, you will find that there are a lot of schools for language study in downtown Vancouver and we are an easy commute to the city (but a WORLD away!)—my husband gets door to door to his university downtown in 45-50 minutes with the Bowen express bus.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
We have hosted Workawayers who are students of online programs, and/or who work online. Our internet is stable and reliable.
Open to exploring!
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week (possible to work longer days on some days and leave other days open)
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