How do you expect to get around?

Transport options
Car, taxi or foot - how do you expect to get around?

Doing a research trip is a great way to find out about the place that you hope to make your new home. Part of the benefit of doing this is testing your assumptions about the place against reality. That can be a shock.

This is a good thing. Actually in many ways it is what we are all about. We want to make sure that your expectations about life in Canada are accurate and not hallucinations or wishful thinking.

This week we had a couple of research tours and there was quite a difference in their expectations about Vancouver – specifically about public transit.

The first couple were Jane and Jack. They expected to live in walking distance from the shops. They also expected to be able to get on public transit and commute to work. They didn’t want to drive except for weekend trips or for their weekly supermarket shop,

The second couple were Tony and Cristal. They were not in the least interested in public transit. They didn’t want to know about buses, trains, skytrains or the seabus. They expected to drive. They preferred driving. They wanted to drive. What they didn’t want to drive too far. Half an hour commute was the most they’d tolerate. They were tired of long commutes of an hour or more.

Which couple do you think had it right?

In some ways it is Tony and Cristal. After all Canada is highly dependent on the motor car, so they could well fit in very well with their expectations of driving everywhere. But they want to live in downtown Vancouver. If they do that then they’ll actually be able to achieve what Jane and Jack want – to be able to walk to shops and restaurants. The adjustment that they might want to make is to accept that they can also get around on public transit. After all Vancouver is a city which does have public transit. It even encourages cycling. If they are to adjust completely then perhaps they too will be cycling around Stanley Park and the seawall.

What about Jane and Jack? Their expectations were quite different, but were they so wrong? At first yes. They’d never been to Canada and understandably they’d imagined it was like their home in England. They expected to have corner shops a few minutes walk away from their home. Also a train service to whisk them in overcrowded bliss to their workplace.

We spent half the day showing them around, seeing areas that were in the price range and might suit. After that they realized they weren’t in Kansas anymore – nor were they in Kingston!

What happened was that they’d adjusted their expectations. Now they knew that Canada wasn’t exactly what they’d expected. It was different and they could adjust accordingly.

Perhaps their adjustment would be a large one. Maybe they’d learned that Canada would not work for them. Maybe it was a small one. They might need to look at getting into a car more often, or try harder to find a home in a more central location.

Research trips pay off whether you find out that you were right about Canada or wrong. Finding the truth out first hand lets you make a decision about your move that is based on reality. And you can’t argue with reality – well if you do, you never win!

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