BCRobyn is the personal passion project and creative outlet of Robyn Hanson.
I grew up in Steveston where my parents still live. For years I called Vancouver home. Now I live on the Sunshine Coast. I feel very lucky to call this place home.
Originally I began BCRobyn as a love letter to British Columbia. I wanted to write travelogues on the places I visited. I wanted to use it to showcase my photography. I wanted to answer frequently-asked tourist questions about visiting Vancouver and provide a thoughtful lifelong local’s perspective in my responses.
While this site never fully materialized as such, it is, and forever will be, a work in progress. It will forever remain an independent side project I do entirely for fun on my own terms.
Who is Robyn
I’ve always believed that if you pursue what you’re curious about, doors will open for you. That has certainly been true of my life.
All through my life, I’ve pursued schooling, careers, and hobbies that have let me feed my brain’s curiosity while balancing my nerdy scientific interests with my creative streak.
In the nineties, I was a teenager and an early adopter of the Internet. I went to a French immersion school and was a good student. I travelled to France and the UK, went to a lot of all-ages concerts, and played guitar religiously. Music was my life.
Upon graduation, I studied digital arts, web design, and multimedia before it went mainstream. After the dot.com bubble burst, I got my degree at UBC in geography and art history. I took classes on Asian architecture, Indigenous art of the west coast, GIS, cartography, and BC history.
I volunteered at art galleries and pursued concert photography. I even played in a few bands. I worked part time doing tech support for the campus, while working summer jobs in tourism. One year I sold whale watching tours from the Steveston docks. Another summer was spent at the the downtown Vancouver visitor centre where I spoke with thousands of tourists from around the world.
After UBC, I worked as a cartographer for a mining start up. I also worked as a tour coordinator bringing students to the Rockies. I even taught American real estate agents how to use marketing software.
At times I didn’t know where I was going. Along the way I’ve learned that it’s okay to not know. And when you’re not sure what it is you want to do, it’s okay to pursue what you’re curious about and know that you’ll work the rest out as you go.
I also believe that we’re meant to have balance in our lives. I recognize we live in a culture that idolizes the hustle, the influencer, the side gig, and I’m not that. I believe we’re meant to have time to not be productive, to think, to step away, to not do… even not do the things we love. And it’s in this spirit of work-life balance that I strive to live my life.
Professionally, I’ve since built a career in the tourism industry where I have 12 years experience in destination marketing. I’ve been lucky to have worked for destinations around the world on some pretty exciting projects, whether it was an early social media campaign for the Super Bowl, spending 10 days on the ground at the Calgary Stampede, or travelling all over Manitoba one summer to blog about it.
I didn’t plan this career exactly, but it found me because I was curious.
But with the curiosity comes deep reflection. I love travelling, clearly. I believe travelling brings a lot of enrichment to one’s life. But I also recognize the dark side of tourism. I am sensitive to the overcrowding of certain cities and parks. I’m worried about the unsustainability of growth in ecologically-sensitive areas. Or the immediate need to decarbonize our transportation in an ever-increasingly warming climate. I think about it all the time. I could argue it’s why I’m less eager to fly abroad for fun these days. It’s perhaps why I’ve devoted my curiosity to learning about the hyperlocal, the local ecosystems, and the Indigenous cultures that were born of these lands. I’m trying to do my best and make a positive impact.
These days, I’m taking it easy on the Sunshine Coast. I feel more at home going for forest walks, paying attention to the birds, the plants, the fungi. I visit the Sechelt Farmers Market on Saturdays. I frequent the local craft breweries and cideries with friends. I’m trying to get back into painting after decades of neglect. I’m teaching myself Ukrainian. I’m cooking and gardening a lot. I continue to play piano and guitar. I’m getting back into photography. I’ve started working in destination management after a decade in consumer marketing. We’ll see where I go next.