BCRobyn is the personal passion project and creative outlet of Robyn Hanson. 

I’m a fourth-generation settler of Ukrainian, Swedish, and English heritage living in British Columbia on the unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, and sə̓lílwətaʔɬ peoples.

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.

Robyn Hanson
Enjoying life on the Sunshine Coast 

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.

Robyn in Angkor Wat
Taking in the sunshine at Angkor Wat

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.

The perks of the job have taken me all over, from Haida Gwaii and Kiix̣in, to heli-hiking adventures in the Cariboo Mountains. In a few weeks time, I’ll be attending a ski conference at Lake Louise.

I didn’t plan this career exactly, but it found me because I was curious.

Heli-hiking in the Cariboo Mountains with CMH Heli
Heli-hiking in the Cariboo Mountains with CMH Heli

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.

Ancient Douglas firs at Big Tree Rec Site
In awe of ancient Douglas firs on the Sunshine Coast

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.

12 Comments

  1. This is a great website, my daughter’s name is Robyn which drew me to your site. I’ve lived on Vancouver Island for over 40 years and love it. My husband and I emigrated here from England in 1974 , wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. We live mid island but started off in Victoria. The whole island is beautiful where ever you choose to live. We finally made it to the northern end a couple of years ago. Love the west coast too. We are still exploring!
    Keep up your great work , Susan

  2. I just discovered your story of your York Factory visit! So incredibly interesting. My great great grandfather arrived there from England in August 1846, with the 6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment – British Expeditonary Forces, under Colonel Crofton. In 1848 the troops were recalled to England but he & 7 others requested their discharge and remained in the Red River Settlement. He is our family’s settler in Canada.

    Thank you so much for posting all the photos of your trip.

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