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Lois Lives in Heaven

September 12, 2020 | Common Ground | 0 Comments

“Sometimes we just have to be content with what we have.” 


Lois and her family live in a place she calls heaven and National Geographic calls One of the Must-See Places in the World. A remote archipelago off the Northwest coast of Canada, Haida Gwaii is considered one of the last unspoiled natural places on Earth. The heartland of the Haida Nation for over 13,000 years, today adventure tourists kayak and hike the Gwaii Haanas wilderness park, marveling at the centuries old totem poles.


Gwaii Haanas Totem Poles

At Home in the Garden

A Visit to Antarctica

The Edge of the World

“We live in a rain forest, but when the sun comes out it’s glorious, you know? The sun shining off the ocean, dew sparkling on the trees, it’s like heaven. We’re fairly self-sufficient here – there’s a 6-hour ferry ride to the main land 3 times a week and a daily 2-hour flight to Vancouver, but Air Canada cancelled all flights middle of March. They’re being very particular about who they let on the islands – we only have 2 ventilators for 5,000 people, so if things were to get out of hand they’d go bad pretty quickly.  

My husband was visiting our sons in Saskatchewan when this whole Covid thing came down so I was self-isolating by myself for 4-months. But I’m quite able to entertain myself – I turn off the news and live in my bubble of 19th century English literature. I recommend Anthony Trollope any day! I’m also big into crime fiction, do you know Louise Penny? I was a librarian and I’ve been in a book club for 21 years, so I like talking books. I’m also an avid gardener, that’s really helped me during Covid too. Reading and gardening are good ways to get out of your head, otherwise you could get stuck in a turmoil up there. I often think of people living in cities, isolating in high-rises without access to the outdoors and I don’t know how they do it!

Who’d think you’d meet a husband at library school?

We’ve been married 28 years – met late, married late, had kids late, but we’ve had fun. We traveled a lot, lived in Indonesia for a year and a half and then moved up here. My husband works with Parks Canada as a marine biologist (he never did work a day in his life as a librarian!) and I was lucky to stay home with the kids. They went to a great little independent school where I volunteered as treasurer and ran a library and reading program. I’m not a big fan of the public school system because it generally doesn’t accommodate people that don’t fit into a particular box, and there are so many ways to learn!

We still love to travel – went to Antarctica for my 60th so now my goal is to get to Africa, then I can say I’ve been to all the continents. In terms of the bigger picture…my family, the environment, knowing about the world – not being too insular – being kind, that’s what’s really important. I think the thing that brings that whole circle together is being curious. 

I Sound Like an Old Lady!

I’m always saying that when we got mobile computing is when the world went to pot. In a matter of 25 years, kids don’t even write cursive anymore – hardly anything’s written at all. Today you can investigate culture and dress, art and philosophy – anything back to the ancient Egyptians because it was all written down in some form. The information on your phone isn’t going to be anywhere in 25 years. How is history going to be looked at in 300 years when people have pictures on their old desktops they can’t even get to?

Advice

Success is so much more than how much money you make or how many false eyelashes you can stick on your head. I think sometimes we just have to be content with what we have. Be happy with yourself, have self respect and believe you can do what you want. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be SpaceX and going to the space station, it could be just being a chef at a food stand. If that’s what makes you happy then be content with that.”

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Laine Valentino

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