I was recently offered a 14-month position in Banff National Park. The offer included a 650sf unfurnished apartment and access to one of the greatest parks in North America. I accepted and within a month was on the road to my temporary new home. Leaving the big city for a small remote town to set up a new short-term space has had some interesting benefits and challenges.
Banff is an amazing park deep in the rocky mountains. It's home to grizzly bears, black bears, white tailed deer, elk and many other wild and beautiful creatures. One of my favorite things about the Park is the awareness and protection of these creatures. Often I'll look out the window to see deer nibbling on grass and leaves outside my window.
In a previous post I asked whether I should pack it or replace it, and got some great advice from people who had made similar short-term moves. In the end I decided to sell most of my furniture and get new furniture here. An interesting thing about Banff is that there are constantly people moving in and out of the town, so there is a constant flow of furniture up for grabs. I was also lucky that a few people at my workplace provided me with a few basics and some furniture. I ended up bringing only small appliances, clothes and my computer and home office.
So far I have managed to get a bed (secondhand but not used), a coffee table, a futon, and dishes and cutlery for little or no cash. I'm finding ways to decorate with art and textiles to try to bring these pieces together so it's not just a mish-mash of hand-me-downs.
Fortunately Banff is only one hour from Calgary, a large Canadian city with all of the conveniences and selection of my hometown Vancouver. So in spite of being in a very remote place that allows limited development and commerce, I can still enjoy all of the pleasures of the city.
Another interesting thing about the Park is the commitment to waste management and diversion. Banff has a compost pick-up and massive recycling bins located around town. There is a heightened awareness and education about waste management, pollution, and preservation that seems to resonate with all of the 16,000 international visitors that visit Banff daily.
(Images: Kathryn Wright)