Solitude, Secret Beaches & Exploration

“Language has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone, and the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.”

– Paul Tillich, Theologian

I love the feeling of visiting somewhere that not very many people have visited or seen before. Not in the hipster sense of “I was there before it was cool” but in the tranquil sense where you can find peace in the quite. I grew up in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and have been blessed to spend summers with my parents exploring the far reaches of the island. Lately I’ve taken it upon myself to explore the island, and have come across some amazing spots.


In Nanaimo though there are some amazing places that give me the same feeling. This morning I spent some time on the waters just off of Lantzville exploring with my dad in our canoe. The water was calm and the sun rising slowly in the sky as we paddled the shores. I love lantzville beaches because they are so accessible and yet they seem so quite. We also saw so much sea life: crabs, sea stars (purple and orange), spider crabs, eel grass and lots more! I even love vising beaches that are not so secret, like pipers lagoon and Newcastle Island. Nanaimo is still quite enough that I feel seclusion and peace there. I love going down to pipers lagoon with a book and a blanket and just relaxing and swimming. Over the weekend I was on Newcastle Island and our group were the only people at the beach, it was amazing!

IMG_2560IMG_2556IMG_2562IMG_2558I often think about what Vancouver Island was like when it was being settled – seeing things for the first time much like I did as a kid growing up here. I read a really interesting account about finding a way across Vancouver Island led by Adam Grant Horne, which you can read here, and what happened during the exploration.

I have been fortunate enough to sail with S.A.L.T.S. on the west coast of Van Isle in a 118 ft tall ship when I was 17. It felt like we were exploring much like Europeans must have been in the 1700’s. I visited Cougar Annie’s  garden, a homesteader famous for killing cougars and turning 5 wild acres into a beautiful garden making a living from selling seeds and living off the land. ( You can read more about her here) We also visited Hot Springs Cove, Friendly Cove, Nootka Sound, The Broken Group Islands and some sea caves which I will always remember as ‘almost dying in’ although here I am today to tell the tale.


I just picked up a book at a bookstore in downtown Nanaimo called: Adventures In Solitude (What Not To Wear to a Nude Potluck and other Stories From Desolation Sound). There is a quote in the beginning of the book that sums up how I feel about exploring and experiencing ‘secret beaches’…

“Language has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone, and the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.”

– Paul Tillich, Theologian


Do you have any secret spots in Nanaimo that you want to share? Let me know in the comments below!

~ Sarah

3 thoughts on “Solitude, Secret Beaches & Exploration

    • Sarah & Sean says:

      Thanks! It was taken in the Broughton Archipelago a couple summers ago with Robin’s Dad on a sailing trip!


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