I was born in Alert Bay on November 10th, 1973. My dad tells me that on that day, the world’s tallest totem pole was raised. That may or may not be true: my dad’s tales were often tall and my memory is fuzzy.

Even so, it’s a story I’ve carried with me through most of my life. To anyone that would listen, I would talk about the raising like I was there, as though the significance of the raising somehow made my life more significant. When I went back to Alert Bay in the summer of 2013¬†for the first time since my infancy, I stood and stared at the totem. Somewhat less-than-pristine, adolescent initials had been carved into its face. The paint was faded, cracking and worn.

The totem reminded me of myself. A bit worse for wear, but still facing the wind with its eyes open.

I’ve worked in tourism for years, I’ve written for tourism for just as many. I can’t count the number of times I’ve used the words “breathtaking”, “magnificent”, “spectacular.” Words you learn by rote when you write about the Island as a destination.

But there are other words: “haunted”, “feathery”, “wild.” Words that describe the Island that lives underneath the surface. It’s that Island I’m committed to exploring and talking about here.

If you run a magazine, or tourism organization, or blog, and you’d like to hire me to write for you, or license some of the photos you see here, or see some examples of my work, please contact me.

sean@offbeattravel.ca