Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Slow Life on Gabriola Island

I spent the past three days on Gabriola Island, a short ferry ride from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. I'd never been to Gabriola but had wanted to since signing up with New Society Publishers for Slow Is Beautiful.

New Society is based on the island, which has one main perimeter road (North Road and South Road, depending on which side of the island), lots of woods and a commanding view from the Arbutus Bluff Bed & Breakfast where we stayed. (We managed to find out from proprietor Liz that "arbutus" is Canadian for madrona tree, and is just as threatened as its American cousin by climate disruption.)

If you really want to get away, Gabriola is the place to be. People are friendly, all seem to know each other, and there's lots of slow food (local, fresh produce), slow moving (many bicycles in evidence) and slow talking. Everyone seems to know each other, too. A talk I gave it was like going to a neighborhood potluck...back in the 1950s, when that's what people in neighborhoods did.

In keeping with its planet-sensitive mission statement, New Society is a model of slow philosophy. Work hours are 9 to 4, and employees get 6 full weeks of vacation! They work out of log cabins (with broadband Internet) surrounded by trees well in from the main road. So you can see why Slow Is Beautiful was such a perfect fit with New Society Publishers!

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