After visiting my daughter who lived aboard a sailboat near Gabriola Island off the coast of Nanaimo, I fell in love with this wonderful little island. We eventually bought a small acreage there and plan to build a small house in a couple of years, with the intent of spending half of the year on Gabriola, and the rest traveling throughout the Americas which we started to do last year. Like other Gulf Islands, Gabriola has a mild winter weather, half as rainy as Vancouver, and a long, dry summer. Under the Köppen climate classification, the island has a Mediterranean climate. Our neighbours grow practically everything, including figs and some citrus. The island is, despite a resident population of 4,000, a very vibrant community. Very artsy, known as the island of the arts, extremely community-oriented, good restaurants and coffee shops, small organic producers, surrounded by the ocean -a must for me as I am into kayaking and sailing, fantastic beaches for swimming, clamming and crabbing, great salmon fishing, an extensive network of walking trails in the beautiful rain forest environment, and only a 20-minute ferry ride to downtown Nanaimo. We are a 15-minute walk or 10-minute bike ride from the village core where we can find practically everything we need, including a clinic, dentist, law office, architect, accountant, an array of grocery stores, a weekly farmers market, etc. We also have two 15-minute daily flights to Vancouver International Airport via floatplane from one of the two marinas. The only inconvenient is the relative isolation of island-living and having to take the ferry to town. To me, these are actually pros.