To get to Bowen Island you fly into Vancouver and make your way about 30 minutes outside the city to a ferry terminal. From there you take a short 20 minute trip across the Howe Sound: this trip alone feels like the beginning of a dramatic movie about fishermen or whales: wild cliffs rising up out of the sea, snow capped peaks, deep greens, and blues: everything is very oversized, and discernibly pacific northwestern: its one of those regions that isn’t really mistakable for anywhere else on earth.
When you arrive on Bowen Island, you enter a village. Sure the island landmass is 20 square miles...about the size of Manhattan Island, but instead of 3.9 Million people, Bowen's population has never surpassed 4,000. But even cooler than its quaintness/diminutiveness is its loyalty: how every single one of those 4000 people really live by the same kind of appreciation code.
On Bowen island you stop to greet each other in the street: you hitchhike to get home after work: you stop in any local cafe or bar or grocery store and pretty much everyone knows your name. It’s not your typical tourism destination, Bowen Island, and the people like it that way.
So when I finally touched down,driving my rental car past deer in the woods and through mist cloaking the road, I couldnt’ help but start to wonder: For the places that are so special because few people visit, what’s the best kind of visitor you can be?
"For the places that are so special because few people visit, what’s the best kind of visitor you can be?" Join me on a magical adventure in Bowen Island, Vancouver
In this episode, there are a few interesting takeaways for vacation rental professionals:
- We actually filmed this episode with our (already-small) team down a man (ie. woman). Which is to say, Stuart. I even got my chance to do some filming -- you can admire my great work in the shots of Jan at her various managed properties.
- Utilizing Local Guides: A lot of hosts who watch the show write in saying they love the ideas of offering experiences, but due to their distance from their vacation rental property, they cannot achieve it. But take a page out of Jan's book and delegate your tour experiences to locals like Kylie and Brent.
- Furnishing Rooms: Jan's policy on her kitchen equipping is "make sure it has everything I'd want if I was cooking there myself." This of course works best when the person has good taste in cooking or kitchens. But apply the general thinking to all rooms for a rough idea of what guests will likely eventually ask for.
Thanks to Jan, her son Akira, Len, Steph and Kylie, Kim, the team at Catching Stars, the great Murray Atherton, Brent, and all the amazing people of Bowen Island for their leadership and hospitality.