The first time I visited Vancouver, I was blown away by how different it is from its geographic sister city of Seattle, Washington.
If you’ve ever been to Seattle, you would quickly realize how polluted it is, how many of its streets are just littered with graffiti, and there’s trash everywhere. It seems that at certain parts of the city, people simply have stopped caring. It’s as if they no longer have pride in their city.
It’s too bad because Seattle is a beautiful city. It’s definitely located in the right place. The Puget Sound area is a place where there are a lot of high mountains, snow, greenery, and clean water. Sadly, throughout the years, there’s also a lot of pollution, and a sense of depression or despondency that has come down on Seattle.
This clouds the fact that this is the birthplace of Starbucks and a lot of coffee shop chains. This really is too bad because Seattle has a lot of culture as well. It is, after all, the hometown of rock legends Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix.
Skipping to its sister city, Vancouver, you get pretty much all the best that Seattle has to offer, but none of the headaches. You get the cultural ferment, the artistic experimentation the amazing mix of snow-capped mountains paired with clean waters, an amazing island view, and beautiful Western Canadian climate without the graffiti, the trash, and the sense of claustrophobia that you get within certain sections of Seattle.
Furthermore, you don’t get this heavy feeling that something bad is about to happen at a moment’s notice, or this depressed overburdened sentiment that often robs the life out of too many people residing in Seattle.
This is not a dig against Seattle. I have nothing against that city; however, just like with many things in life, you only get to appreciate something when you compare it with something else. Vancouver is like Seattle’s the sunny, outgoing, happy and optimistic sister. Seattle might seem like an emo or depressed person, but Vancouver is its healthy, vibrant and also positive counterpart.
It’s very easy to become optimistic when you’re in Vancouver because there are lots of great parks and open spaces. You feel that everything is possible. You don’t feel boxed in. There’s a tremendous amount of possibility in front of you.
It’s no surprise that a lot of people from all four corners of the world want to migrate to this city. It’s easy to see why many people consider it the land of second chances because regardless of how much or how little money you have, whatever educational attainment you have, or whatever bad breaks may have happened to you in the past, Vancouver has so much promise that you can essentially reinvent yourself into a happier and more successful person. Sadly, the same cannot be said of many other cities in the world. That is what makes Vancouver so special.
It’s kind of like the Statue of Liberty transported to our present day and age. There are just so many other places in the world that are shutting down the sense of optimism and opportunity. It really is quite a tragedy.