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This week I talked to Jaillan of Savoir There about expat life in Canada. Savoir There is a fabulous travel blog that focuses on how to travel in style. You should also follow along with Jaillan’s adventures on social media.

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And now the interview……

Hi, Jaillan. Tell us a little bit about you.

I’m Jaillan a full-time travel writer and blogger from London, England. I’m obsessed with sarcasm, puns, manicures and shoes.

Why did you decide to move to Canada?

Well usually if my fiancé is with me I answer this question by simply pointing at him –  now I have a ring on my finger I can point to the ring when he isn’t even around by way of explanation, but as we’re online I’ll just say: I moved here for love.

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What do you love about living in Canada?

I love the mountains, the scenery and the scale of everything – what’s not to love about fresh clean air and being surrounded by absolutely world-beating scenery? As an extension of that I have totally and utterly fallen in love with camping here – something which (and I can’t emphasise this enough) I always avoided like the plague in Blighty.
I also now love the laid-back vibe; Canada generally really is the quiet and polite place you expect it to be and it’s only when you leave that you’re reminded how rude people can be elsewhere (by which I mean in London).
Coming from central London, at first I found Vancouver too quiet and slow-paced, probably because I was one of those rude people! Always rushing and cursing those who paused on escalators or got a map out on the street – whereas if you get a map out in Vancouver 10 people stop to ask if you need help.
Now when I come home to London I find it too frenetic – I’ve been Canadianised! Wait, no if I had been I’d have spelled that with the letter zed. And called it a zee.
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What is not so great about living in Canada?

Coming from an amazing metropolis like London where there are always a million and one things to do and just as many other places to go if you somehow get bored, and so many countries within easy travelling distance of the UK, I still struggle sometimes with the restricted selection of cultural stuff that goes on in Vancouver and the distance it is from anywhere else.
‘Van’ as they call it is a bit like LA with a lot less rollerblading: everyone seems to want to walk their (tiny) dog in yoga pants at 7 am rather than nurse a hangover having got the night bus home after a few drinks  – and the healthy outdoorsy lifestyle is what everyone aspires to rather than having seen the latest play or art opening.
I also find it really expensive, and that goes for Canada in general, but I did put together some tips for saving money on holiday in Canada.

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What do you do for a living there & what was the job search process like?

I’m a travel writer and blogger, so my work is fluid and location independent and I originally came to Vancouver on an assignment, intending to stay for 2 weeks and that was well over 2 years ago!

How was the visa process?

It’s complicated but depends on your age, nationality and situation; I wouldn’t advise anyone to fall in love with someone from a different country if they can help it. I’ve known a few other people who have emigrated with their partners and the paperwork is of course nobody’s definition of fun, but you can’t choose who you fall for 🙂

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What is the cost of living like?

Expensive – but interestingly, when I first arrived the exchange rate was totally different, and everything felt horribly expensive, now the pound is worth a lot more and that has helped enormously

Would you like to stay there long term?

Ask the boss! I think I can see myself staying long term yes, but as a lifelong traveller it’s hard to commit to just one place! I also love England and Europe and would never want to cut ties with it – I’m trying to find a way to split my time between the two continents and make it work – it’s just a shame the jet lag is so bad!

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What are your fave traditional foods that we should definitely try if we go?

Everyone thinks Canada and food and thinks Poutine but that’s from the other side of the (vast) country – I’ve never even been and had the real thing. For Vancouver I’d actually say sushi – there’s a massive Asian population and there’s a ridiculously good (and cheap) sushi place on every corner in this city and once you’ve got used to the high standards, going back to London’s distinctly average sushi (unless you’re dining at Nobu of course) is hard.

What are some places we should definitely visit?

Everyone recommends the same places in Vancouver and for ages I thought that’s all there was, but I think Vancouver just isn’t one of those cities where you fall over amazing things to do at every turn, or where the attractions are glaringly obvious.
There’s Robson Street for shopping and the Capilano Suspension Bridge for, well bridges and stuff, and Stanley Park is the equivalent of Central Park or Hyde Park and those things are the main tourist trail.
But I prefer Commercial Broadway and Main Street, which are the more fun and edgy (playing fast and loose with the term edgy as it is still super safe) parts of town for shopping, restaurants and cafes. One tourist-friendly spot that is worth a look is Granville Island which is basically the Covent Garden Market of Van, and the best place to get unique handmade gifts and souvenirs.
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What are some things about the culture we should know before going?

The thing about the outdoorsy lifestyle being the main draw, and not the nightlife, for sure. And the fact that people say for sure all the time too.

Would you recommend it to other people who are interested in moving abroad?

Absolutely I would, it’s a completely different way of life than England and one which if you haven’t tried, you could never imagine and the only way to find out if it’s your dream lifestyle is to give it a go.


Don’t forget to check out Jaillan’s awesome website Savoir There and follow her adventures on social media: 
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Sarah
Creator of The Wanderlanders | Lives in Costa Rica | Folk music lover | Travel addict | Craft beer snob

1 COMMENT

  1. This was a really lovely article to read. I laughed at the ‘for sure’ comment as I’m British and one of my close friends is Canadian. When we first met there was always something lost in translation when he said ‘sure’ because to me because if a British person says ‘sure’ they’re usually either being sarcastic or really unconvinced. Made for a few funny/awkward conversations at first!
    Canada looks so beautiful and I desperately want to go there.

    Nicky xx | http://www.curious-journeying.com

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