What inspired you to start Relocal?
Relocal is all about capturing the feeling of “being a local.”
I went through two experiences of settling in Vancouver. Each got me thinking about what it means to “be a local.” What needs to happen between the initial awe of Vancouver’s beauty, to discovering your favourite dish at a mom n’ pop restaurant, to knowing secret locations for picking juicy late summer blackberries, to growing a memory bank of special moments across the city?
Tourist highlights, online research, and meetup groups are a start. But the journey to feeling like a local is a collection of friendly conversations at the grocery checkout, eavesdropping on the bus, reading neighbourhood bulletin boards, attending community potlucks, taking an unexpected turn on a familiar route, and so much more. It doesn’t happen overnight and the process can feel daunting when you are in square one. It can even feel impossible in Vancouver where we have a reputation for being cold and standoffish.
It is my belief that feeling at home in Vancouver doesn’t have to be so hard. There are friendly, welcoming, and wonderfully interesting people who want to share this city with you. You might just need a connection to discover these people, places, and opportunities. Relocal is that friendly connection.
The Turning Points
My first Vancouver experience
I was born in Hong Kong and raised in Vancouver. Growing up in an immigrant household, I saw the challenges my parents faced in moving to a new country where they had to learn a new language, form new friendships, and create a new sense of home.
Luckily we were welcomed by our neighbours in our quiet suburb. Over time, we formed connections by volunteering, exploring local events, and engaging with our community. It’s only in my adulthood that I came to appreciate how brave my parents were to put themselves out there like that! And I’m thankful that they brought us kids along, and showed us the benefits that come from taking chances.
My second Vancouver experience
For three years in my mid-twenties, I lived in California where I completed a Masters degree in Public Health at UCLA and gained work experience in San Francisco. When I returned to Vancouver, I noticed that my interests and friendships had changed. Add in the rain, I soon fell into a lonely, depressive phase.
What helped me out of the dark period was to explore my hometown with fresh eyes and to try activities aligned with my new values. It took several years and many “friend dates” that didn’t make it past the second try. But now I have people to call up when I need help and friends to connect with on a heart-to-heart level.
This process helped me realize I want to make feeling at home in Vancouver easier for others. In a way, Relocal is a full circle back to my public health interests. Social connection is key to healthy people and communities. I’m back in my hometown building community and promoting health!
What makes Relocal different from other events you can attend around Vancouver?
Relocal events are transformative not simply because of what we do, but more importantly how we do it.
We move in small groups, at a gentle pace, to encourage deep conversations, meaningful connections, and personal rejuvenation. Participants are encouraged to learn from each other and to form organic connections. Even if you think you know Vancouver, we shift the way you interact with your surrounding people, places, and things.
We carefully curate our activities in an effort to support values-aligned businesses who are often positively impacting the local community and environment. That means when you support Relocal, you’re helping to keep Vancouver vibrant and special!
What can someone expect from a Relocal event?
We are friendly and welcoming! We are a team of passionate facilitators, workshop leaders, nature guides, and eager locals who have explored Vancouver, and want to share our insights with you. We welcome your questions as much as your knowledge, because we believe in learning from each other and deepening understanding together. Our most special experiences are co-created with our participants.
It’s our favourite thing when participants open up, start conversations with each other, and leave with a relaxed smile on their face. We recognize it takes courage to join a new group activity, so we try our best to make it a positive and special experience for you!
Events are usually for 5-10 participants. We design it this way so that it’s easier for everyone to participate. That means no shouting across a dinner table and even introverts feel comfortable!
We try our best to be good neighbours. For example, if we will be walking in a busy area, we keep our group size respectful to the surroundings. We invite you to join an upcoming event to experience how a Relocal is special!
Who are Relocal events for?
If you are open to trying new things and meeting new people, Relocal is for you! Maybe you are new to town and want to explore Vancouver with new friends. Maybe you’re a long-time resident looking to break out of a “too comfortable” routine. Relocal will help you discover underrated gems special to locals, form meaningful connections, and relax in our beautiful environment.
What are your plans for future Relocal events?
We would love to co-create more special Vancouver experiences with values-aligned businesses and service providers! Please get in touch if:
- You would like to arrange a special bonding experience for your team.
- You have a unique offering you would like to share with new and long-time Vancouverites.
- You have a physical space you would like to share in support of community building experiences.