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Immigrating to Canada – My Life Story

Welcome to Backcountry Canada Travel and thanks for dropping by.

Yrene immigrating to Canada and life story
Come and follow me on my journey

My name is Yrene. Adventure travel is my biggest passion and I have completed many crazy journeys in my time. Many are from before I started the Backcountry Canada Travel Blog, and I haven’t gotten around to writing about them. I don’t know whether I ever will write down the travel stories of my past. Here is a short excerpt of my life for you to find out what I’m all about.

My Story – Immigrating to Canada and Living On The Edge

The Backcountry of British Columbia has been my permanent home since 1999. I was often asked, how I could leave beautiful Switzerland, my homeland behind. How could I part with my good job and financial security? What made me come to Canada and live at the edge of the Canadian wilderness?

It’s the space, the endless forests, and the secluded mountain lakes. It’s my survival spirit and my love for nature. And most important of all, it’s Canada with endless opportunities.

Immigrating to Canada and settling in the Backcountry of British Columbia

I’m not a writer and English is my second language. So how in the world do I believe that I can create a successful backcountry travel website about Canada? How can I suddenly be a writer? Moving to Canada is one thing, to write a travel website is another.

One of my favourite books is “LONE COWBOY, My Life Story” written by Will James. This is a book about the lifestyle and spirit of the American cowboy and the West. Will James died in 1942. The book has 414 pages and the content is written in plain English, just the way he would talk and tell his story.

Once I started to read I couldn’t stop, and not once I had to pull out a dictionary to look up some fancy words. So how can I be a writer?  Simple, just like Will James did. I will write in plain English the way I talk, which will inject a little of my personality into what I write and I hope you will enjoy it.


What is my Background, who am I?

I’m an entrepreneur, adventurer, outdoor enthusiast, wilderness nut, and animal lover.

Growing up in a small village in Switzerland, at a time when travelling and trips to foreign countries were still out of the norm, I decided that I would go and explore the world. Immigrating to Canada was never on my mind.

Just after my twentieth birthday, I went on board a large passenger ship in Italy heading for Australia, with a landed immigrant visa in my pocket. I didn’t know much about Australia then, nobody I knew had ever been there, no cell phones or Skype, and landline phone calls were extremely expensive.

Letters and postcards were still in fashion. The General Post office was always the first stop when I arrived in a new town, to check for letters from home. I worked and travelled in Australia and New Zealand for seven years altogether, spending lots of time in the Outback.

One of my other big adventures was a six-month backpacking trip from Australia to Europe through South East Asia, at a time when Afghanistan was still part of the travel route. Another time I travelled to Japan, Taiwan, Hongkong, and the Philippines, quite a long time ago.

The Big Move

Immigrating to Canada was never on my list, it just happened. It was during one of these long trips that I detoured to Canada and settled out East. I became to be a landed Immigrant again, this time in Canada. I do remember the cold and long Canadian winters in Ontario.

Travelling west on the Greyhound
Travelling west on the Greyhound from Hamilton Ontario in my early twenties

It was in February one year and minus 30 degrees temperatures when I hopped on the Greyhound bus in Hamilton, Ontario to go to Vancouver. British Columbia, a 4,320 km journey, and a 40-hour bus ride. This was my first trip out west and I stopped in Calgary and Winnipeg for a night. I can’t even remember how many nights I stayed in Vancouver before heading back home. Even in the middle of winter, I loved the adventure and the winter spirit of the West.

After years of living in Eastern Canada, I returned to Switzerland for the first time in 10 years and settled down. I got a well-paid job in the management of a large International Company. That was okay for a few years and especially good for my bank account, but in the end not what I wanted for my future.

Immigrating the second time around

Moving to Canada and immigrating for the second time around was in 1999, with my Canadian husband, this time I went out West.

I’ve been single for many years now and have two grown children. My daughter Nadja moved back to Switzerland and is planning to stay there. Please check out her website birkenranch.ch. My son Kevin was one year old at the time when we moved to Canada and is a typical Canadian young man who likes big pickup trucks and the Western lifestyle. Both my children are entrepreneurs like myself.

Together with the decision to move back to Canada came my promise, that I would not work in a 9 to 5 job ever, and I didn’t. I got into adventure tourism and started Silver Spur Trails Wilderness Guest Ranch in Lumby, British Columbia, offering wilderness vacations, horse camping trips, ESL courses, and lots more. The beautiful Okanagan Valley is not only one of the most popular vacation destinations for Canadians, but it’s also a great place to retire for many.

immigrating to Canada and living the dream
Living the dream and exploring the land

Living the dream

My wilderness ranch was known as British Columbia’s best-kept secret, surrounded by mountains and pristine wilderness. Guests came from all over the world to experience the Canadian wilderness or stopped in during their Canada vacation for a Backcountry ranch adventure.

Living at the edge of the wilderness with gravity-fed water from the mountain and wood heat in winter, life often becomes a matter of survival.

I closed down Silver Spur Trails for business in early 2016. Backcountry Canada Travel has been my new venture since.

Whether a Canadian road trip is on your bucket list or immigrating to Canada is on your mind, hopefully, this website will give you ideas and inspiration.

Learn more about off-the-beaten-track places and how to turn travel into an adventure. START HERE.

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