haidagwaiibalancerockpam2sep102016haidagwaiicharlotteharboursep102016What’s the most beautiful place in the world? A place of quiet inspiration and nature that takes one’s breath away? I’ve just returned from it, and am still under its magic spell.

Who’d have thought I’d find a place more beautiful than the one I’m privileged to call home? I divide my time, after all, between Vancouver and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Canada — definitely not shabby in the natural beauty department.

And I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled extensively and seen many stunning places. But for the past four days, I hiked and poked around Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, off the northwest coast of British Columbia.

They’re known as “the Galapagos of the north” for having partially missed the last ice age, meaning they have flora and fauna not found anywhere else. National Geographic rates them one of the top places to visit. There are ancient villages with weathered totem poles and log longhouses slowly rotting in the forests, accessible to visitors with a Haida guide. Also, in between the small villages of Charlotte and Skidegate is a first-class Heritage Centre, a highlight to any trip to the region. The mountains and forests offer amazing hiking, and the myriad of small islands around Haida Gwaii promise super boating and fishing.

So, I appreciate where I live no less for this mini-vacation, but believe me when I say that this is one place everyone should visit in their lifetime, and that I will return.