What Brought You to the Island
Arrival Stories, August 2023

What Brought You to the Island

By Nichole Banducci

Saying that Vashon feels like home has so much more meaning than we could have realized.

Our family first visited the Island back in June of 2018. The trip was a part of a “top secret” future home search, disguised as a family vacation. Our older kids were going to college in a few years and our little girl, Cora, would be at a great age to move.

During the trip, we visited a number of Pacific Northwest spots that might check a few boxes: coastal, excellent schools, and close community. We wanted a wonderful place to raise our little one, while also planting roots for retirement.

While most spots were “nice,” Vashon was our proverbial Goldilocks. A few fun days on the Island were capped off with Strawberry Festival. The other locations didn’t stand a chance. Goosebumps were felt. Tears were shed. Vashon was home.

We headed back to Southern California with our plans in place. There was plenty of time to search for our spot on the Island. This will be fun!

Little did we know that, in a few short months, our need for a home would become a bit more extreme.

In November, we lost our home in the Woolsey wildfire. As we evacuated in separate cars, my husband Brian texted me “#VashonDreaming.” That hashtag became our source of inspiration for the years to come.

At the time of the fire, we were living with Brian’s parents. They were having some health issues and it was a great opportunity for the kids to be with Grammy and Papa. Unfortunately, without renter’s insurance, our loss was not covered.

It was so weird to know our future home was somewhere else, yet we needed to lay short-term roots. #VashonDreaming indeed.

We chose to move back to the burnt-out property in trailers while Grammy and Papa rebuilt. The kids could remain in their schools and we could save some money. It’ll only be a year, right?

One year turned into two. COVID hit. Grammy passed away. We moved off the property. OK … we can make it for just three more years.

The bright light was that we were going to start our build on Vashon. We found a property. Septic design was approved. Building permits were in-hand. Future home, here we come!

Building on Vashon gave our short-term unsettled span in Southern California added positive energy. Moving to Vashon this June resurrected our spirits.

We had found our home on Vashon what felt like a lifetime ago. This year, we enjoyed Strawberry Festival as locals. Again, we felt the goosebumps. I cried a few more tears. We have finally come home, and it certainly is living up to #VashonDreaming.

August 7, 2023

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