Hello to all The IV readers! I’m really excited to be working with the team at The IV Wellness Boutique, and becoming part of the wonderful community they have created.
I grew up here in Vancouver, hearing stories of the challenges my own parents faced moving into an expensive city with a young baby, but can honestly say that I didn’t appreciate what they had experienced until much later. After high school in Vancouver, I ended up leaving the city for a mix of school and travel that kept me away for the better part of 7 years. In this time, the experiences I had allowed me to fully grasp how lucky I was to have grown up in a place like this, and the incredible friends and family I have to draw me back to it.
After completing 2 years at the University of Calgary, and a summer in Whistler, I realized I wasn’t ready to go back and finish my degree quite yet. Impulsively, my brother and I decided to book flights to Costa Rica to meet up with a close friend of ours, who was already travelling there. Our only plan was to meet her there; we had no itinerary for the next day, or the following 5 months until our return flights home. I’m not sure if everyone’s first trip is the one they always remember and compare others to, but for me it was. I learned so much about what we allow to shape our sense of selves and our state of well-being. Coming from a place of privilege in the world, I learned how much happiness and quality of life comes from the people you surround yourself with, and the perspective you take on what this life is about. I was blown away by the kindness and generosity of the people who lived with so much less than I was used to. That was a huge reality check for me, and a perspective shift I was, and am very grateful for.
I later had the opportunity to travel again through an exchange with my university in Calgary, to Europe. I spent a year in France: 5 months of language school brushing up on all the French I had lost since my days of French emersion in elementary school, and 5 months at a university taking psychology classes. I finished off that year with 2 months of traveling, knowing my days of cheap flights between European countries were numbered. I met many people from different places, and again had the opportunity to experience a different lifestyle, and live in very different cities. I absolutely loved all the outdoor markets, and after some getting used to, I grew to love the random never-ending conversations with the strangers that sat at the tables next to you, too. The education system in France was the thing that was most different. No set curriculum, no power point presentation or class notes provided to follow, no required text books, or even a bookstore to buy them from, only lectures, discussions, and a library to further research topics of your interest. All exams were open-ended questions to be answered in short answer or essay format, assessing our understanding/opinion/perspective… no regurgitation! It was unsettling not knowing exactly what was expected, or required to do well in class, but it was also a great lesson in thinking critically.
After that year in Europe, I decided to finish my BSc. in psychology at the university of Victoria, BC. I spent 3 years there and loved that city too. I loved the small town feel of it, and the familiarity that developed so quickly. After graduation, I started to miss the comforts of friends and family in Vancouver and decided to finally move back. Within a few months, I chose to enrol at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition to further my knowledge in health and wellness, and solidify my desire to take on my bigger goal of becoming a naturopathic doctor. The four-year program felt daunting at the time, but I knew that on finishing, I would be set up for a career that I would truly love. Aside from all the information learned to become an ND, a big part of my education was understanding how to support my body in what proved to be an all-encompassing, and incredibly exhausting, (albeit rewarding) time of my life!
With all the trips I did, and numerous cities loved, Vancouver was a city that blew me away coming home to. Settling in to life in Vancouver after having been away for 7 years, allowed me to see it in a very different way than I had growing up. Before moving back, I only knew my school, my friends’ homes, and the soccer fields that took me out of my neighbourhood. Having been back now for 5 years, I still feel like a tourist in my own city; amazed by the views we wake up to, the mountains and trails we can escape to, the seawall to stroll along… I could go on.
When I’m not in the clinic, I spend my time hanging out with friends or family, stopping in at a favourite workout studio, going for a run or walk along the water with my lovely pup Lennie, going for a hike in the north shore mountains, playing a game of soccer, and always… finding a great little cafe to enjoy a coffee and delicious treat! It’s a constant process of learning the balance between rest, and maintaining the energy to get out and enjoy all the things that put a smile on my face. I whole-heartedly feel that the hard work it takes to afford a life in Vancouver is well worth it though. I look forward to supporting my patients in navigating their own fine balance, supporting them in their health goals, and overcoming any obstacles that may be preventing them from making the most of their days here in Vancouver!
Dr. Brett Simpson