By any stretch, Jordan Dyck has had a busy couple of months. She got engaged, had a wedding, and bought a new home, all between May and September 2020. Which is a lot for anyone, anytime—let alone when you factor in a global pandemic.
“It was kind of all at once,” she admits, speaking via video from her aforementioned new home in Ucluelet, B.C., which she shares with her aforementioned new husband (and dog, not new). The pandemic has posed its difficulties for the sought-after photographer, writer, and influencer, who is used to travelling around the world for various tourism clients. But it’s given her time to nest, time to focus on creating a home that she and her husband (Ben Giesbrecht, also a successful photographer and videographer, but who’s counting) can be proud of.
“I think what really made it feel less like someone else’s house and more like our home right away was taking the time to just unpack and have things not in boxes—even if it’s not perfect. To have our books out, to have our pictures out,” says Dyck, who might be more recognized by her Instagram handle @joordanrenee. “We also really made sure, although there were certain rooms that were a disaster, that we had safe sanctuaries that we made in different parts of our home. Like, okay, everything else is a disaster, but that one corner is where I feel at peace and that’s where I read. Don’t look under the bed, but that one corner is perfect.”
Dyck fell in love with photography when she traveled through Australia and New Zealand after graduating from high school. It became her version of a diary. “I’ve never been a prolific journaler,” she says, “so photography for me was my way of journaling and documenting those memories.” When she came back and settled in Vancouver (she grew up in Calgary), connecting with other photographers was how she created community. It was also around the time that Instagram was starting to take off, and her dreamy, crisp, airy images started to gain a large following of fans and clients.
Normally she’d be jet setting to tropical destinations right about now to photograph hotels and tourism hot spots, but the pandemic has made that impossible, which has also meant diversifying her income: focusing on hyperlocal travel assignments and offering more social media and writing services. This forced time at home has revealed its own kind of beauty, though.
“This is the longest I’ve ever been home,” Dyck says. “I’ve gotten so much done around the house that I never prioritized before, because I’d been working or traveling. When you’re traveling all the time and you come home, you just kind of want to be home—you don’t want to be cleaning your gutters or mowing the lawn. But I’ve found a weird amount of peace in those mundane tasks.”
She also finds peace in her surroundings. Ucluelet is lush, wet, and coastal; a short drive from Tofino, it’s a small Vancouver Island community with a lot of Pacific Northwest charm. Because of this, Dyck spends her off hours going for forest walks with her dog, enjoying a beach fire with nothing but coffee and a book, and surfing those famous Tofino waves.
“Surfing has been a huge outlet for me. Surfing is one of those things you can do regardless of the temperature outside, regardless of whether it’s rainy or cloudy or stormy,” she says. “And the beautiful thing about Tofino is that there’s such a diversity of waves. You can go to a different beach and it’s totally different: an easy wave, a hard wave, a bigger wave. We’re lucky that there are a lot of opportunities to get outside—and safely get outside. Surfing is an activity that’s naturally socially distanced.”
Dyck’s love of Vancouver Island’s misty beaches and lush temperate rainforest runs deep, and for her, scent is such an important part of that. Once, when she was traveling through Africa for many weeks, she started taking sniffs of a perfume made with sea salt just to be reminded of the ocean, of home. Even when she’s at her house in Ucluelet, she uses scent to ground her in a sense of place.
“One of my favorite things is putting the vitruvi Pacific scent in my morning diffuser right beside my bed,” she says. “When I’m turning off my alarm I put that on and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m at the ocean.’ I think that is one of the best things about waking up: it makes me feel like I’m already connected to the place that I live.” She also loves curling up with a good book and diffusing Cedarwood Essential Oil or Velvet Essential Oil Blend, the latter of which she says makes her feel like she’s “living the life of someone I aspire to be.” She has the Stone, Move, and Stay diffusers, and uses them all in different rooms—but currently she is really enjoying the cordless Move. “I love that I can just drag it into my office and then take it into the kitchen with me,” she says. “How was this not in my life until now?”Other items that have really made her feel at home lately are a mid-century modern teak coffee table inherited from her in-laws, as well as a cozy set of Flax Sleep linens, which have made it gloriously hard to get out of bed. The pandemic has changed all of our lives, but if we can take after Dyck and find joy in the little things—a soft set of sheets, a shelf filled with books, a scent of the ocean wafting from the diffuser—we can start to appreciate the nuances of this very difficult time. There was always beauty in the everyday, but maybe now we can see it a little clearer.