Ever wonder what the people in your community did before they came here? One Pender Island man is looking to find out.
In January 2019, Chris Wakaluk started asking people on Pender Island for the stories of their lives before coming to Pender. The project, a podcast called The Stories that Brought You Here, started as a creative outlet for Wakaluk, and turned into a way to document and get to know the interesting stories behind the people who call Pender Island home.
“We don’t really know much about people’s experiences before moving here,” Wakaluk said. “The goal is to find out why they were driven to come to the island and what they were doing before they got here.”
Since he started, Wakaluk has spoken to 35 Penderites and is looking to expand his podcast into the future. His conversations have two grounding questions: What did you do before coming to Pender? And who on the island has helped you? Aside from that, the conversations vary widely from person to person. To Wakaluk, the podcast has been a great way to showcase how helpful the people on Pender are to each other.
“It has been really amazing to hear through 35 of these that one person after another has been helped by so many people,” he said. “Often they don’t even know where to start. I’ll attempt to get them to name a few people who have really stood out to them, but it has really been fascinating to hear that this island is a really supportive place.”
Wakaluk chose podcasting because it lends itself nicely to the kinds of stories he wants to tell. He releases a new episode roughly every two weeks, and that episodic format allows him to reach out to someone, interview them, edit and produce the episodes, as well as work at a full-time job. Each podcast takes roughly 10 hours to complete, and having the two-week schedule allows him to take the time to create something worthwhile.
“Podcasting was the best way to go about doing this, because the technology is available to bring it to a wider audience,” he said. “If I had attempted this 15 years ago without the medium of podcasting being as widespread as it is now, I don’t think it would have worked.”
The Stories that Brought You Here is available online at https://thestoriesthatbroughtyouhere.podbean.com/.