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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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The expression “fair weather friends” refers to those of your acquaintances who are there for you as long as everything is going well (i.e. the weather if fair). But as soon as you start having problems and wish to discuss them with your friends (i.e. stormy conditions are on the horizon), then these people are nowhere to be seen.Hmmm… sounds familiar from a travel point of view.There are a lot of travellers who are convinced that a sun-shiny warm vacation is expected all the time and anything that deviates from this is, you guessed it, the fault of their travel agent. But we know that old expression:... Read More

Some of you may have seen the reality TV series. “Ice Road Truckers, Deadliest Roads”. The program was filmed in India where three truckers, transplanted from the ice highways of Alaska, were challenged by the notorious road conditions that included narrow mountain passes, irate drivers forced to follow behind a truck carrying tons of material, trucks passing trucks on disintegrating waterlogged roads, or roads under direct assault from rockslides, waterfalls and wandering cattle. You name it, the IRT drivers faced these obstacles over and over (and over) again every week.How real is real?... Read More

Mr. Inverso, my Grade 11 history teacher is to blame. He had us read portions of The Golden Bough, Sir James George Frazer’s classic study on religion, spirituality, totemic beliefs and creation myths, and then present an example of a local custom to the class. While this was many years ago, I remember talking about one of the Australian Aboriginal creation myths, and while to us at the time, the practices of people that we only knew through reading books sounded strange and story-bookish, the reality of this first flirtation with anthropology was quite profound. Years later I would read The... Read More

Epictetus, the Greek philosopher, determined that “If you wish to be a writer, write”. This was a reflection of his firm belief that people are responsible for their own actions, and therefore ‘wanting’ or ‘dreaming’ to do something can only happen if you actually do it!

This does not imply that you have to be born into the role of ‘writer’. There are many avenues that lead writers to success and in every circumstance, that old adage that ‘practice makes perfect’, comes into play.

When I was 14 years old, I took a five week student trip to Europe. We travelled by ship to various... Read More

The mystical strain of a loon’s cry is only one of the magnetic draws of Algonquin Park, nestled on the cusp of central and northern Ontario, about three hours drive from Toronto. The sensory appeal of this escape from routines, schedules, the city and stress has been luring me to return, time and time again over the past forty years. Sometimes it’s a pilgrimage to my favourite rocky outpost on Smoke Lake to read a book, reflect and listen to the noises of silent solitude of the lake, trees and birds. Sometimes it’s a drive to the Visitor Centre, about 25 miles past the west entrance of... Read More

It is often said that quantity is not quality, but if you can mesh the two terms together, the result can be memorable. Our first day in Lima was one of those “fill in every minute with experiences”-type days, and allowed us to totally immerse ourselves in the destination, which is exactly what we wanted to do.Technically, aside from landing at Jorge Chavez International Airport at 6:30 am, we spent the day in the Lima suburbs of San Isidro, Miraflores and Barranco. After an all night flight from New York, with little sleep, we landed on time, went through passport control quickly, and despite... Read More

I first visited Sri Lanka in 2005 and when I returned in 2011, I found that it's still a wonderful experience of smiling people, culture, history, tastes, smells, sights and discovery. While every one of my seven days in the country was packed with experiences and activities, the two days in Habarana were possibly the most impressive.Habarana lies in the centre of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle where a number of fascinating attractions can be reached by car, usually within an hour, including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla and Minneriya National Park. While we did not see Anuradhapura... Read More

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