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Friday, December 14, 2018

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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

In 1990 I had the opportunity to spend three weeks in Turkey, travelling from Istanbul in the west to Diyarbakir in the East and down to Bodrum in the South. Through all this one of the more impressive sites was the blue hot water spring terraces of Pamukkale (pronounced Pa-moo-ka-le) in Denizli Province, in the south western part of the country. The brochures showed tourists flocking to bathe in the small pools that cascaded down the slope of a landscape that resembled a snow field—and this in the middle of July. These calcium carbonate deposits are what inspired the Romans to name... Read More

It was Sunday morning and we were in the town of Urgup, in Cappadocia Turkey. After a 10 hour direct flight from Toronto, we made a brief touch down in Istanbul on the Friday night, enough time to throw our bags in our room, check out the pedestrian mall by Taksim Square, enjoy a great meal at Haci-Baba Restaurant, have the hotel fix our air conditioning at 2:00 am, and even manage a few hours of sleep. By 5:15 am, we were in a taxi headed back to the airport for the 70 minute flight to Keyseri airport, about 45 minutes from the Cappadocia area.Saturday was spent touring some less touristy areas... Read More

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