Friday, April 27, 2007

Some travel a little, some travel a lot

Spring is here and like a good bureaucrat, I am looking forward to more time off (thanks to unions, "the people who brought you the vacation"), spinning summer travel plans. Not that I hate winter; there is plenty of recreation still possible from going skating on the Canal to local ski hills, to snowshoeing, to that tropical getaway. But, all these qualifications aside, true wanderlust hits me only around this time of the year.

Now, I'll preface this by saying I am a fairly well-travelled individual. From the Yukon to Spain, from Costa Rica to Cape Breton Island, I can lay a claim to having been to a plenty of interesting, scenic and sometimes culturally different locations. First-hand travel experience is, in my opinion, the only reliable way to figure out this wide world and also get a sense of how we are living at home, the context of it all. Aside from foreign travel, I happen to do a lot of personal and business travelling within Canada and have gained a decent, if somewhat superficial, understanding of our vast's geography and people. Hiked a lot mountains and swam in many a lake.

All this said and done, some of us are true travellers - take, for instance my long-time friend Lee.

Lee's deep interest - and some might say obsession - on the travel front dates back to mid-90s when he'd heard about my backpacking trips through Europe. Since then, Lee took on what he calls a "10 year travel project". It has been a series of trips, some short (a few weeks), some longer than a year at a time, punctuated by working in his hometown of Vancouver. The guy has stood on all 7 continents (yes, including Antarctica) and been to places most of us will only read about in the National Geographic...places like Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia, like Tibet, like the Great Barrier Reef, and the Angel Falls. His friends sometimes join him on parts of these adventures (I have had the privilege of trekking with the fellow in the Peruvian Andes in 2004 and shared a part of a trip to Alaska with him some years ago). But at the end of the day, he travels mainly solo and is the most travelled individual (at a relatively young age) that you and I have ever met. If there were airmiles for every single flight he's been on, it would furnish several free vacations for an average family for several years, I'm sure...

Lee runs a website, purely devoted to places he's been. The photography is quite high-end, almost professional in some instances. Have a look at

This is as a way of saying, sometimes you don't need a guidebook, just ask someone who's been there.

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