Bob’s Recent Blog Posts
- English Ramblings April 25, 2023
- Library Adventures February 24, 2023
- Revising my Adventures February 12, 2023
- Epilogue/Epiphany June 4, 2022
- The last leg – five years, 2000 kms. June 4, 2022
Category Archives: Uncategorized
I’m walking in the Cotswolds for a week, followed by a week in Cornwall – topped with a few days in London. Why walk at home when you can jump on a plane, fly for hours at great expense, catch a … Continue reading
Lately, I have been musing about the nature of adventure; it’s my way of surviving a dull, gray, listless and seemingly endless winter. If I can’t have an adventure right now, or something similar to one, I can at least … Continue reading
Revising my Adventures
On December 27, 1831, the HMS Beagle set sail from Plymouth England on a two year voyage to survey the coast of South America. On board was a young Cambridge academic – Charles Darwin. He was just 22. Few adventures … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged fitness over 60, midlife adventures, Off the Couch and Out the Door 2 Comments
I have been home for a while and reflecting on my recent trip, the end of a ten year/5000 km series of four pilgrimages. I’m asked, and I ask myself, what did I get out of it? It’s not like … Continue reading
The last leg – five years, 2000 kms.
I have been doing long walks, pilgrimages mostly, for a decade now. I started the Via Francigena in June 2017. This final stage of my four stage walk is from Lucca to Rome in May 2022, the last 400 km … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged via Francigena 1 Comment
Walking Pilgrim Paths, a four stage Odyssey.
I took poetry and writing for my last course at SFU. I am not a poet, but I did over the course of the course learn much about writing in new forms, new ways to communicate, ways that were more … Continue reading
Resistance and Assimilation
This is a bit different from my regular posts. I am attaching a paper I completed for a course I took this spring on Reconciliation issues in the Graduate Liberal Studies program at Simon Fraser University. It was a challenging … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized 3 Comments
Marvin Foulkes, brother, friend. 1945-2022
I saw him on the other side of the intersection. It was a chilly day last December in Edmonton. There wasn’t much snow on the ground but there was enough to make it difficult for him to move through it. … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized 16 Comments
There is a Polish author, Ogla Tokarczuk, a Nobel Prize winner. In her book, Flights, she mentions the idea of synchronicity: “evidence of the world making sense. Evidence that throughout this beautiful chaos threads of meaning spread in every direction. … Continue reading
Over the Apps.
The Appenines are the mountains between the Po Valley flatlands and the famous west coast of Italy – most famously, la Spezia and Cinque Terre. They’re not the BC Rockies; nor is this the Great Saint Bernard Pass through the … Continue reading
Crossing the plains of Italy.
After a somewhat challenging start, I arrive in Italy. My landing in Milan from Montreal via Frankfurt is almost anti-climatic. Having entered the EU and been cleared, there was no one at the Milan airport who had the least bit … Continue reading
Disturb us, Lord, whenWe are too well pleased with ourselves,When our dreams have come trueBecause we have dreamed too little,When we arrived safelyBecause we sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,To venture on wider seasWhere … Continue reading
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Pray for the Paintress
In the process of completing a History course on renaissance Italy, I was required to do a major research paper of my choice. I tried to find a relatively obscure topic, I knew I would learn enough of Leonardo, Michelangelo, … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged Florence, Sister Plautilla, Vasari 5 Comments
Anne Carson – Ambiguity, Uncertainty, Ecstasy
In the fall of 2019, I became a student again. I attended my first class in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at Simon Fraser University. http://www.sfu.ca/gls.html I wore my brand new Doc Martens shoes to class, partly because, as we … Continue reading
The Gift Sometimes, the spirit of this season is crystallized in a small moment, a gesture, a simple kindness, what I like to call a Tender Mercy. I had one two days ago that has blessed me with a renewed … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized 6 Comments
Sigeric’s Roman Holiday
Attached is a modified version of a paper submitted to my SFU class on the history of Rome. In this time of covid, my Liberal Studies courses have kept me busy, given me purpose, structure and discipline. This one also … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged 10th century Rome., pilgrimages, Sigeric, via Francigena 1 Comment
Food that Fuels me.
In these covid times, it is easy to feel sadness, grief and a sense of longing for what might have been or what we feel we are missing. It can be more difficult to see the joy in life or … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged meals on wheels 2 Comments
My Life in the Time of Covid – 19
In the past few days, I experienced two events worth marking in time; I had my first haircut in over two months (sorry, photographic evidence will not be forthcoming) and I had my first sit-down coffee, a double espresso machiatto, … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged covid 19, Off the Couch and Out the Door, Simon Fraser University 7 Comments
The Consolations of Philosophy in the time of Covid – 19. Part III – Accountability.
It is hard to see anything positive in the midst of this pandemic. There is no light at the end of the tunnel; the only likely short-term solution is more social distancing; that means no dinners with friends, no live … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged marcus Aurelius, meditations, Off the Couch and Out the Door, Stoicism 1 Comment
The Consolations of Philosophy in the time of Covid – 19. Part II – Agency
If Stoic philosophy offered only the consolation of acceptance, it would be fairly dismal. To me, acceptance alone is justifiably interpreted as fatalism. All is lost, we accept the capricious fate delivered by Fortune and await some turn of events … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged covid 19, Epictetus, Man's Search for Meaning, Stoicism, Viktor Frankl 2 Comments
The Consolations of Philosophy in the time of Covid -19. Part I – Acceptance.
I have never thought much about philosophy, much less about how the study of philosophy could give me valuable insights into the meaning of life and how to make the best of my short time here on planet earth. In … Continue reading
This the first academic paper I have written in some 40 years. It was a part of my first course, started in September, in the Graduate Liberal Studies program at SFU. Having passed the course, I now feel comfortable sharing … Continue reading
School Daze I
On September 4, I walked into the downtown campus of Simon Fraser University as a student, a real bona fide student. I had my own student card, I had a student account and a password that helped me navigate the … Continue reading
Ten Years After
Ten years ago, on June 29, 2009, I walked into Chef Patrice’s kitchen at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. I had just turned sixty and learning how to cook, really cook, seemed like a good idea; maybe a little late … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged Adventures with Knives, cooking school, PICA 2 Comments
Hardening of the Attitudes.
My good friend Bob, observed one day that the first sign of aging is a “hardening of the attitudes.” The phrase has been around for decades but it was new to me. It resonated. There have been a few too … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized 4 Comments
the Joy of Receiving.
This is my story about learning – again – to receive the gifts of others, about recognizing our vulnerability, our inability to go-it-alone through any and all circumstances and our need, our profound need, for a community of others. I … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized 6 Comments
Sweet Spots and Improv.
Sometimes, planned adventures happen exactly as planned. Sometimes there is some faint resemblance between planned and actual experience, it doesn’t mirror but it rhymes. Occasionally when we are blessed with serendipity, our adventures take on a life on their own … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged Dreden, Gorlitz, midlife adventures, NOPI, Off the Couch and Out the Door, Ottolenghi, Panometer Dresden, semperoper 1 Comment
Road Trips – Affirmations and Acceptance
Fast approaching my seventieth birthday – my soixante dix, I try to think of a way to celebrate this event in a meaningful way while avoiding the consequences of achieving this milestone. We’ll face all the ‘growing old is fun’ … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged friendship, midlife adventures, Off the Couch and Out the Door 2 Comments
If this is Monday, it must be Beckett.
Sometimes, if we are lucky, even when we make choices for the strangest reasons, the resulting joy eclipses the consideration given them. Garbage in, wisdom out. Single people know that life doesn’t just happen, nor does it queue neatly to … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged midlife adventures, Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot 1 Comment
Summer adventure, Life adventure
I have found that fear is a powerful motivator for me; in my running days I had a fear based training program. Set an impossible goal, then use fear of failing to motivate the necessary training. A few sleepless nights … Continue reading
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Walking with Purpose III – Switzerland and Italy
The Via Francigena is not for the easily distracted or for those who desire instant gratification; it’s a 2000 kilometre path that starts in Canterbury, England, traverses northern France then wends its way through Switzerland and crosses into Italy over … Continue reading
Walking with Purpose II
Last summer, I started a major walk; the Via Francegina, from Canterbury to Rome. It follows the path of Sigeric the Serious, the Archbishop of Canterbury who made the trek to be appointed Cardinal. His return trip was documented; he … Continue reading
A Cautionary Canada Day tale
Joseph Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize winning economist, a past chair of the US Council of Economic Advisors and a past chief economist of the World Bank. I may be going with my gut here but I’m thinking he has … Continue reading
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History is messy.
What’s history? In my schoolchild days it was a long, complicated series of dates and names to be memorized; kings and queens of western European countries, battles and maps and heroes and villains. It was dead white men of privilege … Continue reading
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Jewels in an Uneasy Crown
I’m not an historian, I’m an opinionated blogger, an undisciplined student of whatever is on my mind and an itinerant traveller with a superficial grasp of the facts. I have a thin patina of knowledge, enough to make me dangerous … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged Alcazar, Alhambra, Cordoba, Granada, malaga, menocal, Mezquita, Ornament of the world, seville Leave a comment
Base Camp Basel
Over the last five years, I have enjoyed the warm hospitality and my very own bedroom in Basel, Switzerland courtesy of Kristen and Christopher. A few weeks ago, I made what is likely my last visit to Basel. They are … Continue reading
My Digital Dependency
I signed up for Twitter about a month ago; Trump tweets were the catnip for joining. I NEEDED to see Trump’s tweets directly; news casts blaring BREAKING NEWS and showing me the feeds were not enough. I wanted to go … Continue reading
I’m going to change my bank this week. I have decided, despite knowing that this will be a pain in the butt, I’m moving my bank accounts to Vancity, a British Columbia credit union with more than 500,000 members. Vancity … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged aria market, Delaneys coffee, smart shopping, Tango meats, Vancity, Walmart 7 Comments
Jungfraujoch, Top of Europe.
There is a restaurant called Bollywood at Jungfraujoch, an amazing Swiss tourist site in the middle of the Jungfrau range. It serves authentic Indian food to some 1000 happy customers a day. An Indian restaurant in the center of an … Continue reading
Man’s Search for Meaning.
Victor Frankl is regarded as one of the world’s foremost psychologists. His most popular book, Man’s Search for Meaning, was published in 1946. The book has been translated into 24 languages; more than 12 million copies have been sold. It … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged Auschwitz, Birkenau, Man's Search for Meaning, Off the Couch and Out the Door, victor Frankl 3 Comments
Walking as Inspiration
If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk. – Raymond Inmon My first response to anyone who asks, ‘what do you think about when you walk?’ is always … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged 88 temples, Camino Portuguese, Climbing Kilimanjaro, Hike, middle aged fitness, midlife adventures, Mount Kilimanjaro, Off the Couch and Out the Door, Outward Bound, shikoku, shikoku pigrimage, St Francis way, treks, walking inspiration, writing inspiration Leave a comment
Walking as meditation.
Over the past few years, I have become a walker, a hiker, a trekker, a wanderer, a rambler and, later in the day, a trudger and a plodder. I have come to enjoy going off on long walks in various … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged meditation, walking meditation 2 Comments
Sandra gives us more than yoga.
The secret to thriving in big cities is to become a part of the small neighbourhoods within them. The secret of these small neighbourhoods is people who animate them. Our secret in my hood is Sandra. When I moved to … Continue reading
China – Shattered Images – #3
I find a visit to any country ignites an interest and a curiosity to know more. I’ve read more about modern China since returning home than I have in the months prior to departing. My interest piqued, I’m trying to … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged Off the Couch and Out the Door 4 Comments
China – shattered images – #2
My primary purpose in visiting China was as a tourist; to see the sights, taste the food, hear the sounds, experience the reality. It is after all a foreign place. Is Canadian Chinese food really Chinese? Is the Great Wall … Continue reading
China – shattered images – #1
Six years ago, Kristen and Chris returned from their adventure in China astounded. “It changes the way you see the world!” they said. They were obviously right; I am still wide-eyed and speechless after a three week whirlwind trip through … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged Beijing, China, Chongqing, great wall, midlife adventures, Off the Couch and Out the Door, Shanghai. GAdventures 6 Comments
What are you thinking?
A few years ago, I was talking with Tiara, my Buddhist friend, about an upcoming walking trip. I told her I was good on the flat ground but climbing hills was tough. Tiara offered a suggestion, she called it walking … Continue reading
Remembrance and Sadness.
There is no joy to be derived from visiting any war memorial. There is no celebration in visiting the grave sites of the hundreds of thousands lost in any conflict or war. For me, there is only sadness, an unbelievable … Continue reading
Walking with Purpose
In 990 AD, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sigeric, walked to Rome; invited by Pope John XV to be elevated to the position of Cardinal. We know this because his return trip was chronicled by a member of his party – … Continue reading
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Why I give to Outward Bound.
Recently, I was asked by Outward Bound to write a short note explaining why I supported Outward Bound. The original note can be found in Outward Bound’s Fresh Tracks newsletter. http://hosted-p0.vresp.com/122508/4d2dc37fc9/ARCHIVE I believe in adventures; stepping out of my comfort … Continue reading