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
Tag Archives: Off the Couch and Out the Door
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
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
The Challenge of post-covid Travel.
I have recently returned from a big adventure, an international trip to Italy. It involved long flights across Canada and the Atlantic, several interactions with immigration officials from various countries, including my own. In the pandemic nations are trying to … Continue reading
Posted in Walking Adventures Tagged fitness over 60, Hike, midlife adventures, Off the Couch and Out the Door, treks, via Francigena 4 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 – #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
Summers are short in Canada. School’s out; carefully husbanded vacation days are spent. We pack them full of activity. We fill our days with friends and family. We break bread; feasting in the age-old tradition of communion. We barbeque, we … Continue reading
The Power of Trust – I
The South Nahanni River is a true Canadian Icon, a World Heritage site. It is rugged, powerful, inaccessible, and indescribably beautiful. Paddling the 200 or so kilometers of the South Nahanni below Virginia Falls in a canoe is a legendary … Continue reading
Look for the Helpers.
Some adventures in life are not fun, they are just life in all it’s messiness and unpredictability. I have to search within my self to find meaning; sometimes the introspection process is the only important result of the search for … Continue reading
Wanderwegging in Switzerland
Wanderweg is German for footpath. Switzerland is wanderweg heaven; a maze of thousands of kilometres of footpaths and hiking trails of various degrees of difficulty, every path carefully marked, given a number and assiduously signposted. The Swiss, home of impeccable … Continue reading
My Japan Pilgrimage III
The joy and the challenge of adventure is simple. I am whisked away from the comfortable and familiar. Life becomes intense, exciting, remarkable, constantly surprising. My senses are overloaded; tastes, sights, smell, sounds do not register in familiar ways. Every … Continue reading
My Japan Pilgrimage II
This is my first trip to Japan. For two months, I deliberately choose to immerse myself in a completely foreign culture – the food, the language, the customs, the sights, the sounds – all will be beyond my ken. My … Continue reading
My Japan Pilgrimage – I
I first heard of the 88 Temples pilgrimage several years ago; shrouded in exotic mystery, it was too much to even consider. It was Japanese, Buddhist, long, culturally and linguistically unfathomable; it was too complicated, therefore unachievable and insurmountable. I … Continue reading
In the Land of Needless Worry.
There is a difference between vacations and adventures. A vacation is about rest, relaxation and enjoyment. It is, by definition and choice, intended to lower the blood pressure, facilitate mindless hedonism and indulge the senses. An adventure is completely different. … Continue reading
Hockey and Heidi-land.
Yes, there is a place called Heidi-land. It is in Switzerland and it doesn’t just resemble the movie home of our beloved Heidi; it replicates it. Read the book, see the movie; your internalized, glorified, mythical image of Switzerland exists. … Continue reading
India and COP21 – not a Travelogue.
My travel goal is to deliberately take myself out of my comfort zone, to cause myself a bit of discomfort. Trips to strange places challenge my conventional wisdoms, confront my biases and cause me to think more deeply about all … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged climate change, COP 21, Dharavi, India, midlife adventures, Off the Couch and Out the Door Leave a comment
Inscrutable India; she is beyond comprehension to me. I have difficulty understanding Mumbai, how it functions, how it reconciles the extremes evident everywhere. My first inscrutable is why more than 500,000 rural peasants migrate to Mumbai every year. My second … Continue reading
Poverty and Privilege.
Today, my third day in Mumbai was both disconcerting and troubling. I travel for many reasons; adventure, to take myself out of my comfort zone, the thrill of new experiences, to widen my perspective, to learn, to see the world … Continue reading
Off the Couch and Out on the Hustings.
Hustings is one of those arcane words that only comes up at election time. The word goes back to 12th century England, it means a place or meeting where politicians make election speeches. I first got involved in politics in … Continue reading
The one less traveled by
Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by And that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost The Camino Portuguese is a 600 kilometer pilgrimage from Lisbon to Santiago. Unlike the more famous … Continue reading
Robert Duvall won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for best actor in a sweet, oft-overlooked 1983 film called Tender Mercies. It’s the transformation of an end-of-the-line alcoholic country singer into a decent man, not by some instant Hollywood epiphany … Continue reading
I have spent the last three weeks on the Camino Portuguese, a 600 kilometre Pilgrimage from Lisbon in Portugal to Santiago in Spain. I walked across Portugal, village to town to city, along ancient cobblestone paths, following the Via Romana … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged Albergue, Camino Portuguese, Camino Santiago, Casa Guedes Porto, Eat Portugal, FC Porto, fitness over 60, Lisbon, middle aged fitness, midlife adventures, Off the Couch and Out the Door, Oporto shore tours, Ponte de Lima, Porto, Portugal, portuguese bread, Santiago, St Francis way, Via Romana XIX 5 Comments
Die drey scheenschte Dääg – the three most beautiful days
My travel books are filled with fascinating stories of spellbinding, often bizarre rituals, rites and celebrations – inexplicable to outsiders but filled and layered with meaning to the locals. Most times, the more isolated the culture, the more fascinating the … Continue reading
The Geographic Cure
Sometimes travel isn’t about going to a new place, it’s about getting away from the place I’m at, even if only temporarily. Going away is getting away, escaping, retreating, running, changing. It’s called the geographic cure. Examples? All Canadians want … Continue reading
Older than Dirt
Rome is indescribable and almost incomprehensible; the layers of history are too deep and the bits that have survived are difficult to make order and sense of. Rome also isn’t well served by photographs. Pictures really can’t capture the grandeur … Continue reading
Food, Glorious Food.
Over the past six weeks in Italy, I have consumed at least my body weight in the following; tomatoes, cantaloupe, mozzarella cheese and prosciutto. My two main dishes have been prosciutto y melon and Caprese salad. They fed my body … Continue reading
Florence is the place most people go when they visit Tuscany. It is a city like no other, with ornate cathedrals, museums crammed with Tuscan art and artifacts, piazzas that demand a stop for coffee and contemplation and enough shopping … Continue reading
Cinque Terre – terroir.
Cinque Terre is one of those special places in the world, a World Heritage site encompassing five villages (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso al Mare) that have existed for centuries. That they are strikingly beautiful is a blinding flash … Continue reading
The Law of Unintended Consequences.
Long ago, I formulated the Law of Unintended Consequences. It goes something like this – whatever I expect to happen in the future, it will not; something else will happen, something I have not even considered. The Law offers constant … Continue reading
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
John Lennon used the phrase in his song Beautiful Boy. Last week, Mr International Athlete, I stumbled, tumbled and twisted my foot; I jumped up, rubbed some dirt on it and continued on like nothing happened. Luckily, it didn’t interfere … Continue reading
Medals and Memories
The Senior C team was successful beyond all expectations in winning medals at the IDBF club crew world championships this past week. This is different for me; hoping to win and winning anything beyond a participation medal has been off … Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized Tagged Dragon boat competitions, dragon boating, False creek, FCRCC, fitness over 60, IDBF world club crew championships, middle aged fitness, midlife adventures, Off the Couch and Out the Door, outrigger canoes, Ravenna Dragon boat championships, Vancouver. Eh team 5 Comments
Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into…
We are half way through the regatta schedule; I continue to be amazed. It’s a roiling cascading kaleidescope of events and a tempest of emotions. Chris, my paddle caddy, advisor, sports mentor and coach/psychologist is monitoring my vital signs minute … Continue reading
The Road to Ravenna – part 4.
The last month has been surreal. Six days a week my day is focused on TODAY’S PRACTICE SESSION. The only thing that matters is an hour or more of intense physical activity that leaves me breathless; drained and intoxicated, depleted … Continue reading
The Road to Ravenna – Part 3
At the age of 65, well past my prime for every competitive sport except maybe bocce, I am heading for an international dragon boat competition in Ravenna Italy. My late evolving chance at glory came as a huge surprise last … Continue reading
“the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin Roosevelt I think I should have that quote tattooed on my arm or some other key … Continue reading
Off the couch hits the interview couch on Shaw TV
I was interviewed on Shaw TV in Vancouver; it aired today. go to; http://www.youtube.com/therushonshawtv Fame and fortune are sure to follow…
Turkish delight is a soft, chewable sweet made famous in a land that offers some of the world’s best – think honey sweetened concoctions like baclava. It is the sweet of all sweets; I bought a kilogram to take home … Continue reading