Tag Archives: Off the Couch and Out the Door

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Shared Experiences

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Responsible Tourism

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

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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

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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

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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

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Tender Mercies

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

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Obrigado Portugal

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Bottled Poetry

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Drowning Fear

“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

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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…

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Turkish Delights

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

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The flotsam, jetsam and myth of history.

Troy is an exemplar, it encapsulates Turkey’s vast many faceted history; fact and fiction, myth and mystery. The mythical Troy of Homer’s Iliad, a story written in 800 BC of events that were supposed to have occurred in 1200 BC, … Continue reading

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Outward Bound got me Off the Couch…

Who would have guessed that I would be a poster boy for Outward Bound? Certainly not me, except maybe as the ‘before’ in the ‘before and after’ contrast. The attached has been shamelessly copied from Outward Bounds blog spot featuring … Continue reading

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Outward Bound in Ottawa

One of the joys of going on a new adventure is that it sometimes…no, just about always…takes me somewhere unexpected. Off the Couch and Out the Door reconnected me to Outward Bound Canada. The book starts with an Outward Bound … Continue reading

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A writer’s schizophrenic life.

There is an interesting transformation required of all writers. Writing is solitary work; I am isolated, I focus internally, my story is in my head. I spend hours, days on my own in my writer’s cocoon. Then I hit a … Continue reading

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