Life’s most meaningful journeys are less about where you’re travelling to, but why, with whom – and sometimes, for whom. Before I tell the incredible story that explains why eight intrepid travellers came to Africa on a journey of the heart, I need to tell you about an incomparable woman named Sharyn Mandel so that you understand, a little, the person behind our shared purpose. This video from our charitable partner imagine1day tells a piece… Read More

Canadians know a thing or two about diversity. After all, one out of five people in Canada is foreign born. We are home to people from more than 200 countries. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, atheists and agnostics alike find the freedom to practice their faith (or not, as the case may be) in peaceful coexistence here. We are a well-travelled nation, each individual trip abroad contributing to an ever expanding national… Read More

Ethiopia is a country of contrasts, and nowhere is this more evident than in The Danakil Depression — the geological wonder of the Afar Region that borders Eritrea and Djibouti. A hot, harsh, inhospitable climate, much of the developed world would deem it unliveable by standards ancient or modern. Yet it’s been home to humankind for millennia, and the region’s ever shifting, sun-blasted landscape teems with the rich secrets of our hominid ancestors…. Read More

One of the greatest lessons my partner’s mother Sharyn taught me is that family is more than the people bound to you by blood – it’s the people you choose to make yours. She was a collector of people – selective and keen. Her son shares that trait. Gabe’s circle of friends is a veritable United Nations of brilliant, colourful, interesting people who love him with a passion as deep as mine…. Read More

Our African adventure began in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital – and the world’s third-highest capital city, sitting at 2,400 metres above sea level. Emperor Menelik II founded the city-state in 1887, but thanks to capital investment and expansion funded by tax revenue and Western aid, Addis Ababa’s skyline is rapidly transforming. The prevalence of tower cranes, bamboo-stick scaffolding, and concrete rubble lend the city a decidedly post-apocalyptic vibe. New developments rise menacingly… Read More

Last month, I made what would become a life-altering journey to Ethiopia with my partner, his family and a group of friends to inaugurate the school we’d built in his late mother’s honour. At the outset, all I knew about the country – beyond its delectable cuisine – was what I’d learned as a child in the 80s. Charity singles Do They Know It’s Christmas?, Tears Are Not Enough and We Are the… Read More

A blend of modernist and traditionalist when it comes to fashion, style, and design, I have deep affinity for furniture that blends the organic warmth of wood and the silvery coolness of metal. While introduced at Milan Design week in 2012, I only recently stumbled upon Israel-based product designer Hilla Shamia‘s artful pieces combining cast aluminum and raw cypress and eucalyptus. Through a process called wood casting, molten aluminum is poured directly onto… Read More

In my short time with this blog, I’ve written several posts focusing on various aspects of beauty and body image — and the attempts of marketers to promote more realistic images of women. Of course, there’s another side to the image coin: men. They are bombarded with similarly unrealistic standards of male beauty from media and society. The gender gap is slowly closing on cases of eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder in men versus women. British… Read More

For the past few years, I’ve been swimming against the crushing current of time that’s been sweeping me swiftly and inevitably towards my fortieth birthday. Why do we fear 40? Some psychologists say it’s because entering middle age is fraught with the same tensions — the same existential drama — as entering adolescence. It matters little to most of us that Sex and the City defied convention and posited that 40-something women can be as sexy and fabulous as… Read More

In October 2012, Gabe and I travelled to Italy to attend the wedding of our friends Malcolm and Lilli in Ravello, a quaint little town carved into the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. Lemons, the lifeblood of the nearby Island of Capri, were a recurring theme in the small shops of the town square. Lemons on pottery, on tablecloths and linen, on magnets, straw bags, and bottles of the famed Limoncello. Everywhere… Read More