Chronicles of a Misadventurista

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“The journey is the thing.” ― Homer Travel – and the worldview expansion it brings – is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. I’m not talking about your standard ‘fly and flop’ resort vacation. That kind of travel only recharges the batteries. I’m talking about meaningful travel – the kind where you live like a local, collect experiences over things, allow your wandering heart to explore, face and conquer your… Read More

On our travels through the Omo Valley, we stopped for a quick stay in Jinka – a market town nestled in the hills north of the Tama Plains in southern Ethiopia that is home to 16 indigenous ethnic groups. After several arduous hours of rough road travel, most of our travel tribe wanted nothing more than to chill for the afternoon. But when our friend and guide Teddy asked us if we’d like… Read More

“Like we always say: you have the watch in the West…and we have the time.” – The Tao of Teddy You have your two-bit tour guides. Then you have your average, run-of-the-mill travel guide. Sure, they know their stuff, but they do it by rote – and they don’t customize the experience to the group they’re traveling with. Some hold themselves apart from their groups, choosing not to interact, not to interfere,… Read More

And though she be but little, She is fierce. – William Shakespeare My mother-in-law Sharyn Mandel was a fierce and fiery force in this world. A passionate educator, her life’s purpose was teaching. She had a particular interest in developing the minds of young girls, and fostering their independent spirits. Upon her passing, we discovered that she intended for us to make her often-talked-about dream of founding a school in a developing… Read More

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