I have had a passion for travel for much of my adult life. An avid skier throughout my time in university, I was able to travel to ski resorts across Eastern Canada and into the Rockies to find the best runs and the best powder available. During my travels to Alberta, I fell in love with the Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise corridor and eventually found myself spending two six-month stints in the Student Services Department at the Banff School of Fine Arts in the early 1980’s as a counsellor and outdoor guide.
Throughout my 31-year career as a Geography and Studio Art teacher, I was a staunch promoter of experiential education – code for getting out of the classroom and travelling as a learning tool. Whether we explored central or northern Ontario, flew to Western Europe or embarked on bus adventures to Canadian and American cities, I firmly believed that travel was an important complement to the classroom experience. Over the last dozen or so years of my teaching life, I planned and directed annual New York City Art Tours through Ellison Travel – they have remained a memorable highlight for former students whom I encounter in retirement.
My association with sport and particularly with basketball has also exposed me to diverse communities and travel opportunities. My work as a member of the FIBA Statistics Crew at the 2014 Pan-American Games in Toronto and more recently with the Toronto Raptors minor league team, Raptors 905, has broadened my understanding of sport’s ability to activate powerful associations and emotions in people of all backgrounds and origins. Over a 30-year career as a basketball coach and nearly two decades as a basketball official, travel has played an important role in enhancing the competitive nature of sport. It has provided me and the athletes I have had the privilege of working with memorable opportunities that have carried beyond competition and provided important life lessons for all.
Travel has also been an important component of my family life. Over the past ten years, my wife and I (with our son and daughter in tow when they were younger) have visited Montréal, Québec City, Ottawa, Washington D.C., Buffalo, Chicago, New York City, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. We have completed road trips along Québec’s lower St. Lawrence River region, on Canada’s East Coast, along the American Eastern Seaboard from Maine to Massachusetts, the Pennsylvania Valley and the central California Coast. Our most recent adventure was a three-week road trip in Spain that took us from Madrid through Toledo, Mérida, Sévilla, Cordoba, Granada, Valencia, Tarragona and ending in Barcelona. We are in the midst of planning our next European voyage for Autumn, 2016 – a 21-day self-guided tour of Germany that will include visits to Hamburg, Berlin, Dessau, Bayreuth, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Munich (in time for Oktoberfest naturally!), Cologne and Koblenz.