How to be Successful, according to your Future Self

I call up Squamish-based mountain guide, Julia Niles, on a fun assignment – I’m writing her professional bio for the Arc’teryx athletes page. I’m happy to reconnect with her, after having her as my guide in a climbing clinic two summers ago.  After three hours in a workshop, she is the kind of person who…

Bucket List Goals for Adventurers of a New Decade

The list is out. I have a beautiful hard-cover book on my desk to prove it. The Lonely Planet has announced the “Best in Travel 2020” – the results of an annual search to anoint the best places to visit in the year ahead. The list was whittled down, via fierce debate, from a longlist…

Unearthed

Sometimes when I tell myself to breathe, it triggers panic – as if by drawing attention to this innate, unconscious, automatic action, breathing in and out suddenly becomes improbably difficult. Meditation, swimming laps, yoga… all these experiences often contain a few extremely panicked moments when I gasp, unable to catch a breath that has suddenly…

What’s to Gain from Letting Risk In

The code of the fisherman is to stare every day, unflinchingly, at the sea. Fishing has been in Hiroshi Shirakawa’s family for more than 15 generations. At 72, he still operates a seasonal seaweed harvesting operation on Japan’s north-eastern coast, putting out to sea from his village of Oya every morning before dawn, and returning…

Finding the right outlet

A month ago, I drove through Pemberton and one of the most beautiful 14 year old kids I know, was standing in the middle of the roundabout, shaking a sign and punching his fist in the air. The Climate Strikes had come to Pemberton. Nice work, gang, I thought. Good for you. I honked my horn in…

Riding Back in Time

As we rode away from the trailhead, the guide turned back to throw a cheerful bit of advice over her shoulder. “You might as well turn your phones to Airplane Mode now. Save the batteries for the camera.” Searching for a signal would drain them dead, since there’s none to be found once you ride…

Forget pink and blue. Gender relations is a green issue

If I told you my kid loves to wear nail polish, is passionate about nature, animals and Wild Kratts, likes soccer, mountain biking and skiing, and sported, for the last month of summer, a feather in blond locks from Slow Food Cycle – and that her name is Jo – I’m guessing you’d think she…

Imperfect, but adapting to it

It’s an ugly truth. When I first encountered climber Craig DeMartino, I felt a little bit sorry for him. He was inspiring, for sure. Remarkable in his resilience, absolutely. But, with his right leg amputated below the knee, I saw the absence more than his remarkable presence. DeMartino was a professional climber and one of…

Voice Lessons

They say that your mother’s voice is the one you hear in your head, even as an adult, all your days. I reached a point when I realized that that was not going to work for me anymore. It was not the right voice. And so began a long slow exorcism, a careful, yet fitful,…

The Starfish Collective

I’m having lunch with a friend when she confesses, “This climate change thing is really starting to worry me. My kids, you know? And it’s so big. And these powerful people are making crazy decisions. What can I possibly do?” I have the instant urge to grab her by the arm and yell: starfish, starfish,…