A great Canadian who passed his torch on to millions

One of Canada’s true heroes: Terry Fox. This photo shared by the Terry Fox Foundation on its facebook page and the caption “that hope and courage are passed from generation to generation” is so true! The phrase reminds me of my parents, my brothers and sisters, and friends, colleagues, supervisors who have been mentors and heroes to me over the years. They influenced my life’s direction and inspired me to have the courage to make difficult choices.

What kind of heroes and mentors have you had and who will you pass your torch on to?

The story of Terry Fox’s battle with cancer and his subsequent run across Canada has inspired generations of Canadians
Photo credit: Gail Harvey


Hosted by Dos Chinos in Toronto

I’ve just finished up a fun weekend in Toronto, where I was warmly hosted by my dear friends Q and Shu (los Dos Chinos) who I know from my time living in the Middle East. Shu and Q are great examples for me of what it means to live passionately. They have explored 35 countries by motorcycle (and Q an additional 15 on his own), regularly experiment in their kitchen with different types of cuisine, and they live life by the moment, not by rushing from experience to experience but letting each moment simmer slowly so as to enjoy a much richer flavour.

Check out their website/blog at http://doschinos.net for awesome stories, photos and for insight into their perspective on life.


Reblog: 8 Signs You’ve Found Your Life’s Work | Fast Company

Following my passion in Kenya
Photo credit: Ryan Rowe

I liked this short article about deciding whether you’re happy in your line of work. #2, 3, and 4 really ring true for me and I think are excellent signs that you’re in a good place. But #6 on commitment, I disagree with. Commitment can waver sometimes. Especially if, as #3 says “You are willing to suffer.” Sometimes the really painful moments can cause you to question whether you are doing the right thing. It doesn’t always feel so positive. It’s not so easy. Sometimes you’ll wonder why you’re doing it at all. But suffer a bit more, and I promise you’ll get over those humps. The lessons you’ll learn will be worth it and that will contribute to feeling passionate about your work!

8 Signs You’ve Found Your Life’s Work | Fast Company

#2. You are aligned with your core values. 

Your life’s work is an extension of your beliefs and worldview. You live in integrity because what you do is in accordance with who you are. This alignment will inspire you to move a small mountain if that’s what you have to do to realize your vision. Every day you work to manifest and actualize the world you imagine because by making it so, you’ll make the world more alive, beautiful and well.

Eating Dutch herring

Eating Dutch herring
Photo by Ryan Rowe

In this photo, a Dutch herring is descending toward my mouth. Herring is a type of fish and, served in this way, is a popular seafood delicacy in the Netherlands. I tried it today for the first time after a Dutch friend of mine brought several back from a recent trip.

It is traditionally prepared by gutting the fish and then soaking it in a brine solution (salt + water) to preserve it. They are eaten entirely raw, and typically accompanied by onions.

There’s also a certain way to eat it too. In my case, my friend urged me to sprinkle chopped white onions all over the fish, and then pick it up in my hands and lower it into my throat, as shown in the photo. This is the traditional way to eat Dutch herring. If you don’t believe me, google “Dutch herring”. :)

For more background, check out the Wikipedia article on soused herring.

Best way to travel Montreal-Toronto

Montreal’s “Gare Centrale”

I’m just about to set off from Montreal on a Via Rail train to Toronto. I have lots of fond memories of making this trip frequently during my studies as an MBA student at York University. In fact, I’ve made the trip in all modes of travel: train, plane, bus, and automobile. The only thing I haven’t done is walked or biked!

In keeping with the travel theme of my blog, here’s my opinion of each of these four modes of transportation.

Automobile: I love road trips. But for me, the conditions have to be right. I could probably travel nearly any distance by car if I’ve got the windows down and the wind in my face, radio blaring my top travel tunes, and ideally a travel partner with whom to stop at Tim Horton’s coffee shops along the way. My last road trip was in the USA: from Chapel Hill, North Carolina to Tampa, Florida via Charleston, South Carolina. A great time! But, I rarely travel this way. This is mainly because I haven’t owned a car since the late 90’s. I could rent but my drivers license recently expired and I can’t get another one until my work visa is renewed. So, the trouble factor is too high. And of course parking would be a burden in a city like Toronto. Renting a compact car for this trip – three nights and four days, plus fuel, and parking, would probably have taken me to about $200-250. There are options to ride-share. Check places like craigslist or simply ask your friends on facebook!

Bus: My global travels started by bus, and although its probably my least favourite mode of transport, it’ll always be a fall-back for me and I like to think it keeps me grounded to being a frugal traveler. Bus travel takes a long time: at least a nine hour trip to Toronto. Advantages include affordability and I sometimes like being able to travel overnight (you save on a hotel and can maximize your daytime hours in the city). Greyhound buses have a seat-side socket for your laptop and wi-fi on board, though on a recent trip from New York to Montreal I found it to be quite slow. For me, the major cons to traveling by bus are the frequent stops, the bumpy ride which makes it difficult to get any rest, and the usually crappy dining options along the way. But sometimes its still the best option in comparison. My most recent bus trip was from New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal to Montreal on a Greyhound bus. I paid $78 for a one-way ticket and the journey took eight hours door-to-door. The money saved lets my travel dollar go even further and that keeps me true to my roots as a budget backpacker. :)

Plane: Usually the fastest way to go of course. But don’t forget to add the travel time to and from the airport, check-in and security clearance, boarding time, and the extra costs of a taxi. Consider flying into Billy Bishop Toronto City airport which is much closer to downtown than Pearson International. Remember that flying by plane is the least environmentally friendly way to travel. Don’t be fooled by those airlines which allow you to purchase “credits” or “offsets” so that you can be carbon-neutral. Some carbon offset programs may not be having the impact we seek (more on that in another blog post). A return flight from Montreal to Toronto can be anywhere between $250 and $600, depending on when you book, who you’re flying with, and what time you’re flying. I last flew this route in January, as the first leg of a journey to Ethiopia.

Train: My favourite way to travel to Toronto is by train, mainly because I can sit comfortable with lots of leg room and work while on board using free wi-fi. Travel times ranges from five to eight hours, depending on the number of stops. There are fewer security hassles too. Getting to the train station in Montreal is easy and fast and likewise in Toronto. And fares are usually quite reasonable: I paid $116 for this trip, tax in. Another huge plus is that its much more environmentally friendly than taking the plane or traveling by car.

Via Rail still has Economy Escape fares available to Toronto for the upcoming Labour Day weekend, at $90 all in, return trip. What are you waiting for? :)

If you’ve done this trip before, please share your thoughts below! Thanks!

Find peace within ourselves

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 1.09.10 AMSomeone once said or wrote (I don’t know who):

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

It is my firm belief that for the world to achieve peace we must first seek and find peace within ourselves.

A recent incident involving a university student in Wilmington, North Carolina is a great example of this in action. When confronted with hate, Brent L. Campbell responded with kindness, and proposed a solution in a letter to university officials. This is the sort of leadership the world needs. I greatly admire people like Brent who approach things differently in a way that can inspire others. I hope he continues spreading his message far and wide about how to achieve peace and understanding through “knowledge and love”.

CNN.COM, August 6th, 2013: Victim of racist taunts has message for culprits