Summer paddling

For those of you who don’t live in Canada and/or don’t recognize the iconic building in this photo, it’s the back of the Centre Block on Parliament Hill. I’m on the choppy waters of the Ottawa River, riding the wakes of power boats and cooling off with frequent swims amid an early summer heat wave.…

Walking, paddling & driving in Scotland

The narrow highway is flanked by a pair of mist-shrouded mountains. Hairpin turns descend to the head of a long freshwater loch. As we pull over to behold the view down the glen, sunlight glistens off a rainbow and the soaring drone of bagpipes comes on the radio, which is tuned to BBC Gaelic, one…

Nascemos para caminhar

I’m thrilled to announce that the Portuguese version of Born to Walk — Nascemos para caminhar: O poder renovador de andar a pé — has been released by Brazilian publisher Livrarias Martins Fontes. The title, best I can figure (i.e., Google translate), means “We are born to walk: The renewing power of walking,” which sounds pretty good…

River race

I’ve always been a solo traveller. Whether walking, running, cross-country skiing or paddling, I typically prefer being out in nature alone with my thoughts. As the English novelist and journalist Will Self once said, “I walk in order to somatically medicate myself against the psychosis of contemporary urban living.” Ditto, for me, for other forms…

Spring paddling lessons, part II

After last weekend’s cold immersion into the new paddling season, my second outing of the spring — a post-work, pre-storm run down the Rideau River from my office in the Canada-India Centre on the campus of Carleton University to Stanley Park in New Edinburgh — was a little more successful. It started with a blessing…

Spring paddling lessons

I talked to the wind last weekend. And learned a couple of important lessons, too. But before we get to those, let me backtrack a few weeks, when I went to Ottawa’s top paddling shop, Trailhead Paddle Shack, and I picked up a new 12-foot, 6-inch inflatable touring stand-up paddleboard from Starboard. Eager to try my…

Un pied devant l’autre

Despite my woeful pronunciation, conjugation and vocabulary when I attempt to speak Canada’s other official language, I’m thrilled to announce that the French translation of Born to Walk has been released by Montreal-based les Éditions Québec Amérique. Un pied devant l’autre — one foot in front of the other — was translated by the extremely talented and diligent…

Boarding in Belize

“A steady easterly is blowing me away from South Water Caye, a small tropical island on the crest of Belize’s Southern Barrier Reef. I drive my blade into the turquoise water and propel my 12-and-a-half-foot-long stand-up paddleboard forward, aiming for a green smudge on the horizon….” It’s been nearly nine months, but my stand up paddleboarding…