Where Are We?

by Kate Zimmerman

Magazine  |  Fall/Winter 2018  |  Where Are We?

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You might call me a Renaissance wanderer. I see life as a constant journey and a perpetual education. At 30-something, I’ve tackled 100 destinations. While I could easily be described as having “been there and done that,” I always hanker for something new. A dozen trips a year for several weeks apiece is the norm.

I pride myself on not being run-of-the-mill. Don’t imagine me amidst a herd of 50 Tilly-hatted tourists, nodding as our guide remarks, “When in Rome, you should really try the pasta.” Here’s what I’d say to that: D-uh!

Deeper learning is my mantra, though not for university credit. Nevertheless, before I go anywhere with anyone, we share a couple of classes so we all know what we’re getting into. We arrive at our destination well-informed, primed for adventure and poised to absorb everything we can. 

Though I often hang out with UCalgary alumni, I’m not “old school.” Frankly, I’m fresh, and it is participants’ enthusiastic word-of-mouth that keeps me hopping. They know that, wherever they go with me, it’ll be intense. I’ll pick the brains of experts from the university and the community; when we get to our destination, local connoisseurs will also bend our ears, over drinks, at local sights or on the bus between them. 

One of the authorities I see most often is a naturalist, science writer and wildlife photographer; my companions can’t get enough of him. But I also hobnob with smart folk immersed in the worlds of drama, archaeology, geology — you name it. I’ve even got a soft spot for bon vivants; if there’s Guinness involved, all the better.

In 2019, I’ve added Nunavut’s Inuit arts and culture, Northern India and kayaking around Vancouver Island to my schedule. I’ve stuck pins in my world map at the Tanzanian-Serengeti plains; the coast; the islands and lakes of Croatia and Slovenia; the Caribbean countries of Costa Rica and Panama; and the archeological and historical sites of Campania, Italy. I’m using French literature as a way to understand its cuisine and drinks, and planning to live and eat like a local in Taipei and Hong Kong. 

In my mind’s eye, I’m already digging into the culinary aspects of Ireland’s Celtic roots, embarking on an odyssey through Ancient Greece, and marvelling at India’s wonders, past and present. Wish me luck as I plumb the Himalayan kingdoms of Bhutan, Nepal and Sikkim and comb the waters of Mexico’s Baja region for grey whales. 

But, reader, don’t just stand there, waving me bon voyage. I never travel alone. Picture 10 to 25 like-minded people: curious, intelligent lifelong learners eager to focus on the subject at hand. Get packing! 

Magazine  |  Fall/Winter 2018  |  Where Are We?

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