As a freelance writer, I’ve learned, by necessity, to live on a meagre budget. I have not flown in an airplane since 2011. Once a year I indulge in a 10-minute (one way) helicopter flight to a wilderness location, the start of which is a couple of hours’ drive from my home. I stay for a full week exploring the landscape on foot or by skis, living in a cabin or tent without electricity or running water. The rest of the year I spend every weekend out in wilderness, as I’ve chosen to live in an area surrounded by national and provincial parks. I never feel like I am missing anything by not flying in airplanes – rather the opposite. While I have travelled internationally, and I do believe visiting other countries, particularly less fortunate ones than mine, provides valuable awareness and insight on the greater world, I also believe that there is a fine line beyond which travel becomes another form of consumption, shallow and indulgent, particularly when surrounded by luxury that prevents any real connection or learning about that place. Add to that the fact that pumping all that jet fuel into our atmosphere is good for no one and nothing on our planet. I also believe that for those who too easily jump on airplanes to “escape” their homes – and only the affluent even have that option – leads people to lose touch with their homes. It’s easier to run away than stand firmly and fight when necessary to protect and preserve the natural landscapes of our homes. I’m proud and grateful to live a life connected to my home, with very little/just enough air travel.
I write about the wild places, people and unique culture of western Canada’s mountain community. My new book (fall 2020) is Stories of Ice: Adventure, Commerce and Creativity on Canada’s Glaciers. It’s filled with stories, and photos, of how we connect with glaciers in this part of the world: stories of people having adventures, working and running businesses, conducting science and creating art – painting, photography, filmmaking and writing – on western Canada’s glaciers. And yes, it includes stories and interviews by those closely affected by how they are melting, how valuable they are to our lives, and how their downstream watersheds are mistreated and underappreciated.