The Weber Wonderland of Arctic Watch

[This article was originally published 27 November 2019] As I sit here writing this, winter has just begun to take hold in Southern Ontario. Meanwhile, on Somerset Island, 3400 kilometres as the crow flies from where I sit, the tundra and the northwest passage have been in winter’s grip for months. Way up in Northern Nunavut, perched […]

Taliban Cheese from Corsican Hill Country

When Conde Nast wanted to call Michael to congratulate him for making their global list of Travel Specialists (again), they found his telephone curiously out of range (again). And that’s because Michael’s a man who jumps at an opportunity, as his travels during this Covid year have shown us. While the rest of us responded […]

In the Name of Nebbiolo

Remember dinner parties? The ever-gracious host. The ebullient storyteller who commandeers the conversation. The witty chap in a blazer – a date on his arm and a quip on his lips. The elegant lady in a well-tailored dress which flatters but doesn’t reveal. Her kid sister with a contagious laugh and plummeting neckline. Sigh. It’s […]

La Tournée des Grands Ducs

La Tournée des Grands Ducs (literally, The Tour of the Grand Dukes) is a common saying in France to refer to painting the town red, Dionysian style, or rather … Russian. The term has it roots in the habits of two Grand Dukes of Russia – Vladimir and Alexei –  the mischievous sons of Emperor […]

Get Back – 15 ways my heart aches for Andalucia

Something’s afoot in Andalucía, Spain’s deep south.  First it started with the discovery of an Almohad-era Muslim Hammam in one of Sevilla’s most iconic tapas bars.  Then, just last week in the nearby town of Utrera, reports came in that archeologists had unearthed one of the largest and best preserved medieval Jewish synagogues in the […]

Cosmic Venice

Swish, swoosh — the oar smoothly fends the water. Quite the statement, the Venetian way of rowing: proudly standing up, and facing forward, eyes into the future.  Swish swoosh, the roar rhythmically breaks the green surface of the lagoon. The pungent smell of salt and shallow marshes. An island here, another there, and more as […]

The Original Influencer

Twenty something, rebellious, and by all accounts, “randy”. A young English poet named George Gordon Byron (“Lord” to all but those who knew him well) swept through the small enclave of Sintra in 1809, penned a few lines of what would become Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, and sent letters home to friends declaring Sintra the most […]

Finding My Way North – the Camino de Santiago

I’ve found that the old dictum “hindsight is 20/20” has taken on new meaning this year. My realization has been that for much of my adult life, travel has defined my most significant moments. I don’t want to come off sounding like some Instagram travel influencer racing around the globe to collect passport stamps for the […]

Canoes, Kayaks and Snowshoes – It’s the Getting There

Next week I embark on my annual canoe trip with a group of close friends. We typically stick close to Algonquin Park, as our cottage is located there, making it an easy jumping-off point. Plus the joy of a post-trip ice cold beer in the sun on the dock is hard to pass up. Ontario has […]

Where’s Oualidia?

About 45 minutes into the drive south from Casablanca, the landscape starts to change. Fertile agricultural land gives way to firm red earth and barren rocky soils. Waist-high stone walls of marine limestone punctuate the empty rolling hills. You turn off the new tollway for the old coastal road, beginning at the unattractive port town of Jorf […]

Birding is Boresome and Other Myths

Let this be an ode to the non-tactile senses. To the joy of looking and seeing, the richness of listening and hearing. To being still long enough and staying put long enough to enjoy some of the world’s subtleties. About 15 years ago, I had burrowed my way into the professional world of travel. In […]

An Expedition to the Stars

The story I have to tell begins in Portugal in 1881. A team of scientists from the Lisbon Geographic Society gather to undertake an expedition to the Serra da Estrela mountains some 300km away. The Serra, the highest point in continental Portugal (the peak at Torre clocks in just shy of 2,000 meters) acquired its main […]

Social Distancing in Mahale Mountains

Times have changed, but then again in some places they haven’t. As social distancing and seeing people in masks becomes the new normal, I’m reminded of a place where this has always been the status quo –  visiting the chimps of Mahale. Such precautions have been in place ever since Nomad Tanzania opened Greystoke Mahale, […]

I, Claudio

Speaking as both an individual of Chilean descent and a lover of all things Morocco, it took surprisingly long for Claudio Bravo to come into my orbit.  Surely due in part to the fact that in neither Morocco nor Chile was Claudio Bravo ever particularly well known.  Even to this day, no museum or art […]

Priorat Priorities

I’ve never met a wine-growing region I didn’t like.  But there’s a difference between producing wine and cultivating a wine culture, and the best measure of how successful a wine-growing region can be lies not just with the quality of the wines they produce, but how well the place weaves together the distinct threads of […]

Ode to the Anteater

Have you ever seen an anteater? They are brilliantly bizarre-looking, with a strange long nose, sticky tongue and giant boisterously bushy tail, almost cartoon-like. On my recent trip to Colombia while staying at the excellent Corocora Camp, with the help of my eagle-eyed local guide, I was able to see one of these bafflingly otherworldly creatures […]