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North America

Long Way Around

Friday, July 15, 2011

Starting tomorrow, I'm beginning a road trip that's been in the works for a long time. It will take me on a round trip journey across Canada, down the Pacific coast, and back home across the United States.

The route for the trip can be best described as planned spontaneity. Over the course of a month, I'm going to follow those red arrows on the map with an improvisational spirit. I'll be loosely following each arrow with a plan to avoid major highways as much as possible.


The source of inspiration for this road trip is two-fold - one part family and the other part documentary.

The primary inspiration comes from my Dad. He instilled in me a real thirst for travel. I often saw him devouring information about geography, history and travel which had a natural influenced on me. We often talked about the places he had been and the places he wanted to see. He was especially a huge fan of the Canadian landscape and had covered most of the country before his death ten years ago. We had taken a few solo trips together before my Mom died but, after she was gone, I became his full-time travel partner. The last road trip we did was to Atlantic Canada. We were planning trips to the Yukon and Newfoundland shortly before he died. In many ways, I'll be experiencing this road trip through my father's eyes.

The other inspiration is a documentary I've discussed with many people - Long Way Round, featuring Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. In 2004, they rode motorcycles around the world and documented the entire adventure for the BBC. I bought the extended DVD set in 2006 and have watched it from start to finish a few times, never getting bored of the crazy adventures Ewan and Charley have on their trip! I've always wanted to do adventurous traveling, as opposed to touristic traveling, and seeing the Long Way Round series really gave this desire a kick start.

The Journey

The road trip can essentially be broken into three legs. The first leg will last approximately one week and take me from Toronto out to Alberta. After spending a week or so bouncing between Calgary and Edmonton visiting family and friends, the second leg will take me to San Francisco via Vancouver. I'll be spending a few days in the Bay Area geeking it up with photography and technology, then I'll head home on the third leg of the trip, weaving a path across the United States until I'm back in Toronto. I'll write about each leg of the trip in separate updates in the coming days.

Clean Diesel

I'll be doing the road trip in my 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Clean Diesel (long enough title, eh?). I bought that car because of its perfect combination of eco-friendliness (it was rated as the 2009 Green Car of the Year) and power (2.0L Turbo Diesel). I've been able to reach 960km on a single tank of fuel, which is amazing considering the power of the engine and size of the car. My goal is to reach 1000km on a tank of fuel at least once on this trip.

Shortly after I bought the car I told a fellow explorer that "it's going to take me around the world". It may never leave North America but the sentiment was there.

28-135mm, 1/500 seconds, f/8.0, ISO 100

That's a brief overview of the trip. I'll be writing, photographing and posting video of the adventure on all the usual social media suspects[1], as well as here on the website. Stay tuned for updates!


1. Social media presence: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Google+

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