cultural idioms

Cultural Idioms – Every Culture has Something to Say

No matter where you travel around the planet, every community, culture and country has insider language. These are the cultural idioms that every traveller needs to learn if they want to sound like someone “who knows the score” So as a traveller if you want to “hit it out of the park” then all you […]

Where should I donate

Where Should I Donate? Ask a Charity these 5 questions

After Black Friday, Grey Cup Sunday, and Cyber Monday comes the latest and greatest day, Giving Tuesday is a way to rebel against commercialism and greed. It is also the time when charities ask you to help out. Unless you are under a rock, it probably means that someone has recently asked you for a […]

Harry Potters Mom Hates Orphanages

I hear that J K Rowling is upset about orphan tourism. She started a tweet battle and let everyone know that we need to stop seeing orphans as a person you should go travel to hold. She has a point. There are terrible things that are done to orphans both in magical make believe worlds and […]

Development Goals and the cool factor

Development Goals and the Cool Factor

When you think about it, we all want to be cool. Women wear painful high heels to look good, men wrap a noose (tie) around our neck to feel powerful. Fashion trumps comfort when we head out on the town. We upgrade our phone, not because it is broken but because it is a generation […]

Racism in Canada

How to Understand Racism in Canada

Is racism killing black people in the US? I hope not, and as a Canadian, it is easy to pat myself on the back about our lack of racism when we watch our American neighbours implode every weekend with news about cops shooting another black kid. It made me wonder how racism in Canada affects […]

what to pack in a carry on

15 easy tips for what to pack in a carry on

When I travel, I only carry travel-on luggage. I never lose my bag. It saves me a tonne of time when I get to skip the luggage carousel. And now that most airlines charge you to check a bag, it also saves me money.  If you want to know how to save time and money, this […]

Bob Geldof is Pimping the Poor

Bob Geldof is Pimping the Poor.

“Do they know it’s Christmas?” That is the lyric of the Bob Geldof song. The song he sang with a bunch of celebrities 30 years during the BandAid concert to raise funds and awareness about starving people in Africa. He is trying to do it again for Ebola but this time lots of people are telling him that he should know better than […]

I knew people would be upset, but you will NEVER guess what made people mad.

Last week I started up a war. I wrote a controversial post about the country of Africa and said that due to bad press because of the Ebola media hoopla, I was going to share some “lesser known facts” so people could understand the ‘real Africa’. I wrote a blog post. A lot of people complained when […]

The country of Africa

10 Astounding Facts about the Country of Africa (#6 will break your brain!)

The country of Africa is receiving a lot of bad press during this time of CRISIS OUTBREAK of EBOLA (the deadliest disease in recorded history). While these fears should probably be increased, I wonder if it is time to also share lesser known African facts. I have travelled throughout the country of Africa, and while […]

How Steve Sold a Smokeless Stove That No One Knew They Needed

Sustainability is one of those buzz-words. It is right up there with gender-balance and environment. That’s the problem.It means that everyone uses the word on every single proposal. Some projects should never be intended to be sustainable at all (like all disaster relief projects). Still, sustainable language is rammed into proposals. The alternative is donor-funding suicide. How […]

9 simple hacks to speed your way through airport security

We stand like cattle, shuffling forward, penned in by keepers in blue blazers, turn and turn again, awaiting the next stop. As I walked towards the departures gate I saw a long line and a short line. The short line had the Global Entry logo and I knew my Nexus card would get me through. My moment of […]

Do not be the change you want to see

Have you ever tried to corral a group of friends and come up with a plan. What do we want for lunch? What movie do you want to see? Should we go camping for the long weekend?  It could be anything but when you get 5 or 6 friends together it gets tough to make a […]

Is It Ignorant to Ask “Where Are You REALLY From?”

I was once called by a survey company. I began to busily give my opinion about whatever it was that interested them. As we neared the end, the interviewer needed to know some demographic information and he asked me “Where are you from?” “Canada” I replied. “But what is your background, where are you from?” “I am Canadian.” […]

Only have $2 to help the poor? This might be the best way

I was training a group in Toronto. All of them were on their way overseas to go work in countries where poverty is the norm. They all want to help the poor. The question is what helps? That’s when I surprised them with a strange social experiment. I asked the group to do a crazy social experiment […]

How to reduce the threat of militants who are trying to kill you

My brother was working in Pakistan, in an area where terrorist attacks have become commonplace. He was there to aid the local people rebuild after some devastating mudslides had torn up their homes, communities and lives. While he was helping, militants were actively looking for ways to kill people who look like my brother. It […]

The Biggest Travel Etiquette Blunders

This might be the most offensive post I have ever written. So far… Have you ever offended someone and you didn’t know until it was too late? When I was about 20 years old, I remember driving down the Deerfoot in Calgary with a few other friends.  We happened to drive along a police car […]

A Poorly Kept Secret about Another Broken Well

what is wrong with these people? They have to walk for kilometres for water, often to polluted streams, and this pump is just sitting there at their doorstep – Why don’t they fix it?

My favourite 5 places on the planet.

I have travelled to over 45 nations and I am frequently asked “where is your favourite place? Where would I go back? There are so many great options that I find it tough to pick just one. That is why my usual answer to the question is: “The next place I go” Cop out? Still […]

The fatal flaw to understanding another culture

A few years ago I was in India and I met a travel writer for Outdoor magazine. We chatted about life, travel, writing. I was a little jealous of his life and work. I had overheard him talking to an Indian guy about his wife and so I asked about his family. He told me that […]

89 reasons why you think about poverty the way you do

When I think of living out in the country, farm-life, the picture that comes to mind is of “Anne of Green Gables” and “Little House on the Prarie”. Those were the shows I watched as a kid. Sod-busters. Barn-raising. Ice cream socials and square dancing. So when I think of village life I think of rustic, […]

How to tell time

We left our guesthouse just after 7 am because our host had told us that the high mountain road was under construction. There was only one way in, and there would only be a couple moments when we could get through. We had to get there before 8 or we would have to wait until […]

Don’t choose who to help

An entire village has been burned to ground due to war. You have been working in the region for a few years and have only found two trustworthy families. They work with you and help out whenever you are in the area. The situation is desperate, but you have a big problem. You have some resources […]

How to Tell a Story so People Pay Attention

A number of years ago I met Foday. He was tall, lanky and busy. Always moving. His young sons would run to hang on him whenever he could find his father taking a break, which was not often. Foday knew how to smile. A kind man, he quietly lit up a room. Foday wanted what […]