This web site is about everything I am interested in. Initially I started it to be the diary of all my travels, but it morphed quickly into everything else. It grows by the day. It is my latest passion.
Only Where You Have Walked Have You Been is a metaphor for doing things “close to the ground” – walking and hiking, kayaking, diving, hitchhiking, staying in hostels and taking cheap transportation, trying to have as many authentic experiences as possible, and talking to everyone.
There are several features that are unusual making it unlike any other travel website: 1. It looks very unprofessional – that is because I have done everything, and I am a computer luddite. Once I learned how to make a post, I was off. 2. It is written as a diary of my travels and other activities I have been involved in. Most travel websites are short experiences and “Ten Best” lists. They are accompanied by advertising and most get a cut from Amazon or Airbnb. 3. There are no photos. That’s because I don’t travel with a camera and am too lazy to figure out how to add them to the site, and it would be a lot of work. If you really look at the photos on most travel websites, few add much to the story, and often technically poor photographs 4. It is completely nonmonitized. I have never made one penny from the site, and have no plans to do so . 5. I do nothing to improve its search ratings and from my daily stats, it is rare to have somebody find me on Google. Almost no post is even findable on any Google search and I have done nothing to improve that. Word of mouth is my only sales technique. Sounds kind of old-fashioned? One exception is my most popular post “Problems of the Japanese Education System”. It is #1 on a Google search. My second most popular post is “American Work Ethic” where it is #4 on Google search ahead of Wikipedia. Neither of these actually interest me much as they were written some time ago. I am surprised that my travel info doesn’t see more business. It is the best in the world 6. There is no way to make comments or contact me. It will likely stay that way. 7. I will give a warning: much of the writing is heavily plagiarized. I find other people’s articles that I like and integrate them into posts that are significantly condensed and reorganized. Sometimes I give credit and sometimes I don’t. More recently I do give credit, but now, after 5 years, I don’t know who wrote what. I justify this because I think I provide the best travel information any where and nobody gets subjected to ads or any views influenced by monetary gain. It is completely non-monetized. It is completely word-of-mouth. I started that way because I was too lazy to do anything “techy” and now I like it. I am interested in seeing how big it can get on only its own merits.
In reality, this website is only for me and if someone likes it, that is nice. I really do endeavour to provide complete and accurate information for people to use. I think it will become the best travel website in the world. Just let me travel for another 5 years.
Divided into books I have read and ones on my reading list, it has become almost unwieldly in size. I frequently ask other travellers about their favourite books and add them. I hear of other books from reviews in Time and Atlantic, 2 magazines that I subscribe to on my Kindle. I search travel web sites like Boots’nAll who had a piece on the best travel books of all time. Sources are everywhere. If reviews are available, I might include them, but often it is just a name.
I love to eat good tasting food and am an avid cook. I have lived with some women who were great cooks. I have a son who is a chef. One of my greatest fears seems to be missing a meal. As a result, I am in a constant battle with my weight. So that I had access to my favourite recipes when traveling, I used to have a whole bunch of recipe cards with simple lists of recipes and ingredients. Then I had the brainstorm of putting a cookbook on this web site.
I have cooked and eaten almost everything here. Everything tastes great. I have robbed recipes from many cookbooks. Try them out.
When I graduated from university, I read the bible of hiking, “The Complete Backpacker” by Colin Fletcher. Despite having never been on a trail in my life, I went out and bought everything I needed to start hiking and backpacking including a big, heavy, stiff pair of boots. With my brother and two of his friends, we walked across country from Medicine Hat, Alberta to Elkwater in the Cypress Hills sleeping next to a haystack on a farm. I abandoned the boots after a few miles and left them at a ranch. I then did a few day hikes in Waterton Lakes NP and after moving to Victoria, backpacked the West Coast Trail alone and Della Falls, the highest waterfall in Canada. I was hooked.
My hiking really took off after moving to the West Kootenay in the middle of the Columbia Mountains in south central British Columbia. I joined the Kootenay Mountaineering Club, a great organization with a full complement of summer and winter trips and summer camps. With friends and the club, I went everywhere. The motivation was always to climb the mountain at the end of the trail. I edited the journal of the club for three years and started their register program where a notebook in plastic plumbing tubing is placed on the top of mountains. I personally put up about fifty and now more than 150 registers are under cairns on mountains in the West Kootenay and where we went at Hiking Camp. The club has held Hiking Camps for more than 35 years. Over three weeks in the middle of summer, three groups of twenty helicopter up to a base camp. We then day hike and climb the mountains in places few people have access to. I have now been to 21 camps and they are the best week of the year. The food is unbelievably good and one develops great comradery with all sorts of people. I have a few articles on the Kootenay Mountaineering Club. Also, with a core group of four friends, we spent four days over Labour Day weekend going all over the place for many years.
With a cabin in Waterton, I eventually climbed every mountain and ridge in the park over seventeen summers. I wanted to write a book on off-trail hiking in the park and placed registers on most of the mountains with the blessing of the park. It was also an opportunity to hike and climb in the north part of Glacier National Park in Montana. Three winter holidays were spent in Hawaii and I did several hikes on Kauai, Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii. I also joined the Alpine Club of Canada and have gone on many guided mountaineering adventures with them. I have seen the best of the Rocky Mountains of Canada.
Starting in 1995, with nine weeks of holidays to use up every year, I went to the desert South West of the USA, mostly to the Four Corners area and southern Utah. It is an ideal place to go in the shoulder seasons for us in Canada where snow doesn’t disappear until early July and often has returned by September. I went for two-week trips in the spring and fall every year. We would do a continuous drive over 24 hours there and back, car camp, and hike our brains out for 14 days. Photography played a big part of those adventures. After thirty-three trips, I have explored many places all over Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, SW Colorado, Nevada and California. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. With over 300 canyons to explore and at least eight national parks, there is limitless variety, and I could continue to go many more times. I’ve returned to my favourites many times – nine times to Coyote Buttes, five times to Coyote Gulch and to all the National Parks. It has become an obsession.
Since moving to Vancouver Island, this is another place to explore. In contrast to the West Kootenay, much of the hiking is in private land owned by the big timber companies. Trails are much less common and bushwacking seems to be a part of every hike. Travel is often on minimalist flagged routes.
After retiring, I have traveled every winter. The hiking possibilities in New Zealand and South America were endless. I did all nine Great Walks in New Zealand. I also walked the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago), 1,600 kilometers from Le Puy in southeastern France to Santiago Spain over 64 days in 2011.
Besides telling about all the places to go, I have written about the art of hiking, equipment, my favourite day hikes and backpacks, and food.
Only where you have walked have you been.
My very first trip was a guided trip to the Sea of Cortez in Baja, Mexico. I then went on a guided trip to Gwaii Haanas National Park on Haida Gwaii. Anthony Island, with the most standing totem poles anywhere in the world, is a special place. I was hooked. After attending a sea kayaking symposium, I bought an expedition sea kayak and all the stuff necessary to do trips. I already had the camping gear so it was a natural extension to hiking as a way to explore another dimension. I bought a second kayak for my girl friend at the time, and eventually a Feathercraft K2 Expedition double folding kayak to take to the Baja during my first winter traveling.
Initially I kayaked the big lakes in the West Kootenay and over many years, explored them all. In 2008, I took the Assistant Sea Kayaking Guides course with Rainforest Kayaking in Clayoquot Sound. Dan Lewis and Bonny Glamcot are the best instructors in the world, and I left a significantly improved kayaker. I felt comfortable doing all my own navigation and was much more confidant with my kayaking skills. I kayaked Meares Island and the Broken Group alone. Vancouver Island is undoubtedly the best place in the world to kayak and it is now my home. After a big ten-day trip to Kyuquot on the west coast of the island with some very experienced kayakers, I advanced my knowledge to another level. In 2012, I joined the Nanaimo Paddlers, an active kayaking club near home. In the spring of 2013, I paddled 900 kms through Johnstone Strait, Haida Gwai and around Cape Scott.
Southern Utah has some wonderful kayaking. The Green River must be one of the best trips anywhere. Lake Powell, the 120 mile long reservoir on the Colorado River behind the Glen Canyon Dam, has been the focus of three trips. There are an almost endless number of canyons to explore from the water.
Besides places to go kayaking, there are articles on skills, equipment, dehydrating food, meal plans for kayaking, and several recipes.
I think I have something to say about traveling – the philosophy of travel, and how to travel safely. This page on this web site has grown progressively to the point I believe that it has the best information on travel of any web site anywhere. My technique is to steal ideas from other travel blogs, search the web and write what I believe is the most complete treatise on any travel subject. The articles are in a state of constant flux. I pick the brains of other travellers and am constantly updating every article or simply rewriting one to make the ideas clearer.
My Country List is an up-to-date list of all the countries I’ve visited and all the ways of keeping track of countries and everywhere more specific that could be listed: UN members, FIFA members, Travellers Century Club, World’s Most Traveled and World’s Best Traveled (now Nomad Mania). My goal is to eventually see 160+ countries and be highly rated in the latter lists that include everywhere. It took 10 years to reach the mid 60s, but over the 2016 to early 2020 period, I should have no problem reaching that goal.
The information section is followed by a very random selection of things that I think might interest other travellers.
The web site serves as my travelogue – my personal diary. I have traveled extensively since 2006 and hope to have at least another ten or more years to see the rest of the world. Starting in Baja, Mexico, I have since seen most of Mainland Mexico, Central America, Cuba, South America, New Zealand, Spain and most of Asia. I had a long list of people who I e-mailed about each trip – friends, relatives and people I meet on the road. With this web site, I have stopped e-mailing and now only post in the Travelogue. These are the accounts all and my present year’s travel.
I haven’t carried a camera since 2010 so there are no pictures anywhere in the travelogue – yet. It is only text which can get kind of boring. The key is not to try to read everything but skim and skip from subjects highlighted in bold and see what might interest you. Someday I will get around to adding photos and when the year by year account gets unwieldy, to separate everything into continents to make it easier to find places.
I read a great deal, am an atheist, have left of centre political beliefs, am a political junky and a curiosity about many things. Even though we occupy the same continent, Americans are different from Canadians and I never cease to be amazed at how conservative Americans think – their politics, military, religion, prisons, and views on gun control, abortions, homosexuality and medical care. It is that amazement that originally prompted me to want to put things on paper. The remainder of the posts address issues that interest me and are an eclectic variety. Anything I think interesting gets added and is constantly being added to.
This is a page I added in 2015. I had spent the previous winter diving in some of the most amazing places on earth – Palau, Sipadan, Komodo, the Raja Ampats – all with intact coral, sharks and big fish, things that indicate a relatively intact marine ecosystem. I wanted to put all these in one place. The live aboard trips have very detailed descriptions and thus are long so have been linked to the main post.
HIKING & CLIMBING the WEST KOOTENAY
After 40 years living in the West Kootenay and hiking, I wanted to fulfil a void – a book that wrote about all the trails but also all the mountains at the end of the trail. The publications of the Kootenay Mountaineering Club, The Karabiner and newsletter, are a treasure trove of information. Every mountain the club ever climbed and wrote about is included in the book. Nothing was digitally available before on any hiking and the south Purcell Mountains.