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What's on your bucket list?

By: By Lucy Haines

  |  Posted: Friday, Feb 14, 2014 07:00 pm

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  • DROPPING IN – Travel writer Robin Esrock will visit the St. Albert Public Library on Saturday.
    DROPPING IN – Travel writer Robin Esrock will visit the St. Albert Public Library on Saturday.
    ESROCK WORLD MEDIA/Supplied photo
  • World-traveller and author Robin Esrock checks off a life-sized to-do list with his first book and bestseller, The Great Canadian Bucket List: One of a Kind Travel Experiences, and he’s sharing his thoughts Saturday Feb. 15 at the St. Albert Public Library (SAPL) as part of the Armchair Travel program.
    World-traveller and author Robin Esrock checks off a life-sized to-do list with his first book and bestseller, The Great Canadian Bucket List: One of a Kind Travel Experiences, and he’s sharing his thoughts Saturday Feb. 15 at the St. Albert Public Library (SAPL) as part of the Armchair Travel program.

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• When you buy Robin Esrock’s bestseller, The Great Canadian Bucket List: One of a Kind Travel Experiences, the book has a code that will unlock even more experiences at the website, www.canadianbucketlist.com
• Attend Esrock’s talk, part of the Armchair Travel Series at the St. Albert Public Library, Saturday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Don’t forget to enter for a prize trip with Via Rail on the TransCanada train from Vancouver to Toronto. Saturday is the last day to enter.
• Did you know that Little Manitou Lake, 116 km southeast of Saskatoon, has a mineral density three times saltier than the ocean? It’s unique in the western hemisphere, according to Esrock’s book, and a well-kept Saskatchewan secret – not anymore. Swimmers flock here each summer to enjoy the resort or float easily on their backs: it’s Canada’s own Dead Sea.
• Esrock points to Alberta more than once on his list of the best places to see wildlife in Canada, including the bison of Wood Buffalo National Park, and moose and elk in Jasper and Banff national parks.

Got a bucket list? Many do – adventures to try, exotic places to see – it’s an idea that strikes a chord with people all over the world, who want to “fit it all in” in the time they’ve got.

World-traveller and author Robin Esrock has tapped into that desire to check off a life-sized to-do list with his first book and bestseller, The Great Canadian Bucket List: One of a Kind Travel Experiences, and he’s sharing his thoughts Saturday Feb. 15 at the St. Albert Public Library (SAPL) as part of the Armchair Travel program.

And lest you think the South Africa-born author only writes about adrenalin-inducing adventures like beluga whale watching in Canada’s high Arctic, there’s also accessible and affordable stuff too, like a visit to West Edmonton Mall or driving the Icefields Parkway between Jasper and Banff.

“I wasn’t sure there was an audience for a book of realistic travel experiences – things people can actually do,” said Esrock, who now calls B.C. home. “Since I’m not from Canada, I feel I’ve seen the special things every province has to offer with enthusiasm and unjaded, open eyes.”

Esrock has had some grand adventures – running with the bulls in Spain, for instance – and has many still to do on his own worldwide bucket list – Carnival in Rio, the Great Wall of China – he said the compelling dreams and experiences don’t need to be so ambitious, they can be found in the country and province we’re already in.

“Sure, there’s the crazy experiences people seek – floating in Canada’s own dead sea, spending a night in an ice hotel … but this book is also a cultural, people-focused story,” Esrock said.

And Canadians agree. The Great Canadian Bucket List is currently number one on Amazon’s website among Canadian Travel and Canadian History titles, providing readers as much with travel ideas as cultural and historical details of each region of the country. Taking to the tundra of Northern Manitoba to see polar bears, yes, that’s in the book, as is ranch vacationing in Alberta, and Maritime gems like walking the Hopewell Rocks and enjoying St. Andrews by-the-Sea.

“I was most taken by Canada’s north – how stark and vast it is,” Esrock added. “Some things are high-end and some are free. Experiences on a bucket list don’t have to cost anything.”

Esrock is at the SAPL as a special guest in the Armchair Travel series, a free and popular program held monthly through most of the year. Residents are encouraged to register in advance at the second floor information desk or by calling780-459-1682.

Michelle Papineau-Couture, adult programming librarian at SAPL, said the monthly talks are among the library’s most popular offerings, perfect for would-be travellers to live vicariously through the adventures of those who have gone off the beaten path – trips to less-travelled spots or with an unusual focus – bird-watching in New Zealand, for example.

“It’s not vacation slides from the all-inclusive down south,” said Papineau-Couture. “We want to hear from people who have travelled in different ways.”

Upcoming talks, which usually run about 75 minutes with a question and answer period, include the Galapagos Islands on March 8, Russia and the high arctic on April 13, and on May 10, camping along the U.S. northwest coast.


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