In a phrase – the world is a very interesting place. If the common destiny of humanity is to be on this tiny planet only once, why not make it a life ambition to try to see much of it? As a child growing up in Kingston, Ontario, I had long been fascinated by maps and National Geographic magazine. Each summer in my early youth, our family would take a summer trip – to Philadelphia, or to Cape Cod or to the Maritimes or out to the west coast of Canada or California. One summer, at the age of twelve, we went to Trinidad and Tobago and, from there by freighter to Suriname. Then a family trip at the age of fourteen, a ten week camping trip through western Europe. By the age of eighteen, I was interested in traveling solo, doing an initial trip, primarily in Africa, for six weeks in the spring of 1972.
Many more accomplished writers have tried to capture in words the essence of what travel into the unknown represents. Geographic curiosity? What destination is found at the other end of an air, bus or railway ticket? Self discovery in a place far away from home? A random meeting with somebody else who happens to be there at the same time and you end up as life long friends or companions? And the thought that each day of travel is lived, if not necessarily well, then at least memorably.
I have just retired from the Canadian foreign service with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade after a career of 30 years. While I am eternally grateful for the many wonderful experiences that it brought to me, at least the headquarters experience, much of which was interesting work with good colleagues, still fades into a decades long bureaucratic blur…
Travel represented something more tangible and ultimately rewarding. The personal discovery, sometimes expected, sometimes unexpected at places and environments that set the spirit soaring – Greenland, Kashmir and Ladakh, the Indonesian island of Flores, Moorea, Dominica, Bhutan, Auyuittuq in winter, the Everest trek beyond Thyangboche, Arches National Park in southern Utah, Menengouba, Angkor Wat, travelling by boat near Halong Bay at night in the early 1990s, breaking dawn at Tinggri, Tibet, a fleeting glimpse of Zino’s petrels on the summit of Madeira as a lunar eclipse passes and the full moon re-emerges in the night sky….
Best of all is the knowledge that there are still other magic places personally undiscovered and which will continue for the rest of a lifetime.
Travel has changed in the forty some odd years that I have been doing this. Some losses, some gains. In the 1970s, at least for me, there was still a sense of adventure, even exploration, in a world before the Lonely Planet guide series and the INTERNET. Places like Bamiyan, or Muktinath, or the Chittagong Hill Tracts, really felt at the edge of the world. The global connectivity revolution over the last fifteen to twenty years has almost rendered the concept of “remoteness”, obsolete. While this is, in general, an overwhelmingly positive development, I sense that a bit of the adventure, including being fully absorbed in the place you were at the moment, has been lost
The domain name was a little bit of fun, starting with the initials of my name “de” and joining it to “globalnomad” with the idea of giving it an initial Caribbean lilt. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to your feedback.
David M. Edwards
With savings of about $6000, and a dream of backpacking around the world, I left Canada to fly to Iceland in May 1977 at the age of 23, after finishing my Master’s Degree in International Relations at Carleton University, and having worked a series of jobs to help fund the trip.
I had hoped to go overland across Asia, then find some work in Australia. Depending on how things worked out, I hoped to go across to New Zealand and the Pacific to South America and work my way back to Canada.
I had estimated that the trip would be a little under two years in duration. It lasted somewhat longer. After 39 months on the road, I flew back to Canada from the Dominican Republic in August 1980.
Follow my journey »