Hamdan, the Arabian barber

On the way to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with my daughter Lindsay, we stopped in Abu Dhabi for several days to break up the journey from Rome. The day before we left the desert emirate for Tanzania, I visited a barber shop to minimize the potential nesting area for whatever might crawl into my hair on…

Immovable object meets great force

I can happily walk past something that needs fixing at the house for years without attempting a repair. Sure, an annoying little voice in my head says “You should really fix that”, but moving from thought to action only happens if the consequence of inaction is dire, like, say, flooding or structural collapse. I don’t…

Yoga without wine just isn’t yoga

I’m sure you’ve seen people on the street dressed in leggings carrying a yoga mat on their way to a class. I’ve never understood this. Sure, no one wants to wear rented bowing shoes. But a yoga mat? Isn’t it like gym equipment you wipe down and leave behind? My suspicion is that yoga people…

Eating sand

Pizzerias love to call their most spicy pizza ‘The Stromboli’. Makes sense. Stromboli is the name of an active volcano off the coast of Sicily. If you want a pizza that will burn off your taste buds, you know what order. Lava to go. Stromboli (the volcano, not the pizza) produces clouds of ash while…

A swim for the ages

The island of Salina sits off the northeast coast of Sicily. This paradise is in the centre of a cluster of six other volcanic islands, each in a varying state of agitation. Fortunately Salina can only be described as serene, having recorded it’s last eruption 13,000 years ago. My house is on Salina and my…

Snowboarding on a volcano

Mount Etna towers over daily life in the northeast corner of Sicily. It is Europe’s most active volcano and rises to 3,350 meters above sea level. THAT is a recipe for snowboarding fun: snow, ash, and smoke. Lava if you’re lucky. The Etna ski season has to be the world’s shortest, and most unpredictable. As…

I’m not done

I’m writing this two weeks after failing to reach the summit of Ama Dablam. With some time to reflect on the expedition since I descended from Camp 2, I’m more disappointed now than at any time since that morning I decided to head home. I can’t reproduce the feeling of hesitation that convinced me to…