For this week’s column Lakes District News readers get to read about something which just might be less divisive than politics: myself.
I won’t bore you – or make you laugh – with my own take on politics. Instead, I’ll tell you about how I ended up in Burns Lake as a reporter.
For most of my adult life adventure and journalism have been two guiding passions. Sometimes one over the other.
I studied English and Indigenous Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and once in a while wrote opinion columns for Hamilton and campus papers.
After finishing my undergraduate studies I went to South Korea to teach English and then to Japan to do the same.
While not teaching I wrote feature stories for local English-language newspapers. Lots of adventure in Asia, a little journalism.
Almost eight years later I returned to Canada to study journalism at Western University in London, Ontario, where I specialized in print. I was fortunate to land a summer reporting gig at The Hamilton Spectator right after graduating.
As the Spectator contract was nearing its end I was searching feverishly for a longer term newsroom job, and came across a copy-editor opportunity at the Bangkok Post in Thailand.
My application went well, and in mid-October 2013 I landed in the monsoon season-drenched Thai capital, finally combining adventure and journalism.
Living in Thailand as a foreigner was a fascinating, and at times frustrating experience. Bangkok’s traffic jams are legendary and its polluted air an asthmatic’s nightmare. Just seven months after I arrived I earned the dubious honour of living under my first military coup, when in May 2014 Thailand’s elected government was toppled by the army, which remains in power today.
But the annoyances paled in comparison to the great friendships I made, the cycling and trail running I enjoyed in the countryside, and the mind-opening experiences I gained living in a culture completely unlike Canada.
For the second half of my almost-five years in Bangkok I worked as a multimedia editor on the English desk of Spain’s EFE News Agency.
I had a good time at EFE but I preferred to be writing rather than editing, and, to make a long story short this job at Lakes District News came up at the right time.
Burns Lake has about 8 million people less than Bangkok and its winter temperatures are far lower than Bangkok’s will ever be.
And yet the air is clear, the forests and trails are a few minutes walk away and it’s a place with a lot of stories to tell. A chance to pursue adventure and journalism in the north.