Reflections on my travels in Europe + thoughts on a new variant

Greetings from Gatineau, Quebec!

At long last I’ve returned to the Motherland, and I must say it’s rather brisk here in December! Spending the last few year in Thailand and the last few months in the balmy south of Europe may have softened me just tad. -10 and snow in the forecast…good thing we’ve got tuques around this place 🙂

The world is up in arms about the latest variant of the virus, which I briefly commented on last week, received a number of emails about, and seems to require another. So since snow and this new variant have my attention at the moment, allow me to do so via a little story that links the two…

I mentioned last week that I got started in the travel and hospitality business by organizing ski trips for Canadians to Europe and other parts of the world; skiing has been a much-loved activity of mine since I was a child at my parent’s ski chalet in Collingwood area.

Some years ago I had the opportunity to go on a heli-skiing trip in British Columbia, and I jumped at the chance (no pun intended). We took a helicopter several hours into the Rockies to ski the kind of pure powder any ski-lover dreams about.

Hovering just above a mountain way out in the untouched wilderness, I was pulsing with anticipation of what promised to be one of my top skiing experiences. We had done all the pre-requisite training, had all the right gear, and the day was perfect.

I was the first one out of the chopper, made a perfect landing, and set off downward in exactly the flow state that brings people like me to ski in the first place…pure, in-the-moment bliss.

And then WHAM.

From flowing movement to utter stillness in an instant.

Everything was white around me and it took me what felt like an eternity to figure out what had happened. I wasn’t in pain but I couldn’t move at all. Was I dead? Is this white light

It was however not the gates of Heaven and Saint Peter was nowhere to be found, though it’s possible some angelic being or another was watching over me. As luck would have it, the way I landed when the avalanche hit me left me with a pocket of air in front of me in the snow, so although I couldn’t move, I could breathe just fine.

I was also fortunate that I was wearing the appropriate avalanche beacon that alerts rescuers where you are; luckily I wasn’t buried too deeply and my companions had watched it all unfold behind me, and they were able to make it to my location just a few minutes later and dig me out.

Getting buried by an avalanche while skiing is about as close to kicking the bucket as you can get, and yet somehow I came out completely unscathed and continued to ski the rest of the weekend.

So, the moral of this story?

Snow = death, and thus you should join us for our Madeira and Cyprus LiveAways in February and March.

…just kidding 🙂

What I’m getting at here is that sometimes unexpected things happen that leave you ‘t*ts up in the rhubarb,’ as they say out East, and yet even in the face of seemingly small odds, everything can work out and leave you with a great story to tell.

Omicron sounds scary but in reality we still don’t know much about it, and thus it’s not the time to be making any drastic decisions without more information. Our trips remain as scheduled until further notice. Hope is more powerful force than fear provided we direct our thoughts toward it; it got me out from under an avalanche and I daresay it just might get us back to travelling as well.

There’s always something to be grateful for, and living is best done in the present…stay safe, warm, and enjoy your weekend.


P.S. We’ve made some changes to the accommodation options for our April Tuscany LiveAway program, which you can find in the revised itinerary attached below. We’ve added some lovely apartment villas in the heart of Cortona for those less suited to walking the short but steep trip to the villas outside of town.

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