After two years of hard work and harder travel – The Great Canadian Bucket List finally hit the shelves this week. Quite a thrill walking into a bookstore to see your book for the first time, buried among thousands of books I suddenly had a great deal of respect for. The amount of effort it takes to get a book off the ground, and the amount of people making that effort, is staggering. But it’s all worth it when you see someone pick it up, nod, smile, laugh, and take it to the cash register.
I’m kicking off the book launch with a 17-city national speaking and media tour, driving from Vancouver to Ottawa. It will take a month, so joining me is my Bucket List Support crew. My recently retired parents, my wife, and our 6-month-old baby Raquel. Ford Canada, my presenting sponsor, has provided us with two exceptional vehicles for the long road ahead – a 2014 Ford Escape, and 2014 Ford Explorer. Escaping and Exploring are right on the money, two words after my own heart.
After a lovely media event in Fairmont Pacific Rim‘s Presidential Suite, Fairmont’s Hotel Vancouver hosted the kick-off event, and it was inspiring to see so many friends in the crowd, and strangers too. I’ve got a PA, projector and screen for my hour-long presentation, although there are so many great stories and Bucket List highlights to share I’ve got to pair it down. After an enthusiastic send-off, we hit our first destination Kelowna. I’ve never driven across Canada, so this is one more item on the list, and a chance to revisit some of the places featured in the book. Like the Tuscan-like feels at Mission Hill, the crystals and cryogenic sauna in Vernon’s Sparkling Hill, and the spectacular views driving into the Rockies. I’m writing this from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, a hotel that never ceases to take my breath away. Raquel has done well in the car so far, save for a screechy half hour in Sicamous (got to get back to check out the houseboating capital of Canada). It’s well past midnight on another 16 hour day but since she got her sleep in the car, she sees no reason to let us catch some winks tonight.
Tomorrow I’m going to investigate the Glacier Skywalk opening next year in Jasper, before continuing onto Banff for a talk at the public library. Following that are four days of long drives and exceptional early mornings for TV shows in Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon. It’s all worth it. Little by little, mile by mile, we’re bringing The Great Canadian Bucket List to the people, with all the inspiration and adventures that go with it.