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George Monbiot, in his book Heat, confesses he can find no solution for air travel as a contributor to global warming. What's more, government policies since the 1970s have deliberately discouraged train travel. Living in a rolling hotel, passengers soon focus on mealtimes, and the meals are very good. To run a similar service for double or triple the number of passengers would require an enormous investment in infrastructure: double- and triple-tracking, more trains, more stops, split-second scheduling. So I can see why 80 percent of Canada's train traffic is in this Windsor-Quebec City corridor. It seems likely that at some point air travel will cease to be an option for most of us, unless dirigibles make an unexpected comeback. Imagine a train like the Toronto-Ottawa shuttle, but with even better seating -- like that in airline business class, able to stretch into something like a bed. Passengers would need to consider their journey as important as their destination -- an opportunity for fun, relaxation, and socializing. The Dangerous Lives of Train-hopping 'Yohos'Illegal and risky, it's an adventure for some kids.
Vancouver videographer documents abandoned homes in the city's prestigious west side neighbourhood. While most newsrooms in Canada are shrinking, The Tyee is able to grow and produce independent, investigative reporting because of support from our readers (thata€™s you!). If just 5 per cent of the readers who visit this site every day sign up to give $5 per month, wea€™ll hit our goal of $20,000 in monthly sustainers, allowing us to hit the ground running in 2016. Her narrative essays have appeared in the travel anthologies A Womana€™s Europe, published by Travelers Tales, 2004, and Go Your Own Way: Women Travel the World Solo published by Seal Press, 2007. Step Two) I found a travel writing workshop in Marin County near San Francisco and signed up. Little did I know that the editor was new himself and was looking to expand his stable of writers.
He laughed and said, "If you want to get ahead in this business you have to put yourself out there." Words to remember. You'd think he would have given up on me by then, but he told me to send him something else. Mark's no longer the travel editor (so I'm afraid you can't follow my lead) but his advice to put yourself out there still applies. The sad thing was that I was invited to cover the trip, but due to editorial considerations I had to turn it down. In the evening we went up the mountain by Gondola for a reception and were greeted by Miss Blackcomb and Miss Whistler in ball gowns imprinted with maps. Elkridge Lodge A in northern Saskatchewan than back to SaskatoonA - this is my current sched. Tomorrow it's up to Elkride Lodge where I will a) get a facial b) do something called a Bog Walk through the forest and c) go horseback riding.
Montegrotto, Italy - Ita€™s taken awhile but Ia€™ve finally found the sacred lake - at least the former site of it. Sitting on a mossy stone bench I pick up a stick, tempted to dig into the cracked dry soil where a number of votive offerings like tiny bronze horses and chalices have been found.
The next morning I enter a tiled treatment room in my hotel wondering if the ancient Venetians ever wallowed in mud. Fangotherapy, or mud treatments, are the keystone of the regiona€™s spas, offered at more than 100 hotels in Montegrotto and its larger sister spa, Abano.
In the afternoon I consider taking the train into Padua, 11 km away, but Montegrotto is weaving its spell on me and I end up lounging by the pool. At the Hotel Neroniane a row of weathered columns stands spot lit in the garden a€“ a legacy of the Romans who eventually (and peacefully) mixed with the Venetians and dedicated the area to Aponus, god of the springs. By then Montegrotto was more spa resort than holy site, but there were still some otherworldly figures around.
The three-day first stage of our journey was on Via's Silver and Blue service: individual roomettes, superb food, and endless hours in a dome car.
Yes, the romance of the rails was a factor: the last spike, Gordon Lightfoot, even Murder on the Orient Express. Other transportation systems can reduce their emissions, but airliners are locked into burning kerosene at high altitudes. Could we hand air travel over to the minorities: the very rich, the very powerful, and the military?
According to a StatsCan survey of domestic travel, Canadians made 175.1 million person-trips in 2004.


You can ride fairly cheaply, and miserably, by sitting up day and night in "comfort class." Or you can sit in an open compartment during the day and sleep in a berth at night.
They're used to being cramped in an aluminum tube for a few hours, maybe with a video screen on the seat back in front of them.
We could stow our luggage in either a special section at the front of the car, or in an overhead compartment. Maybe you'd save a couple of hundred dollars if you drove, but it would be a costly saving.
Imagine the train running on a dedicated track from Vancouver to Kelowna to Revelstoke and then to Calgary and points east. Others would rocket from Vancouver to Calgary, then to Regina or Saskatoon, then to Winnipeg, and on to Toronto. They would certainly be pleasanter than the aluminum tube that brought me home to Vancouver from Ottawa in five cramped hours. She writes a column at the Toronto Star, Canadaa€™s biggest-circulation newspaper on solo travel. Louis Post Dispatch, New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Hampshire Union Leader Post, the Halifax Chronicle Herald, Vancouver Sun and St. James Miller was myA grumpy brilliant teacher and to this day I haven't had a more insightful workshop leader, except maybe Philip Lopate. As soon as I got back home I sent him the two pieces that I'd already had published (see yesterday's post), one on rock climbing that I'd sold to NOW Magazine and one on a German spa that by now, I'd sold to both the San Francisco Chronicle and NOW. At 30,000 feet passengers can expect matchmaking advice from ABCa€™s The Bachelor, Jason Mesnick and girlfriend Molly Malaney, complimentary party packs, an open bar, speed dating and other games, before ita€™s lights out for a full eight hours of beauty sleep.
Please feel free to take a look and upload your own profile, or a frienda€™s if you think they need some help! A There were a lot of us, so I joined the pokey group of fearful cyclists, but it turns out we weren't so bad and ended up merging with the rest of them. I would rather go to Fernie, BC for any other reason than a funeral, but that's why I'm here. It wouldn't be so bad if I were a better packer, but I'm carrying far too much stuff and everytime I open my suitcase it explodes like a microwaved baked potato. Bubbling hot and vaporous, set in a wild marshy forest at the bottom of Monte Castello, it was a place of mystery to the ancient Venetians, a holy site devoted to the cult of the horse. Maybe several millennia ago it was a sanctuary a€“ now ita€™s the grounds of the Hotel Preistoriche in the Italian spa town of Montegrotto, 45 km from Venice.
If this were still the 8th century BC Ia€™d be up to my ears in magical rites and sacrifices instead of a weeka€™s worth of spa treatments, and the accommodations wouldna€™t be nearly as comfy as my 5-star hotel, the Grand Hotel Terme, down the street but I cana€™t help thinking something has been lost.
Travelling down from the Lower Dolomites it takes a 25-year underground journey, soaking up mineral salts before gushing out at a temperature of 87C.
Finally at dusk I rouse myself, wandering through the towna€™s boutiques and then, because Ia€™m nosy, into the various hotels. Therea€™s a lot going on under here: roiling water, prophesizing gods, Roman relics and offerings to the cult of the horse. Your hands are branches reaching into the sky,a€? says Christine, my massage therapist, her pale hair gleaming in the soft light. Energy therapies - treatments which work with energy fields in and around the body to remove blockages and restore balance - are one of 2009a€™s hottest spa trends and I need to de-stress.
Developed by Holtz Spa, it taps into the vibrational energy of various Canadian trees by using essences made from tree cuttings that are distilled down until only their imprint, i.e.
With roots that extend underground and branches that climb the sky, they were seen by pagans as connecting the mysterious realms of the underworld and the abode of the gods. At least one airline, Ryanair, reports a slowdown in ticket sales thanks to media condemnation of low-cost air travel as an environmental problem. According to Wikipedia, 80 per cent of our current train travel is in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor. Or, as we did, you can sleep in a fairly comfortable roomette with your own toilet, sink, and door.
It's exciting, at first, to sit on a siding as the freight cars whiz by just a metre or so away. Once fed, the berth passengers retreat to their seats for naps; the Silver and Blue passengers go to the dome or back to their roomettes.
It's actually cheaper, in money and time, to take the train than to fight traffic out to an airport, park, get on the plane, and then reverse the process at your destination. Long-distance travelers could sleep in their seats, watch video or go online, and enjoy simple but tasty food. IA listened to lectures byA the then-editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, John Flynn, and by the then-editor of the Dallas Morning Post, Larry Bleiberg, and went home and wrote two articles.


At the Toronto Star offices,A Mark showed me around and asked if I'd brought anything for him to read. I'm a full believer in the old-fashioned spa cures of Central Europe, Germany and Italy (haven't tried France yet) A and this is where my vacation dollars go. The one thing I've learned from traveling is to buy clothes that don't take up much room - this means way more polyester than is good for me.
Today, instead of sacred pottery vessels and chanting priests, ita€™s aqua exercises and deck chairs around a sprawling thermal pool.
Good for the joints and muscles, ita€™s a big hit with the German, French and Italian spa lovers who flock here. After soaking up the minerals in the mud, I relax in a bubbling thermal bath then retreat to my hotel room where a second therapist gives me a quick circulation massage. His prophesies of the future were interpreted by an oracle, or priest, who read the signs either through the misty sulphurous water or by tossing golden dice. As it is, Ia€™m all too aware this isna€™t a pine-filled forest but a treatment room in Ottawaa€™s Holtz Spa, a sleek urban day spa steps away from Rideau Shopping Centre and Parliament Hill. For the past three weeks, Ia€™ve been in a€?moving hell,a€™ surrounded by boxes, suffocated by paint fumes and up to my ears in blinds installations and air con deliveries.
How many of our ancestors rode swaying across the Prairies to take possession of their own quarter section? Jet after jet dumps greenhouse gases at 38,000 feet -- the equivalent of what each passenger might emit in a year of routine highway driving.
Via Rail's #2 train, the one we took, runs just a couple of times a week, carrying no more passengers than an average Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Toronto. The idea of taking three days and nights just to attend a wedding or graduation, or a business meeting, would seem intolerable by comparison. Maybe it will be hybrid cars, with computers keeping them at a safe distance from one another.
And I get to explore Whistler, where I've never been, and do some cycling and something called an eco zipline which I believe is sailing across tree tops on a rope. Many have fenced off a€?mud farmsa€™ where troughs of mud and hot spring water lie steaming in some mysterious alchemy. This weekend in Ottawa is a much-needed break, and if renewal means channeling my inner tree, so be it.
On our trip, many of the passengers ignored the scenery and talked about other places they'd traveled. In the early days I would write an article and send it out to about 60 newspapers, and maybe one would pick it up.
When I couldn't find theA contact info for the editorA of the National Post, I gave that one up - obviously any excuse to avoid the project would do. Analyzed for its healing and pain relieving properties, the mud here is taken so seriously that the European Patent Office has declared it a drug. Down to the wire, I sent emails to the other two editors and asked if I could send them some questions.
After I'd written for the Star for about aA year, Mark asked me where I saw myself going and I broached the idea of a column on solo travel. For my writing I tend to concentrate more on Europe and Asia (who wouldn't?) but this year I've done more Canadian pieces and am falling in love with my own country. Stories about my travels, my travel disasters and the crazy wonderful and sometimes dangerous world that is out there. Eight months later John Flynn was no longer the editor but his successor picked it out of the slush pile, ran it and my career had begun. The Globe editor answered my emails while the editor of the Toronto Star, Mark Atchison, wrote back and said, "Why don't you come down to the paper and I'll show you around?" I might have been new in the business but I still knew that this was a rare stroke of luck. Once people knew the stories were true (I'm strict about sticking to what really happened and you should be too if you want to write travel articles) people liked them better. Now I'm lazy and don't market much at all, so lucky for me IA have a regular gig.A And yes, I would write the article before I sold it. Hopefully it's that way for you as well, because ifA you don't love it, you'll give up fast.



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