FEATURED ADVERTISERS Register now for Baxter Student Ambassador Program (BSAP) TRS Turquesa Hotel – Love At First Savings – Save up to 40% plus $1500 Resort Credit INCENTIVES | CONTESTS | WEBINARS | PODCASTS | EVENTS | JOBS
After over 40 years of hitting the road and to date setting foot in 84 countries while doing so, Toronto travel personality Steve Gillick has decided to use the written word to share his love of travel with others.
Gillick, well known in travel agent circles, has just completed A Symphony of Camels, which recounts many of his travel experiences over the decades.
The unusual name recalls Gillick’s visit to an Egyptian camel market, where a man waved a baton-like stick while directing the camels to a water trough, doing so in a manner suggestive of an orchestra conductor guiding musicians.
And unusual experiences like that have led Gillick to believe that seeing the world and its disparate cultures is “unbelievably enriching! Using some of today’s marketing terminology, travel is regenerative, transformative, aspirational and inspirational. And in the context of the COVID pandemic, I like to note what nature-historian David Attenborough has said: That the pandemic has actually opened the eyes of many people to the beauty of nature. There is a need to spend more time outdoors and in many cases, this translates into an exercise in healthfulness, wellness and the need to expend some energy: doing something physically satisfying; getting off the beaten track; adding to those social media postings, and making the traveller feel that they have accomplished something. This can be as simple as walking or riding a bicycle to explore a city, as opposed to taking a coach or a taxi.
Gillick eating a crunchy cricket at a Raicelleria in Puerto Vallarta
“And then there is the whole foodie phenomenon where travellers want to taste the destination and pamper their taste buds. In food terms, Umami is often used to describe the incredibly satisfying mouth-feel and sheer pleasure of eating something. Umami can also be used to describe how enriching the travel experience can be.”
The at-times humorous book deals with both mundane travel issues like folding a map, crossing streets and bargaining in markets, and more non-mainstream ones, such as different ways to gaze at mountains and “planning a travel-regenerative experience in one of the five cities that soothe the soul.”
Gillick says readers will be better prepared to travel when they see the possibilities of “what else” they can do in a destination, adding travellers can get more out of the place they’re visiting by engaging with locals.
“Even in countries where you don’t speak the language, you can have a blast,” he advises. “I just returned from a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, where, through one of our connections, we hooked up with a guide for a day trip outside the city to photograph birds in Teotitlan, visit the Sunday market in Tlacolula and explore the street art in San Martin Tilcajete. The guide spoke no English. I don’t speak Spanish. But it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had anywhere.
About to embark on a very wet motorized dinghy excursion in Witless Bay, NL to photograph the Puffins.
“I often cite the opening line of the song Wooden Ships, sung by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young: ‘If you smile at me I will understand, cuz that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language.’ “It’s so true. My precious travel memories involve the people I’ve met. I want to uset this in the sense of ‘infectious-enthusiasm by example’ to prepare other travellers for great memories.
“I love to try to open people’s eyes to get the most out of the travel experience and in my mind that includes conversations with locals, throwing caution to the wind from time to time and interacting with a destination, rather than just observing it. This book is my attempt to convey my passion for travel to those who already travel, as well as those who haven’t started to travel yet.”
Gillick — who admits to being passionate about travel writing — actually decided to pen the book while waiting for the ticket office to open in Istanbul’s Dolmabace Palace.
“I was alone in the city after an ‘interesting’ guided tour and I thought up a phrase to describe what I was feeling: Determined and positive action always counters apprehended fear. I started to write some thoughts down. That was in 1989. Every few years I would read what I had written, edit it, add to it and well 32 years later the book was ready. My next book will probably not take that long to finish.”
Gillick’s book A Symphony Of Camels was decades in the making
Meanwhile, Gillick says his enthusiasm for travel hasn’t waned after over four decades of wandering the world.
“I was in the Yucatan in November, then Puerto Vallarta, San Blas, San Pancho and Oaxaca in December,” he reports. “As more countries open, our options will expand. A return to Japan in 2022, is a definite go! And there is a whole slew of new countries to add to my list, that I will be exploring this year and beyond.”
And he hopes his book will inspire others to pack their bags and explore our planet.
“Buy the book in paperback or as an ebook! ” he suggests. “For those who travel, it’s a great ‘hey I did that too…thanks for reminding me’-type read, and for those who are waiting to travel, it’s an excellent way to get those travel endorphins all stirred up. As I say in the book, ‘it’s time to get stoked again about travel!’”
A Symphony Of Camels is available at amazon.com/author/stevegillick.
|Register now for Baxter Student Ambassador Program (BSAP)|
|TRS Turquesa Hotel – Love At First Savings – Save up to 40% plus $1500 Resort Credit|
|INCENTIVES | CONTESTS | WEBINARS | PODCASTS | EVENTS | JOBS|