waters : mountains : trees : gibsons

Lynne and I live in the town of Gibsons, on the coast of British Columbia, Canada, not far from Vancouver and Horseshoe Bay (where we lived for a decade, and our children attended both elementary and high schools).

Gibsons (population ~4,800) has the singular honour of having been named (in 2009) “The World’s Most Liveable Town”, an International Award for Liveable Communities endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) . It also won (in 2005) the “World’s Best Municipal Water” award at the International Water Tasting Competition, its water being drawn from a subterranean aquifer, and so pure that it requires no supplementary chemical or ultraviolet treatment.

It’s also quite spectacularly picturesque, with jaw-dropping compositions of waters, mountains, and trees presenting themselves at almost every turn of one’s path.

Sunshine Coast AreaGibsons is at the lower end (Lund being at the upper) of a 160km (100 mile) stretch of shoreline called the “Sunshine Coast”, as shown on the accompanying map. Although part of the mainland, it is separated from the Vancouver area (which we call “the lower mainland”) by Howe Sound, a 45km (28 mile) long body of water. You can drive up the eastern side of Howe Sound (on the way to the Whistler ski area), but there is no equivalent route on the western wilderness side. Consequently, the Sunshine Coast is very island-like in nature, reachable only by air or sea.

The dashed blue lines on this map represent ferry routes, and you can see the short (40-minute) trip connecting Gibsons/Langdale and Horseshoe Bay (a previous home town of ours). The Vancouver metropolitan area offers excellent, extensive public (bus/train/ferry) transportation, so a car is rarely needed when venturing in that direction.

Additionally, Horseshoe Bay is only 71km (44 miles) from the U.S. border, and 105km (65 miles) from Bellingham, Washington, the closest major American city. Consequently, a shopping/whatever excursion to the U.S. is an easy day trip.

Travelling the full length of the Sunshine Coast (from Gibsons to Lund) involves an additional 50-minute ferry trip between Earls Cove and Saltery Bay (crossing Jervis Inlet). Powell River can also be reached directly from Vancouver Island, via an 80-minute ferry that connects to Comox. Reaching that island from Gibsons is more conveniently accomplished via the 100-minute passage from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo.

our home in Gibsons

Gibsons, BC, CanadaGibsons is sufficiently close to Vancouver to share similar weather, though the Sunshine Coast gets more sun and less rain. Rain here is more likely to be a drizzle than a downpour; a light weatherproof jacket usually offers more than sufficient protection. Snow is unusual, except up on the mountains (where we like to keep it)

You can learn more about Gibsons from the town’s official Web site, which includes a modest photo gallery (though more photos can be found with a Google image search).

Molly's Reach, featured in 'The Beachcombers' TV series

Additionally, there are sites (such as Sunshine Coast Canada) that cover the full length of the Sunshine Coast in some detail, as well as an amazing navigable 360° aerial view of the entire area.

Save the photo below to your computer to view full-sized.
Gibsons Harbour (panoramic view)

Craving more photos? Have a look at my on-line photo albums,

academia : bridges : fens : cambridge

Another of the notably picturesque locations where we have lived is the postcard-perfect city of Cambridge, England, on the Cam River (“Cam bridge”), some 80km (50 miles) north of London. Dating from the twelfth century, this market town came to be dominated — architecturally and socially — by the 31 colleges that comprise the University of Cambridge (established 1209).

We occupied a modern flat in a University building on Southacre Drive, just off Trumpington Road, almost exactly one mile (1.6km) south of King’s College and Great St Mary’s Church.

our home in Cambridge

There is no shortage of reasons why we enjoyed our time in Cambridge (here’s a small sampling). Certainly one was the outstanding architecture throughout the city (here’s an extensive assortment of same, from the approximate date of our residence).

views from the Cam

a tale of 37 countries

Travel has always constituted a signifificant portion of both my professional and personal lives (hence OneBag.com).

Here are the 37 countries where I have spent time to date:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada (all 10 provinces)
  • Denmark
  • East Germany (prior to reunification)
  • England (46 of 48 shires/counties)
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong (prior to PRC handover)
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Macau (prior to PRC handover)
  • Malaysia
  • México
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • People’s Republic of China
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Scotland (including Orkney & Shetland Islands)
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • United States (all 50 states + Washington DC)
  • Vatican City (Holy See)
  • Wales

Three of these locations (Hong Kong, Macao, & the Faroe Islands) are not, strictly speaking, official countries. At the time I visited them, however, they functioned as independent, self-administered regions, which I feel confers de facto country status.

I have travelled to and within these countries by airplane (commercial & private, prop & jet, monoplane & biplane), train (traditional, funicular, cog), boat (ocean liner, cruise ship, ferry, small offshore sailboat, hydrofoil, vaporetto, gondola, canoe, Zodiac), road (automobile, truck, bus/coach, tram, cable car, tuk-tuk, motorcycle, bicycle), and animal (horse, dog sled).

a two-wheeled taleDoug and his BMW K75s

Growing up in a part of Canada where it was a fair distance between houses, I pretty much lived on a bicycle (and also used one as my principal around-town vehicle when living in Cambridge, England), but I eventually progressed to something a bit faster. My first motorized two-wheeler was a Lambretta TV 175 scooter, and after a few years on that, I “graduated” to my first motorcycle, a 650cc BSA Super Rocket (which, alas, was eventually stolen when I lived in New York City). Both of these classics are pictured below.

Ultimately I chose the shaft-drive dependability of BMWs, and have owned and ridden both the classic opposing twins and the newer “K” bikes. Though I have now retired from biking, my final and favourite was a BMW K75s, seen in the photo at right (and far right, below). It was neither the biggest bike I’ve owned, nor the smallest, but was ideally suited to my desire to feel that I’m actually on a motorcycle, not a two-wheeled motor home.

650cc BSA Super Rocket Lambretta TV 175 (1961) Doug riding his BMW K75s