The Nerd Expedition?
I traveled far and wide last year during my nine months abroad, spanning three continents.
But I’d have been hard pressed to believe you if you had told me that in July 2012, back in Montreal and having returned to work for the Regional Branches Office of the Alumni Association, I’d be embarking on the East to Arctic expedition as the McGill host of the alumni and friends travel group! The Canadian North is such a wonderfully unique place to visit that location alone has caused some confusion among those I’m close to– “You leave for Alaska on Tuesday?” asked my friend after our run this evening. “Joella I took this for you from the printer- it says Antarctica,” said my colleague the other day.
My sister, with a smidgeon of jealousy, nicknamed this trip my “nerd expedition,” after I read her the itinerary. Not actually a bad thing if you grew up in my home; our family dinners often ended in arguments with someone ultimately having to fetch the encyclopedia to resolve the debate. And she’s right; my fellow travelers and I will be blessed with a wealth of resource educators on our ship, including 11 students and two instructors from Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit.
This nerd factor, or what we more aptly call a commitment to lifelong learning, is part of our mission at the Alumni Association. The fact that it is prominent in our alumni travel program reflects the world-class caliber of the university, and emphasizes the superb knowledge base of our McGill graduates, as well as their hunger for more. The kind of stuff we feed off of at the Alumni Association!
Above all else, I am eager to meet and connect with the travelers, representing four Canadian Universities, and especially the 14 McGillians. For several remarkable individuals with whom I’ve had the pleasure of speaking, this will be one of many trips to the Canadian North. I look forward to being sprayed by the refreshingly frigid Atlantic Ocean water on the zodiac rides with you fine folk, and much much more!
And finally, I must admit; for a moment, early on, I felt a bit disappointed that all of the penguin, koala and wallaby knowledge I acquired whilst in Australia last year was moot in the Arctic. That was until I realized that we’d have the opportunity to see a tremendous array of land and aquatic animals and birds, including the Gyrfalcon, the largest falcon in the world, aka “the king of all falcons,”- and the polar bear.
Sure, wallabies are cute, but polar bears are AWESOME.
Another update to come once I’m in the far north- until then, wishing all fellow intrepid McGillians around the world memorable, safe, and happy summer travels.