Flight of fancy


 The older I get, the easier it seems to be to have an adventure. I was recently sitting on a bench by the waterside in Vancouver, watching the seaplanes, those single-
engine propeller aircraft with floats instead of wheels. I’ve never flown in one, but I’ve often imagined the experience – and now it was just a few steps away. I stayed where I was, though, because I’ve reached the age when it’s enough to watch them take off and land. It looks more exciting than on a runway. Or is that just my imagination? Highly likely, because where others have a head, I have a multiplex screen: the start of the Gold Rush, wolf’s blood, huskies – epic tales that would put Jack London to shame. The wilderness called, and I followed – but without the scurvy that so often accompanies true adventures. Dealing with bears was a piece of cake. I once read the following: If it’s brown lay down; if it’s black, fight back; if it’s white, good night. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I am reluctant to believe it. One thing, though, is certain: Running away is always wrong. Bears are faster than Usain Bolt on a good day, and can almost overtake me. Even in my imagination I barely and only at the very last second manage to jump from the bushes on the shores of one of Canada’s nearly two million lakes and leap through the open cabin door of the seaplane to land in my seat. Or should that be: on my bench? Back in the day, Jack London returned from the Yukon with a couple of grams of gold dust. I didn’t even manage that, but I had saved the roughly 100 Canadian dollars the seaplane trip would have cost. I stood up and ambled back to the hotel. An adventure like that called for a good, long rest.

Our columnist, Helge Timmerberg, an irrepressible globetrotter since 1969, writes travel books and contributes monthly to our magazine.