Reading Break is less than three weeks away and some of us are just itching to travel. Need some ideas for your next trip? Meet five T-Birds who've been all over the globe and have taken the time to share some of their stories and insight, including what they've learned about the world of sports and the scariest moments they've had abroad.
Oliver Scholfield (OS): men's field hockey
Lauren Seabrook (LS): women's basketball
Addison Kramer (AK): women's track & cross country
Katie Greenway (KG): women's hockey
Callum MacKenzie (CM): men's rowing
1) How many countries have you been to, and which would you most like to revisit?
OS: Through field hockey [alone] I've been fortunate enough to play on tours in India, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Spain, Holland, England and the USA. I'd love to go back to New Zealand and be able to travel all around the South Island. The country was amazing but we didn't get too much time to explore when we were there.
LS: I've been to 21 countries on all continents except Antarctica. There are so many new places to explore it's hard to pick a country to revisit. I loved Istanbul (Turkey) and could see myself going back.
AK: I have been to 12 countries. I would most like to revisit Uganda/Rwanda. I fell in love with the people and culture in East Africa and would love to visit the friends I made in Uganda and to spend more time exploring how beautiful Rwanda is.
KG: I've been to 19 countries. Would like to re-visit Spain and go further down to the Southern area -- Granada.
CM: I'd probably go back to Indonesia. The place is so helter skelter, so much fun. Anything can happen. You can be walking along a beach on the side of the jungle in the middle of nowhere and you'll suddenly find a little village or surf bar.
2) What has travelling taught you about sports, and where is the most interesting place you've been to in terms of its sporting culture?
OS: The most important thing travelling has taught me is probably adaptability. When you're in a different country, there's often a language barrier and things rarely go as planned, so you have to be able to adjust and just go with it. It almost always works itself out! I think the sporting culture in Australia is unbelievable. They get behind almost every sport and follow it with a passion, even ice hockey!
LS: Travelling has really opened my eyes to many cultures and ways of life. Almost every place I've been to has incorporated sport somehow into people’s lives. Sport is universal and a great way to have fun and show camaraderie no matter where you live. While I've been to many places I still think the most interesting is American sporting culture -- College football, March Madness, the Super Bowl, etc. is insane!
AK: Travelling has taught me that sports are universal and can act as a powerful way for people of different cultures to connect with one another. The most interesting place I've been in terms of sporting culture is the Dominican Republic. They worship the professional baseball players from there and the baseball players try to give back to their community. Also everywhere you go you see kids playing baseball in between work and their half day of school.
KG: I did most of my travelling because of sport. Playing pro hockey in Switzerland gave me the amazing opportunity to travel during the season. The hockey culture is very different in Europe than in Canada. The most interesting place I played was in the Italian area of Switzerland [called] Lugano. The crazy fans were called "hooligans" like in soccer!
CM: Sport is truly unique in terms of something that brings people together so passionately as both competitors and spectators. There's really nothing like it. Canada is no exception to this. Man you guys love hockey. Probably New Zealand's attitude to rugby. First thing you see when you walk into any major airport is a bunch of massive cutouts from their national rugby team, the All Blacks. I was in a bar on the South Island in 2010 when they lost a game to South Africa, a rare occurrence, [laughs] they tore the place up. They are just so diehard for it.
3) Describe the scariest or strangest moment you've had while travelling.
OS: Driving on the streets of New Delhi. They use honking as a form of communication and don't follow any rules of the road.
LS: While travelling I've generally felt safe because I've used common sense on what's appropriate for that city/country. Even as a woman sometimes travelling alone, the worst has been catcalls and the occasional inappropriate grope. The most frightened I've been was at a border crossing between South Africa and Swaziland where there was a passport mix up. We were police escorted to a hotel for the night where we had to return to the border crossing the next morning to retrieve our passports.
AK: The scariest/strangest moment I had when travelling was in Uganda when my host mother, my roommate and I were walking to town. There was a lot of blood splattered on the road that we walked on and my roommate and I thought it was from a motorcycle taxi accident. Our host mom told us that it was from a man that the taxi drivers had stoned to death for stealing. It was really eerie to be walking on a murdered man's blood.
KG: When my teammate and I travelled to Paris. We were waiting for a tour to start when a young girl approached us and not so subtly attempted to pick-pocket us! It resulted in a brief pushing match and then her grabbing a map out of my hand and running away ...
CM: Me and a friend of mine from Ireland named Frankie were hitch hiking through the desert in Western Australia after we'd broken down on a 4WD trip through the Kimberly, a beautiful sub-arid region in the North West of Australia. We were lucky to get picked up fairly quickly by a guy who looked like something straight out of Wolf Creek. He ended up being pretty nice but he was blazed out of his mind because one of his clients -- he was a social worker -- had just driven their car through the wall of his office in one of the remote communities. He said he was on stress leave. Made me realize just how little support, or policing for that matter, was available for some of the really remote Australian communities.
4) On your travels, what's the funniest or most insightful thing a local has said?
OS: "Don't drink the water."
LS: In Thailand locals kept saying "same, same but different.” It's insightful because no matter where you travel so much in life is the same, but different.
AK: In Germany our tour guide was talking about the raised brass stones with names and dates of Holocaust victims on them in the cobblestone streets. She said they are called stumbling stones and they are there because as a reminder of the past. She said the past is part of us and we must never forget it because it is how we remember our past that shapes our future.
KG: "Canadian beer is like having sex in a canoe ... just full of water." - Unknown Swiss man.
CM: "Might have had a bit too much ~chocolate milk~ when I was in Bali last week. Might have gotten married to a prostitute." -- Former boss. Pearl Farm in remote waters off Western Australia.
"You want milk shake or special milkshake? Oh you want tattoo, I can do." - My tattoo artist 'T-Man' from Gili Trawangan, a tiny island of the coast of Lombok in the South Indonesian Archipelago.
"You can't take a sunset with you, same way you can't take anything else." -- A very old man.
… take your pick!
5) Where have you not been yet that you are just itching to go?
OS: I'd love to see more of South America. I really like the culture and the weather down there. I've got my eyes set on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro so hopefully I'll be able to go sooner than I think!
LS: I would love to explore more of the Middle East, specifically Jordan. Petra has incredible archeology sites with fascinating culture. I would also love to go to Cuba before it gets influenced by American culture.
AK: I really want to go to China. I've taken two and a half years of Mandarin and really want to try to use it in China. I also have always been fascinated by Chinese history and the landscape there, and would love to eat my way around.
KG: Southeast Asia -- Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia. I hear this area of the world is very exotic, welcoming to foreigners and has the most beautiful views. I also want to pet a tiger in Thailand!
CM: Probably England. I want to see if I can get a scholarship at Cambridge to race the Cambridge versus Oxford Boat Race then do a bike tour down to Southern Italy.
Check out last week’s edition of the T-Birds 5-on-5 series: Kickass Kinners.