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Zika Virus Threat Expands to Miami Beach

Five new cases of local transmission of Zika virus have been reported in the heart of Miami Beach, in addition to the outbreak first reported late July in the Wynwood community located just north of downtown Miami. Last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that just as several large sectors of the Wynwood area were cleared of evidence of transmission, 5 new cases of mosquito-borne Zika infection were reported in the densely-populated South Beach area of Miami Beach, south from 28th Street to 8th street, from the Atlantic Ocean to Biscayne Bay, an area encompassing less than 1.5 square miles. This area also includes the Miami Beach Convention Center, a popular venue for international meetings and conventions. The five new cases involved two Miami Beach residents and three out-of-area visitors. This brings the total of known locally-acquired Zika virus infections (transmitted by bites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito) in Miami-Dade County to…

Why “Remote Year” Is the Perfect Solution to my Millennial Wanderlust

 It all started around the time I was approaching 30. My life felt predictably laid out ahead of me. I knew I was in search of something to break up the monotony and give me that “alive” feeling—but what? Travel had always been a passion of mine, and although my last trip to Costa Rica had satiated my wanderlust for a while, the feeling had begun to return. Then, after scanning tour sites, I found a Facebook ad for Remote Year. “Travel the world as a digital nomad for a year! Visit 12 countries and meet 75 new friends!” This opportunity seemed too good to be true, but I clicked to read more. What is Remote Year? Remote Year is a start-up organization that coordinates a year-long remote working experience for professionals with a passion for travel. Each group visits 12 countries throughout the year, living in a different…

16 Tips for Carrying Cash

This financial travel tip comes to you courtesy of pickpockets, petty thieves, and absent-minded travellers. Cash comes and goes easily on the road, and to preserve it involves stashing and managing it wisely. Here are 16 tips for carrying cash safely and securely while you travel the world. General Tips for Carrying Cash For some travellers, the question is not where or how to carry cash, but whether to use cash at all. In most western countries, you can pay for almost everything with debit and credit cards. (See also: How Many Debit/Credit Cards to Carry). However even in these countries, it’s prudent to have cash available for tips, transportation (taxis and buses), and emergency needs (if your cards don’t work). In many other countries, cash is king. Debit purchases are almost unheard of, and credit card purchases entail extra fees. In both cases, these tips below will enhance…

Florida Updates Zika Virus Count

The Florida Department of Health reports an additional four new cases of locally-acquired Zika virus being investigated in Miami-Dade.. All of them were believed to have been infected in the one-square mile of Wynwood area, originally designated as the prime site of the recent outbreak. The department emphasizes that it “still believes active transmissions are only taking place within the identified area that is less than one square mile in Miami-Dade County.” Currently, there are no active investigations or any indications of active transmission in Broward County, which is immediately north of Miami-Dade. The FDH also reports the incidence of 14 new travel-related cases of Zika virus infection—four in Miami Dade, three in Orange County (Orlando area), two in Hernando County (St. Petersburg-Clearwater area), one in Broward County, one in Lee County (Fort Myers area), one in Monroe County (Keys area), and two involving pregnant women in un-named counties. These…

5 Easy Ways to Be a Sustainable Traveller

Travel is one of the most unsustainable industries in the world. Don’t believe me? Just recently, Thailand closed Koh Tachai Island to visitors due to overcrowding, which was having a devastating impact on local ecosystems. The damage was so severe that many, myself included, will likely never have the pleasure of visiting the island. Tourism is also one of the best ways to boost a suffering economy. But economic stimulus isn’t exactly top of mind when travellers head out—adventure, memories, selfies, gifts, and nice weather usually take priority over our environmental considerations. There are many little ways to help reduce the negative impacts of tourism, and they are easy to apply when you take the time to properly plan out your adventures. To help bring more “consciousness” to the way you travel, I’ve put together five easy ways to reduce the negative impact your travels have on our beautiful earth…

How to Travel Gluten-Free

Travelling can present its challenges, but toss in a food allergy or dietary restriction and it can be downright daunting.  However, my own gluten intolerance hasn’t prevented me from travelling—in fact, it has been a key component in fuelling my desire to travel. I wanted to defy the misconception that I would be limited as a gluten-intolerant traveller, and since my diagnosis three years ago I have travelled to more exotic and foreign places than I ever had before. I didn’t know that the travel bug would bite me so hard, but it did, and I am always looking ahead to my next adventure (and next international cuisine to take on, gluten-free style). Thankfully I am now well-versed and always equipped with the essentials (and more) to successfully travel gluten-free. Here are my tips for travelling gluten-free (or GF). Try them out, share with a friend, or modify to make…

What You Should Do About the Zika Virus

What is the Zika virus? Zika is an arbovirus that is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti of mosquito. The greatest risk is to fetuses, particularly when expectant mothers are infected during the first trimester. Zika has been linked to microcephaly (abnormally small head) in newborn children. Thousands of such cases have been reported to date, especially in Brazil, which is thought to be the epicentre of the current breakout. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. Up to 80 per cent of Zika virus infections are free of symptoms and go undetected. According to the Public Health Agency Canada (PHAC), these symptoms can include fever, headache, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and skin rash, along with joint and muscle pain. The illness is typically mild and lasts only a few days. Zika has also been linked to incidence of Guillain-Barre syndrome—a serious disorder of the body’s immune…

Why Travel is My Drug of Choice

I’m Jane, and I’m a travel addict. Lucky for me, supply is not a problem. In fact, with competitive airfares, alternate types of accommodation, and a proliferation of money-saving tips, it’s never been easier to travel almost anywhere on almost any budget. (I’ve even become a travel blogger myself, so I can legitimately get high on my own supply.) And I’m not alone—I just have to go on the web and search for anything with the word “travel” in it, a country name, or a specific attraction, and I’ll get pages and pages of results that connect me with other wanderers waiting to get their next real-world fix. Call it my support group. So it always surprises me when I encounter people who have little or no desire to travel, a fact that is incomprehensible to someone with my disease. And yet there are more of these UnTravellers than you…

Safety Precautions for Canadian Travellers to Turkey

The recent coup attempt in Turkey, and the government’s massive retaliation, must be taken seriously by any Canadians planning to visit family or friends in that country.(According to the 2011 census, there were then almost 55,500 Canadian residents who claimed full or partial Turkish descent, and certainly a lot more today.) In the wake of the botched uprising, the Government of Canada has warned its citizens to “Avoid Non-Essential Travel” to Turkey as a whole, or to “Avoid All Travel” to its border region with Syria—specifically within 10 km of said border. These warnings are not just formalities. They can have serious consequences for you if you ignore them and then run into any problems or even misunderstandings while in that country. Following is what the advisories mean: Avoid non-essential travel There are specific safety and security concerns that could put you at risk. You should reconsider your need…

Brexit Impacts on Canadian Travellers

Britain’s break-up with the European Union (EU) continues to make headlines around the globe, and will likely do so for the foreseeable future. The initial shock waves destabilized markets and foreign currencies, even causing some travellers to question their future vacation plans. The United Kingdom is the second-most-favoured international destination for Canadians, so many are wondering what the short- and long-term effects will be on trips to Britain and the rest of the EU. Here are a few different ways Brexit might affect your next trip across the Atlantic… Unsteady foreign currencies After the referendum, the British pound took quite a tumble, reaching its lowest level in thirty years. Compared to the Canadian dollar, the pound lost 6.5% of its value, and the euro dropped over 3%. This sharp decline makes the United Kingdom much cheaper for Canadian travellers. As foreign currencies continue to react to the news, it…

France Struck Yet Again

The month-long UEFA Euro 2016 soccer tournament held throughout France was labelled as a major event with a high threat level. Increased security presence was felt at the venues, and the public was kept safe for the most part, with the exception of some incidents with so-called hooligans. Tragically, though, just days after the tournament ended, an attack was carried out during the heart of French National Day celebrations. Bastille Day, or La Fête nationale, is a holiday that commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789. Bastille Day marks the beginning of republican democracy in France, and carries with it great significance and symbolism to the French culture that has now been tragically tainted. The Bastille Day attack is the worst attack since the November 2015 attacks in Paris. Around 30,000 people were gathered in Nice, France’s second-most-popular tourist destination, to celebrate and watch the fireworks over the Mediterranean…

Rio Olympics and Zika: Stay or Go?

The Rio Olympics are almost upon us, and with mounting numbers of high-profile athletes announcing their withdrawal from the games for health prevention reasons, it’s time to decide—should you stay or should you go? The answer to that remains a personal one, based on individual circumstances. As of July 7, 2016, 143 cases of travel-related Zika virus, and one locally acquired case through sexual transmission, had been recorded in Canada. This figure includes at least seven pregnant women, but to date no cases of microcephaly (abnormally small head size in newborns) have occurred. However, public health officials are confident the actual numbers of pregnant women (the highest risk group) are higher, since reporting mechanisms don’t always capture information about pregnancy status. In the continental U.S., over 1,100 cases of Zika virus infection have been recorded up to the beginning of July, with the first case of newborn microcephaly being reported…

Canadians Need Not Fear Travel in Post-Brexit Europe

If you plan to visit Britain or continental Europe in the near future, there’s no reason to make any significant changes to your itinerary due to Brexit concerns. Aside from the political noise coming out of Europe after Britain announced it had decided to leave the European Union, there should be no immediate impact on you—except that you’ll be getting more for bang of your buck thanks to a sharp drop in the value of the British pound. Some airlines have already reduced fares, hotels may follow, and other tourism-related entities can’t ignore the demand for competitively priced locations and activities. These are all good things for you. However, although Britain has been a member of the EU since 1973, she was never fully invested in that community just 20 miles from her shore. She held on to her own sterling currency, and though her citizens travelled with a health…

Solo Journey Express

Family Growing up, I was fortunate enough to go on multiple family vacations. My mother was in charge of logistics: food and entertainment for flights, booking hotels, and planning excursions and my father was in charge of financials and documents: money, currency, and passports, whereas my siblings and I were in charge of taking pictures and having fun worry-free! I didn’t need to fret about forgetting something important, or figure out where I had to be, or what time I had to be there because everything was always planned out for me. And the best part was the quality time I got to spend with my parents and siblings. Beginning As I got older, I was given the opportunity to start travelling on my own.  I spent summers on student teen tours, took 40 person bus trips through the west coast of Canada and the United States and eventually…

Product Spotlight! RSA Visitors to Canada

Age limits don’t exist? RSA Visitors to Canada travel insurance plan is a great plan devised to accommodate all visitors, regardless of their age. It is especially beneficial for Super Visa applicants due to the $100,000 sum insured coverage option for any age. It also has an economical rate for visitors with stable pre-existing medical conditions (up to age 79). With its deductible options, side trip coverage, and coverage for hospital accommodations and ambulance fees, this is a plan you do not want to miss out on. Key benefits of the RSA Visitors to Canada Travel Insurance plan include the following: • Overall Maximum Limit options between: $10,000 – $150,000 • Hospital visits and private duty nursing • Doctor fees • Prescription drugs up to $500 • Specialists and Therapists up to $500 • Emergency Transportation • Flight Accident up to overall maximum limit For more information and…

Staying Safe at Rio 2016

The 2016 Summer Olympics are being held from August 5 to 21, and the Paralympic Games from September 7 to 18. The games are based out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, although some soccer events are taking place around the country, including in Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, São Paulo, and the Amazon city of Manaus. There are 37 venues in total and 306 events, with the country expecting over 600,000 fans to travel from all over the globe to attend. If you are travelling to Brazil this summer for the Olympics, there are a variety of health, safety, and security tips to consider to ensure a successful trip. Trip preparation Seek travel health advice at least four to six weeks in advance. Brazil has a variety of tropical diseases in different areas in country, including malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, yellow fever, and, most recently, Zika. The Zika outbreak has been…

It’s Hurricane Season

The 2016 hurricane season (June 1 through November 1) is here, and professional weather forecasters foresee (a) an above-average season, (b) a below-average season, or (c) a near-normal season for states bordering the Atlantic and/or the Gulf of Mexico. Sound wishy-washy? Indeed it does, but the major sources of weather information all agree on one thing: there are simply too many variables in the environment right now (including the expiration of El Niño, and the emergence of La Niña) to allow for a more reliable outlook. El Niño vs. La Niña El Niño is a pattern of unusually warm ocean currents in the tropical eastern Pacific that shifts upper level winds and reduces the likelihood of storm formation in the Atlantic. La Niña is the opposite, and is thought to produce below-average sea surface temperatures in the eastern Central Pacific. Weather specialists are pretty uniform in their belief that…

Europe Travel Alert: World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland

The United States has issued a Europe Travel Alert lasting until August 31, 2016, warning travellers of the large number of tourists visiting Europe this summer and associated risks. Specifically, the surge in visitors presents a greater concern for potential terrorist attacks due to the number of large events. And although the alert covers Americans, Canadians are urged to heed the same advice and follow travel advisories if they are heading to Europe this summer. One major event the travel alert mentions is the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day, which is taking place in Krakow, Poland, from July 26 to July 31. The event is expected to draw upwards of 2.5 million visitors between the ages of 16 and 35 to the Polish city. The Polish Prime Minister’s Office has said there are no signs of increased terrorist activity in the country and reassured travellers that security will be stringent.…

Using ATMs Abroad: 12 Things You Need to Know

Using ATMs (cash machines) while you’re abroad is not as simple as it is at home. I know travellers with horror stories about being strapped and unable to get cash due to various ATM blunders. That’s why it’s best to be informed about overseas banking before you depart! Here are 12 tips for using ATMs abroad and effectively managing your travel cash. 1. Get Online First and foremost, register for online banking before travelling. This allows you to manage your accounts and bills easily, and if there’s a problem with your ATM card or one of your accounts, you can fix it from wherever you are. 2. Foreign ATMs Offer Limited Services At home, you can use ATMs to change your PIN, see account information, transfer money between accounts, and more. Abroad, you generally can only view your balance and withdraw cash. For the rest, you’ll need to…

6 Adventures That May Just Change Your Life

“Here!” yelled the muscular man from his outrigger canoe. We couldn’t see it, but this was what we came for. We all jumped blindly into the water and began swimming toward him. Suddenly, I found myself within reaching distance of a 12-foot-long whale shark. It was scary and humbling and exhilarating. It feels cheesy to say that it was life-changing, but experiences like that really do change people. First-hand encounters with the grand creations of nature are a reminder that there is an enormous world of splendour beyond the human-built environments where we spend so much of our lives. From scrambling up a pre-installed via ferrata route in one of America’s most historic outlaw canyons to paddling alongside whales in the Canadian Arctic, here are six summer adventures suitable for people of all abilities that will help you remember that we live in a wild world of beautiful creatures and magical landscapes. Paddle…

Less is More: Travel in the World of Social Media

A Daily Routine My daily routine consists of waking up and going straight for my phone to check if I have any missed texts, emails, or phone calls. I then proceed to update myself on both Instagram and Snapchat to see what I missed during in the 8 hours I was asleep. Once I feel like I have caught up in the world of my 100 closest friends, I read my horoscope (I am very superstitious), and then get on with my morning. Social media plays a major part in my life… And it has changed drastically from what it used to be. From a travelling perspective, the biggest concerns faced are: what is a clever caption for my Instagram picture? What is the prime time to post my picture in order to maximize my number of likes? Who has seen my snapchat story? What geo filters are popular right…

UEFA Euro 2016: Europe Travel Alert

The United States has issued a Europe Travel Alert over the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe targeting tourist sites, major events, transportation, restaurants, and commercial centres. The alert focuses on the Euro 2016 soccer championship being held in France from June 10 to July 10 as a major event with a high threat level. France has issued a state of emergency until July 26, as the matches are expected to draw several million fans from across the continent and the globe. In the wake of the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks that shook Europe, French security has taken major steps to mitigate any risk of further terrorist attacks during the third-largest sporting event in the world. Stade de France The Stade de France was one of the targets in the Paris terrorist attacks last November, where three suicide bombers attempted to reach the interior of the stadium…

How to Respond to Active Shooter Situations While Travelling

The attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando has been characterized as the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States. Not surprisingly, this event has again brought active shooter situations to the forefront of public issues. While the likelihood of encountering an active shooter is extremely rare, we have provided a guide on how to prepare for and respond to these situations. How to prepare Active shooter situations can be unpredictable and random, which increases societal levels of fear. In many cases, active shooters try to inflict as much damage as possible in the short amount of time before authorities arrive on scene. You should understand the level of risk in the areas where you live, work, and visit. Know whether you may be a target, or whether any specific sites that you visit may be potential targets. Make sure you know where to go in the…

Lessons from Orlando: Stay Vigilant

The massacre of 49 Americans in Orlando should awaken us all to the reality that terrorism, and its avoidance, is now part of our lives—even within the shadow of Disney World. The tragedy we witnessed over live television and through social media this weekend brought home with brutal clarity that terrorism, whatever its source, is more than a European phenomenon. What happened in Paris and Brussels in late 2015 and early 2016 has happened here, in America’s heartland. We might have expected Times Square—but Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando? We must learn from this horrific event. Vigilance is everybody’s business, no matter where or when. Shortly after the Bataclan massacre in Paris in November 2015, American theme parks warned of longer lineups as they tightened up their screening measures. So did sports arenas and entertainment venues. Airports, already horribly overcrowded, just kept adding to your pain. What does Orlando, June 12,…

16,000 Kilometres, 805 Days, 10 Countries, 3 Horses, 1 Crazy Adventure

At the age of 25, I undertook one of the longest horseback rides in history. Inspired by Aime Tschiffely’s 1925 long ride from Argentina to the United States, I rode from the Calgary Stampede to the rodeo capital of Latin America, Barretos, Brazil. With my three horses—Frenchie, Bruiser, and Dude—I trekked 16,000 kilometres through ten countries over 805 days. I know what you’re thinking: “This guy is crazy.” I have heard this at least a thousand times, from the point I said I would do it until now, so no hard feelings. But to me, crazy is spending your time on this earth in a cubicle staring at a computer screen. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Everyone’s happiness comes from a different place. And mine happens to lie in the wide-open spaces. During my long ride from Canada to Brazil, I saw the sun rise and set almost…

Zika Update for Summer Vacationers 2016

Summer vacation time is here. Worried about Zika south of the border? Should you stay? Should you go? Our short answer? Go. But read on to make sure you stay safe and have a healthy return. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to the end of May 2016, 591 cases of Zika virus infection had been reported in the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii. All infections were acquired abroad through bites of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, except for 11 that were transmitted by sexual contact in the U.S. And of the 591, there have been 168 confirmed laboratory reports of pregnant women with Zika infection. So far, two babies born to these infected mothers have shown signs of microcephaly (abnormally small head size)—the malformation that ignited the worldwide Zika alert. Note that the Zika virus infection, in the great majority of cases, goes undetected.…

Summer Travel Warnings for Europe

The U.S. State Department has issued a new warning alerting its citizens to the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe this summer, and to be especially cautious if attending European soccer championship matches throughout France from June 10 to July 10, or the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, between July 26 and July 31. The advisory, which was issued on May 31 and extends through August 31, 2016, urges U.S. citizens to be especially cautious when attending major events, tourist sites, restaurants, and commercial and transportation hubs. Canada has not, to date, issued any similar warnings about European travel generally, but it provides up-to-date, country-by-country alert levels at https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories that Canadian travellers should check out daily if travelling anywhere in European this summer. Remember that entering any country or region within a country that is designated “Avoid non-essential Travel,” or “Avoid all travel” can limit or…

5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Hotel Stays with Young Kids

For many children, staying in a hotel is the highlight of any vacation. Even little things like riding in the elevator, swimming in the pool, or partaking in the continental breakfast can be thrilling to a kid. For parents, however, hotel stays come with an extra set of considerations. Luckily, there are some simple hotel hacks to make a parent’s job much easier. You’ve just got to know what to look for… 1. Request a corner room If you’re travelling with a small child who tends to cry at night, let the hotel staff know when you book your room. Oftentimes, they’ll be able to place your family in a room that shares only one wall, reducing disruption for the surrounding guests and easing your own anxiety when the baby wails at 3 a.m. When you check in, remind the front desk about your request. If the hotel isn’t…

Cultural Cordiality in Ecuador

There is a tendency in travel literature, particularly in pieces written by white males from Western nations (the dubious cohort to which I belong), to exoticize foreigners, to lump them all together beneath a banner of benign pleasantness, and to emphasize “simple living,” a mode of being that seems straightforward and joyful compared to the bustling, money-driven culture in which many of us live. But while I’d like to avoid such blatant othering, such generalizations can hold a small grain of truth. Overall, the people I encountered in Ecuador were happier and much friendlier than the average Torontonian. I landed in Ecuador on January 5, 2016, having never been south of Savannah, Georgia. I was there to teach English, but quickly found the classroom dynamic to be universal: the teacher teaches, the students listen and ask questions. So I pursued my own curriculum after class by walking the streets of…

Do you dream in technicolour, or monochrome?

We like the best of both worlds. Last summer, the sisu crew made its way to Toronto Island via Hanlan’s point to shoot the Toronto skyline in stop motion format. Wine, cheese, and laughs ensued on that sunny Saturday. The sisu crew needed the time, since the film was shot over 10 hours. Note to self: Don’t forget the fully charged backup batteries. The condensed version of the film can be seen here. See more from the sisu crew at sisuproduction.com

How to Survive (and Enjoy) Long Plane Trips with Kids

The thought of lengthy plane trips with kids is unpleasant to most. For many parents, the simple prospect of being trapped in an impossibly small seat while a squirmy baby or hyperactive toddler screams from ear pain is enough to cause us to break out in a sweat. And although we can’t completely prevent onboard meltdowns, there are some tricks help make flying with kids less, ahem, turbulent… Remember: Flying is fun For most of us, flying has become a necessary evil endured solely to carry us from point A to point B. But to a child, flying holds a world of wonders. Make flying fun for your child by allowing them to pack their own carry-on bag and roll it through the airport. Book a window seat and let them watch as the plane ascends through the clouds, then point out the tiny trees and houses below. …

Financial Travel Tips: Will That Be Credit or Debit?

This article is the first of the Financial Travel Tips series by Nora Dunn (The Professional Hobo), a former financial planner who has been travelling the world full time since 2006. We trust you’ll enjoy her experience-based tips and tricks for managing finances and travelling the world smartly! How many credit/debit cards to carry when you travel A number of factors may weigh into this decision, including the following: Your destination (credit cards aren’t widely used or accepted in some places) The length of your trip (a weekend getaway won’t require as much forethought on this topic as a long-term trip will) Payment method for the trip (if you’ve already paid for an all-inclusive vacation, your credit/debit cards will be almost redundant on the road) Other things to consider include reducing risk (against theft or card problems), minimizing fees, and keeping your finances running smoothly. Travelling with credit…

How I Stay Fit While Constantly Travelling

Staying in shape is hard under even the most ideal circumstances. Life always seems to be getting in the way of eating healthy and making time to exercise. And travel makes staying in shape even harder. I’m an adventure travel blogger, and I find it incredibly hard to stay fit on the road. It’s not easy to maintain a healthy diet when you’re constantly eating in restaurants—often in countries where you’re not even sure what food is available. And when you’re constantly moving from one country and time zone to the next, where you don’t know where to find the closest gym or running track, sticking to an exercise routine is next to impossible. Despite these obstacles, over the years I’ve developed a pretty good system. There are four main barriers to keeping fit on the road: Eating healthy Exercising consistently Dealing with smelly workout clothes Keeping your exercise gear…

Travel Insurance for HIV Applicants Becomes More Accessible

For people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, travel health insurance has usually been difficult, if not impossible, to obtain. Insurers’ eligibility requirements disqualified them even before they completed a medical application. Applicants were lumped into the same category as people with terminal illnesses or metastasized cancer or under physicians’ orders not to travel. However, given the miraculous advances in the management of HIV since the worldwide AIDS epidemic that erupted in the early 1980s, the total ban on persons infected with the human immunodeficiency virus that has not progressed to AIDS has been clinically unwarranted. HIV, as has always been the case, is not as contagious as is Ebola, SARS, certain stages of pneumonia, or the common cold. HIV is transmitted through sexual contact or contaminated blood passed on via needles or illicit drug paraphernalia. It is not transmitted by coughs, sneezes, handshakes, toilet seats, or unsanitized drinking glasses. Consequently, its total…

The Time I Was Rescued by a Navy Ship in Thailand

“We only have scrambled eggs left,” the owner of the corner cafe told me. My days on Koh Tao were over. While I was travelling the world in 2010 and 2011, I spent a few months in Thailand to learn the language of martial arts (read the story here) and to be an underwater videographer (find out more). In the middle of training for my first fight in Thailand, the country was hit with torrential rain and flooding; power outages, property damage, and food shortages ensued. I was unable to train properly, and anyone who has trained for a competition can understand my frustration. Don’t get me wrong—I like eggs, and they are great source of protein for training—but I wanted to get back to the gym! At the time I was living right next to a Muay Thai gym. A friend came by my bungalow and shouted that a…

Are Canadian Doctors Really Pillaging Health Care Coffers?

The current tension between the Government of Ontario and its doctors over what is or isn’t a fair “wage” is yet another chapter in a long saga documenting the political truth that when government is the paymaster, it has the right to call the tune. But the melody is wearing thin. To refresh myself on this long narrative, I revisited my own files to stories I wrote in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, for the Canadian Medical Association Journal and The Medical Post on the protracted fee schedule negotiation between not only the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Ontario Medical Association but also similar combatants in most other provinces. And the story line then, as it is now, was that the more money the province (that’s you) paid doctors, the less it had to pay for other key health care services—new hospitals, more beds, newer technology, more technicians, and…