(updated August 2018)

Who we are, what we do:

    We live a simple but interesting, relatively stress-free life.  Our home is a small suburban cottage where we garden (click here for some photos of my garden).  Deb enjoys cooking, and we have a 27' sailboat which we sail together, taking friends out on Lake Ontario, and sometimes going away for weekend cruises with other boats from our yacht club.  We travel south to escape winter.  During the summers, I play tennis, we maintain a huge kitchen garden, host young international travelers (who help me in the garden), play a lot of music and do volunteer work. 

   I  play the piano, trumpet, clarinet, guitar, banjo, ukulele, melodica and harmonicas in multiple music groups. I restored two old and damaged Indian instruments, a surbahar (a bass sitar) and a veena, and made them playable again. 

    We are active members of the Couchsurfing, Workaway and Helpx online communities.  We have enjoyed staying with over fifty hosts around the world, and continue to host many travelers each summer in our cottage here in Scarborough - in the past five years we've had between eight and thirteen guests each summer.  We have collected 90 references on our Couchsurfing profile, from guests, hosts and other people in the CS network who we've gotten to know; another 26 references as Helpx and 7 more as Workaway hosts, although we've actually had eleven Workaway guests.

    Here are 52 c
ountries we've spent time in (I've left out three that were just airport layovers) spread through six continents: 

   
Africa south, central, east, west: Angola, Botswana, DR Congo (Kinshasa), Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa
 
   
Africa north, and middle east: Morocco and Israel

    Australia
, New Zealand, Fiji
 
    Europe: England
Scotland, Wales, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Germany, SwitzerlandAustria, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland

   
N. America: Canada coast to coast several times; about twenty of the United States, and Mexico numerous times

    Caribbean:
Cuba, Dominican Republic, Grand Cayman

    Central America: Nicaragua and Costa Rica

    S. America: 
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay

    Asia: Pakistan
, India, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Bali, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam

    Countries I've lived and worked in: Austria, Canada, Japan, Zambia

    Next destinations: Brazil.  After that, maybe Belize and Guatemala, and definitely China and the Balkans when we carve out some time for spring, summer and fall travel.








Volunteerism, voluntourism: "volunteering is the rent we pay for the space we occupy"

Current activities:  I turn activities I enjoy into volunteer work. We organized ukulele and guitar groups for people who want to learn those instruments and enjoy their new passions.  For two Christmases, I helped to perform Christmas music at Women's shelters with a collection of other musicians.  We continue to perform with our jazz combo for free for various reasons, but never at events where other people are paid for their services - only for charities, friends and family events.
   Because we enjoy traveling, we host young travelers from Europe, S. America and Asia who stay here while they visit Canada
We coach those with working holiday visas through the process of landing a job in Toronto: we help them to write résumés and interview for jobs, and find their way around the city. 
   While they stay with us, I teach them to grow food in my vegetable garden, and eat it.  We share some of the vegetables we've grown with a local food bank, so gardening also becomes volunteer work; and Deborah volunteers every Monday at the same food bank, sorting and distributing food to clients. 
   In July we participate, through our yacht club, in giving sailboat rides to intellectually disabled adults, and to Big Brothers and Big Sisters and their "littles".

Activities in previous years: 


    During January and February of 2014, we spent seven weeks teaching free conversational English in Nha Trang, Vietnam, to an eager and fun group of young adults and teenagers.  After we returned to Canada we continued to coach Vietnamese students by email and through collaborative google docs, helping them to write their essays and résumés in English, proofing and offering corrective suggestions and helping them to prepare for IELTS exams.
    We worked at a remote Andean village school in Ecuador for five weeks in Jan/Feb 2013.
We did inspections and wrote reports on Alma Foundation projects in Peru in Feb/March 2013. We continued to assist with their accounting after we returned home to Toronto.
   
We led a team of Liaison Officers for Tall Ships that visited Toronto Harbour for a week in June of 2013, as we had also done previously in 2010.  Our designated ship this time was the Peacemaker.
    We worked for one week of housing construction on a Habitat for Humanity project, building a townhouse complex in Scarborough.
    I compiled newsletters for the Angolan Memorial Scholarship Fund, then served as treasurer for a number of years. I chaired the investment committee for a decade, and continue to do related investment chores for them. When we retired, Deb and I designated our retirement gifts from our colleagues to be in the form of donations split between that charity and the Racecourse School in Kitwe, Zambia.  Colleagues donated a handsome sum.
   
Through 2012 I drove cancer patients to treatment one full day per week for the Canadian Cancer Society; and because I'm O rh negative, I've been a regular blood donor.
    That
fall Deborah interviewed applicants to be recipients of an annual Christmas hamper program (food, toiletries, clothing, bedding, toys for children, etc).
     I've built websites, published newsletters and organized recreational leagues for my tennis and sailing clubs. I created the spring and fall newsletters for Highland Yacht Club for number of years.
    In younger years I managed a summer youth hostel for young travellers, and volunteered at a summer children's camp for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
    I played piano, and my bands and choirs presented free concerts at nursing homes and school fundraisers.
  I played trumpet in an 18 piece swing band which performed in retirement homes and other venues. 
    Deborah fostered litters of kittens from the Toronto Humane Society for several years.
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