Episode 39 – Exploring French Wine Country

This is the second of seven episodes from my original travel podcast series, Boarding Call.  This episode was originally published April 9, 2015.

Our Guest

André Proulx is a self-taught wine expert who grew up on the Canadian prairies and now calls Toronto home.  He’s written about his recent trip to France’s wine country, including details about his visit to Beaujolais and Lyon.  He’s a frequent guest on CP24, Newstalk 1010 and CTV News Channel, and joins us to talk about his adventure.

Episode 38 – Around the World

For the next seven episodes on The Gone John Show feed, we are revisiting my original travel podcast series, Boarding Call.

Prior to embarking on my adventure to Asia in the fall of 2015, my plan was to produce a weekly travel podcast to talk with interesting travellers, feature unique destinations, and share advice from experts – along with providing some current travel news.

In May of 2015 – when life presented me the opportunity to go on my own travel adventure – I jumped at the chance.  However, Boarding Call went on to the back-burner and eventually a permanent hiatus.

With The Gone John Show and the Gone John blog being my primary focus of travel content creation these days, I’m winding down my Boarding Call online presence – and wanted to bring these seven shows into the fold.  The stories which were shared still stand up, and are as interesting now as they were when they were first published.

Following these seven episodes, new episodes of The Gone John Show will be forthcoming – so, stay tuned!

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The view from the observatory at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is stunning, and free.

Tokyo A to Z

I love Tokyo.  Its unique paradoxical character which I have yet to experience anywhere else is a big reason for why it’s my favourite city in the world.

In one breath, Tokyo is a modern, futuristic city where millions of people work (hard) and play (harder).  From glistening glass and steel structures scraping the skyline, to a transportation system which is eerily efficient, to a digital culture which has nearly universal acceptance and literacy by old and young – Tokyo is the most evolved of any 21st-century city.

Yet, in the same breath, Tokyo is a place where formal, button-down, traditional culture permeates everyday life.  There are unspoken rules about how to do the most basic of tasks, a groupthink on what’s acceptable and unacceptable in public, and constant (and still functioning) elements of Japan’s history dotting the landscape.  Tokyo may be contemporary, but it remembers where it came from.

While there is a multitude of reasons to embrace it, I have chosen 26 for this post (A to Z) on why I love Tokyo.

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Episode 37 – The Great Outdoors

Canada’s Victoria Day long weekend – while intended to commemorate the birthday of Queen Victoria – is (for most people) the unofficial start of summer.  For campers, it’s often the first opportunity to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

To the surprise of family and friends, last year I decided to dive head-first into camping (despite being raised in a household where our definition of ‘roughing it’ was staying at a budget motel).

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Malaysian flag on Pulau Langkawi

8 Things I Learned Travelling in Malaysia

In January of this year, I set foot in Malaysia for the first time with a sense of adventure and a desire to go exploring.  What I found was a country which felt familiar, yet challenged my western sensibilities. I fell in love with Malaysia’s people, its natural beauty, and its unique place in history.

Not everything about Malaysia is perfect.  There are infrastructure deficits – most notably open sewers in some communities which leave you gasping for air.  There is petty crime which – like anywhere – stems from some people just not having enough to get by.  And while a variety of religions can find acceptance in Malaysia, the country’s government is decidedly regressive on social policy like LGBT rights.

Looking back on Kuala Lumpur's skyline from the grounds of the Royal Selangor Club.
Looking back on Kuala Lumpur’s skyline from the grounds of the Royal Selangor Club.

Malaysia made a big impact on me during my month criss-crossing the nation.  Here are eight of my biggest takeaways from visiting the country.

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