Hi friends. Another great Showcase today as we welcome globetrotting physicist, cyclist, author and Jeopardy! champion, Graydon Hazenberg. We also celebrate the release of Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries. But first, let’s meet today’s star.
Hi Graydon, welcome to the Showcase. Let’s kick things off, please, with you introducing yourself.
(Graydon) I was born in Ottawa but grew up in Thunder Bay. I went off into academia hoping to be a Nobel-prizewinning physicist, but instead ended up running away to see the world, and haven’t stopped. I’ve spent most of the past 27 years travelling or working around the world, as an ESL teacher and now as an international high school math and physics teacher. I’ve visited 134 countries so far, often by bicycle or on foot, and I’m drawn to the mountainous and wild corners of our planet.
(Bill) That’s an intriguing CV. What do you feel you’re best known for?
(Graydon) The answer used to be that I was a Jeopardy! champion back in 1994. Nowadays it’s that most people know me for my long bicycle trips through places like Pakistan, Tibet, Central Asia, Ethiopia, Mongolia, India, Southeast Asia and Europe.
(Bill) Which leads me to my next question; how’d you wind up where you are?
(Graydon) Right now my partner and I are in Bali. We were scheduled to be driving around Africa starting last September, but covid-19 has ruled that out. Instead we’ve retreated to a place where we’ve spent time over the past decade in order to wait for international travel to become possible again. There are worse places to wait out a pandemic.
(Bill) I have to agree! Who do you consider a role model or mentor to you?
(Graydon) In terms of writing, I’ve always looked up to travel writers like William Dalrymple, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Robert Byron, Peter Matthiessen and Colin Thubron. In terms of integrating adventurous travel into my life, Bruce Kirkby has been a bit of a role model.
(Bill) Bruce speaks highly of your adventure travel writing; which must feel great. What are you currently working on?
(Graydon) I’m currently promoting my book, Pedalling To Kailash, while polishing up my next book, Silk And Solitude, for publication. I’m also trying to get started on a third book, but that’s on the back burner at the moment.
(Bill) With all of the places you’ve visited and explored, which would you say is your favourite?
(Graydon) The country of Kyrgyzstan is an amazing place, an outdoor playground of mountains and high plateaux and herders. I’ve spent parts of three summers there, and there’s so much more I’d love to explore on future trips.
(Bill) I’ve only seen video from that part of the world, but it looks remarkable. Given your array of experiences, what’s your advice to others?
(Graydon) You can always make more money, but you can never make more time. Make the most of the time you have.
(Bill) Nicely said. I like that. And to leap from the sublime to the ridiculous, it’s time for a quirky question. Who’s your favourite Muppet, and why?
(Graydon) Growing up I adored Cookie Monster for his messy eating habits, but as I’ve matured and acquired slightly better table manners, I’ve taken to Beaker; I think his expressive face captures the helplessness that many of us feel when all around us is crumbling.
(Bill) A perfect visual, and utterly relatable! Thanks Graydon. It’s been a pleasure having you on the Showcase. You can find Graydon on his website, graydonhazenberg.ca, and his book, Pedalling To Kailash, is available on Amazon.
In other Showcase news, I’m excited to announce Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries is available for pre-order from your favourite bookstore or direct from Rocky Mountain Books, with a quick introductory video here.
Thanks as always, and see you soon!
Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of the Gone Viking travel memoirs (Gone Viking: A Travel Saga, Gone Viking II: Beyond Boundaries, Gone Viking III: The Holy Grail) and A Season on Vancouver Island. He’s won numerous book awards and received a Fellowship at London’s Royal Geographical Society for his expeditions. When not trekking with a small pack and journal, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, where he lives near the sea on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land.