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Some Things Are Just As Well Enjoyed Vicariously: Robin Esrock on his Bucket Lists Of Travel

by Kate Caspian

It was the mention of the radioactive hat that caught my attention.

Up until then it had been the usual introduction to a travel-guide talk, the summary of a life lived but not fulfilled, and the point of finally going to do something one has always wanted to do. There is always a start, and now Robin Esrock is an author and traveling adventure-host on the television series Word Travels.  He was at the Millennium Library in Winnipeg, Manitoba to talk about his Bucket List books, and give the rest of us some ideas of where or how to travel next. The point wasn’t the getting there, it was the encouragement to us from someone who has.

Once he caught our attention, he kept us all interested with his sense of humour sprinkling every sentence, as well as his insistence that a travel bucket list should not be something the ”average person” can only dream of. His criteria for destinations is simple: Is it unique in the world? Will you remember it for the rest of your life? Can everyone do it? (This means cost-wise, physically, health, reasonable amount of time), and most importantly, Will it make a great story? After all, you will be telling it for the rest of your life!

The Great Canadian Prairie Bucket List and The Great Global Bucket List, the two books he had on display today, deliver.  The talk was a nice mix, with great visuals and occasional video of some of the more exotic destinations Robin Esrock has visited, as well as, some equally amazing experiences the rest of us can try ourselves.

This talk made me appreciate that Robin Esrock has gone to a few places and shared anecdotes about them, places that I’d love to see and will never go to!  A miserable night on the ice in Antarctica that apparently grows better with sharing that you wake up to a tarantula on the ceiling that the locals are unconcerned with, while telling you it is called a “manhunter spider.” Most notably, the haunting, terrifying, fascinating photos of the abandoned city of Cherobyl are truly bucket-list material since it is now possible to visit there, but I am not likely to chance it.  Especially after he oh-so-casually mentioned that after his visit to the radioactive city, he finally had to replace his trademark fedora because it kept setting off airport alarms!

As much as I am inspired anew to try some of Robin Esrock’s Great Bucket Lists, I have to say I enjoyed hearing him talk about some of the ones I will never get to, just as much.  Thanks Robin, and Thin Air!