Hello cool world!

This is us, a family of four from Toronto, Canada, on a year-long exploration around the world starting in September, 2014.  One part discovery, one part self discovery, and one part seeking ideas and solutions for our common future in the face of climate change and other pressures.  A “cool world” sums up our quest: to find cool things, cool people and ideas for a cooler planet.


Our 2012 bike trip in Prince Edward Island: Chris, Nancy, Eva, and Aran.

We are fortunate to live in a time when round-the-world tourism is not only possible, but commonplace.  It is a luxury past generations did not have, and future generations may not be able to afford.  Live better with less is our personal philosophy, something we try to do at home where we live in a vibrant neighbourhood.

Nancy Palardy:  Nancy is a life-long traveler and cycle tourist.  This trip was her idea and her passion over the past four years since she first proposed it.  She is a climate change policy analyst, working for a government agency in Ontario, Canada.

Chris Winter: Chris is an independent researcher with a long career in environmental charities.  His latest project, Canada Conserves, is looking into ways to help Canada shift onto a more sustainable, conserver path.  He’ll be looking for innovative ideas along the way and maybe some solutions that we can adapt and adopt in Canada.

Aran Winter:  Aran is a 13 year old with a keen interest in learning about the world, especially history (epic battles and empires), geography, and music.  His goal is to rap around the world, and find some great beaches.

Eva Winter: Eva is a 10 year old with a love of animals (especially horses) and an uncanny knack for finding neat experiences and making friends.

Both Aran and Eva will be homeschooled along the way, and they have been tasked with writing 100 things about the world as their contribution to this blog. Chris and Nancy will document the trip and our discoveries along the way.  You can click on the “Follow” link if you want to get our posts by e-mail.





12 thoughts on “About

  1. You guys are crazy! …which is why I love you…and why I am envious of the trip…and why I wish you a wonderful, safe, adventure.
    Nancy: Don’t let your head go “EeeeeeeeeeBOOM!
    Chris: You’re assignment is to learn how to say “CHEERS!” in as many languages as possible.
    Bon voyage and happy cycling!



      • Hey there Wintardies!!!! I’ve been thinking about you for the last couple of weeks, wondering how the chaos and excitement has been. I have been away myself and now I see (as makes perfect sense) that the phone is no longer the way to reach you. I wanted to say, you will remain in my thoughts and prayers. I will love reading about your discoveries and antics too. My sister described a piece of art in her apartment which had a fellow canoeing and faintly surrounding the canoeist was a larger canoe with all his ancestors in it. I hope you feel the gentle presence of those you love supporting you on your journey! Bon voyage!!!!!
        Love Chris (the other one)👧


  2. “they just left us this morning, beautiful and wonderful family.
    very surprising that research and this approach : i will follow them with interest on the blog About.
    You know Aran and Eva , my kids would certainly love that i offer them “The World” .
    Enjoy and remember you have the best parents…they come to you put the bar very high!!!
    Philosophy, ambition and courage : your “lightly life”, it’s great !!
    Congratulations Nancy and Chris , i wish you all a very nice trip .”



  3. Hi Family, i understand from a Turkish friend of mine you were in Mumcular/Turkey yesterday??
    I think you may have had tea and something to eat in their little pide shop 😉
    I wish you well on your travels and good luck.


  4. Such a pleasure to meet you guys near the executioners fountain at the palace in Istanbul ; ) And also a great pleasure to read about your ‘cool’ motivations for doing your round the world trip!

    I hope you find what you’re looking for – and a lot of stuff you’re not looking for. I look forward to visiting the blog so I can stay updated on ice cream around the world (my own favorite place is still Amorino, so I’m excited to see if you can find anything anywhere in the world that can beat that!).

    Safe travels!



    • The pleasure was ours, too. When you make it to Toronto, we can introduce you to some new flavours, including jellyfish, ginger, and beer.


  5. I am surprised how much you look like my memory of your dad Eric. I was a boarder at Friends School from 1956 to 1961. For those six years I was a resident of the dormitories in the main school buildings, though many year 11 and 12 boys were at Clemes, or at the Carr St house that was the realm of Eric Winter and family. Your dad got me interested in the way history geography society technology and environment were all linked together. He was a really good teacher and one of my favourite teachers! He was one of the teachers on a School trip I was part of that went to Central Australia in 1961 – the other teachers were Ken Brown and Harry Symons. We rode in the back of a WWII Blitz, on top of whatever was being carried as freight – health and safety wouldnt let you do that now. I remember John Pilcher quite well, he introduced me to the pleasure of eating raw potatoes.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s nice compliment Mike, one of the wonders of the internet. We often talk about Friends School. It was a very significant period in my life. Remember the School song .`When we go from out thy port holes“ All our photos of the time in Tasmania were stolen when we changed planes in Vancouver on the way to Montreal, that included photos of the school and the various trips we took into the bush.
    Because of the family’s recent adventures those days in Hobart had come back into back into focus, so when II see Mike Bird“ (Always `Michael Bird ` I know that name, It goes with `John Pilcher, Brian Wright, Doug Hallett and his sister, Ripon Shield, Jason Rofe and Walter Arkle whom we see frequently since he lives in Ottawa.`
    You were so right about the Hermansberg trip. There were many things we did then that would be frowned upon today. Remember Alex our guide, killing and eating a big lizard ( A prenti he called it). We were to have a celebration dinner for him when we returned to Alice. He didn`t show up. I found him, sloshed, in a rough drinking hole. What I could get out of him was that he would not be allowed into the restaurant to join us. That spoiled the evening because we had learned to respect him
    As for Eric Winter he has had a good life, he taught at McGill, and was a Dean and College Master at York University in Toronto.. In the late nineties was one of Canada’s four poets laureate.
    I should not use the past tense – having a good life – fit and well, 93 on Friday.
    Michael, it is one thing to offer a passing compliment in conversation, when it is written it is something of a quite different order
    Thanks, Eric
    P.S. So what did you do with all that good stuff I taught you .


  7. Gday Eric, Mr Winter as you once were. Its pleasing to know you are still alive and well, I seem to know an increasing number of dead folk nowadays. One Sunday supper when the offering was baked beans Ernie Arkle and I for some reason long forgotten had a competition on who could eat the most. We created quite a stir amongst those around us at the evening meeting in the Assembly Hall. Its sad to hear what happened to Squizzy, there were numerous unintended consequences of the 1967 referendum. There are now quite a number of dry by choice Aboriginal settlements. In 1988 I was manager of a gold mine at Mt Margaret in WA and part of the compensation deal was that we would build a 10km long “Great Wall of China” with a lockable gateway, right around their town. It was to keep out marauding drunken Aboriginal men who drove from other areas to look for girls at night.

    After Friends I worked for a few years as a Geologists Assistant at Storeys Creek and Aberfoyle tin mines in NE Tasmania. These two mines supported two small towns with about 1200 people between them. The total tin and tungsten sales were around 1.5 million pounds a year. The Hallett family you mentioned, from Hollow Tree near Bothwell were graziers (of the landed gentry variety I think you could say), and during the 50s and early 60s their woolclip from their flock was several times bigger than that – they were really rich, which is how come Bob Hallett could buy a dozen Albert Namatjira paintings from the Pitchie Ritchie gallery on that trip. Incidentally, I have the “Focus” article on that trip with a picture of you, Harry Symons, Brian Wright and myself – my mum sent it to me not long before she died aged 96.

    In 1966 I moved to Kalgoorlie in WA to get a Geology degree from the WA School of Mines. I worked for a company called Western Mining Corp, which is why it took me quite a few years to get started. My first job was in the Warburton Ranges area, Aboriginal land near the NT-SA-WA corner. This was frontier country back then, what turned out to be the last group of Aboriginals to come in contact with white Australians did so a year before I got there. This was also the start of a lifetime of fly in – fly out jobs, 6 weeks on 1 week off, and now they complain about 4 days on 3 days off rosters being too long! Mind you, I quite liked the 6 weeks in the bush, maybe I was different. I recall one time about 1970 when I heard then saw a high flying jet overhead when a new transcontinental service began. I felt quite violated. The aboriginal folk wanted to ban flights across their land, and I can understand why.

    Eventually I did stop enjoying myself in the bush, and took up space in the WMC geology research lab. This was very conveniently situated right across the street from the School of Mines. I had a lot of fun there too, it was a very cutting edge facility with the best equipment available – universities around Australia were jealous. The idea was that I would work full time and go to school part time, but I discovered that I was too much of a wanderer to settle down for 7 years of part time study. After a lot of negotiation I arranged my part time study to have more hours per week than a full time student and finished the 4 year course in 3.5 years, of which 6 months was wasted finding out 7 years was too long!

    The concepts or principals I picked up from your geography/history lessons apply just as much to geology. Fifty years ago the continents were fixed in place and ore bodies were all inorganic. Now we know that 1400 million years ago you could walk on dry land from Butte Montana to Smithton Tasmania, in just a month or so. Now we know that many famous mineral occurrences are there because of climate and microbes, Mount Isa Pb-Zn and Broken Hill are two, and that meteorite impacts didnt just kill the dinosaurs, they also created major ore deposits, Century Zn and Mt Isa Cu. All that is required is to take down the walls of the box and look around. You can actually find good ore bodies by understanding the history of the mining area, which reveals the hidden geography or geology.

    I worked at Mt Lyell in Tas for a few years in the 1980s. In 1983 the copper price was the lowest it had ever been throughout history and the operation was losing $15/second – that sounds more manageable than $120 million a year. I looked at the geology of the high grade North Lyell area and located an area that had a fair chance of being ignored for 100 years, even though it had high grade mined at depth it also had a surface road cutting with no obvious showings of ore. It took an afternoon to scrape the peat from the bedrock and expose the ore on both sides of the cutting. This led to a 20% increase in copper production for almost no cost increase.

    In 1979 while with WMC I read in Time magazine that there would be a big problem for the western life-style if a civil war broke out in Katanga and stopped cobalt production – there would be no ball bearings left after 6 weeks. After a bit of aggro I got a budget for exploration and then had to figure out what to do to actually find payable cobalt ore near Kalgoorlie – my mouth had got a bit in front of my brain. After a couple of months enjoyably driving around the bush like a tourist I derived a story that linked bedrock, paleoclimate, biota, groundwater flow, seismicity, and geomorphological artifacts. Naturally this contradicted the received wisdom, but never-the-less resulted in some significant discoveries. When the Shaba war broke out and closed the Katangan mines the price went from $2/lb to $85/lb and it didnt take long for WMC to make $300 million. This came in handy, the company was losing money at the time. Six months later every man and his dog was mining cobalt and the price was $2/lb so we stopped.

    In 1995 I started working in Papua New Guinea, fly in fly out from Perth. Its a great place for white guys, and absolutely terrible for women and girls. The white guy thing is nothing to do with racism per se, but if someone is murdered (a frequent occurrence) compensation must be paid according to the income and status of the deceased, and white guys are just too darn expensive to kill. I was frequently in trouble with the Sydney board of the company for using inefficient “native” carriers instead of highly efficient helicopters. The Bell Long-ranger cost Kina4000/hr (US$1400) and one “native” costKina0.47/hr. To carry 1 ton of supplies up the hill to my exploration camp took several trips and an hour owing to the bigwigs who wanted a free joy ride. I could and did hire 50 local guys for 4 hours and give them a feed to carry the ton up the hill for 2 Kina as wages and 7 kina for kaikai, all up Kina450, and a few thousand brownie points in the generally impoverished community. During the big El Nino in 1998 I put hundreds of people on my payroll so they didn’t die. None did, though the mortality in the villages outside the mining lease was as high as 50% that year. I got into big trouble for that too though the mine could readily afford it. Unfortunately it is now closed due to mismanagement so there is no help for the people in this years El Nino.

    Thats enough twitting on for now, if you contact me at my email address I send you a scan of the Focus if you want it.

    mike bird


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