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Journeys of two lifetimes

There are trips, and then there are journeys.

A trip can be fun, educational and rewarding. But a true journey, born of a dream to see and explore places that have only ever existed in our imaginations, can speak to our souls, changing the way we view the world and ourselves. And journeys are what have inspired singer, songwriter and adventurer Ian Tamblyn and his frequent travel partner, photographer and author Mike Beedell, this year's Royal Canadian Geographical Society's spring lecturers.

Beedell has spent the past 30 years exploring Canada, capturing his experiences in award-winning photos and a book of images celebrating Canada, The Magnetic North. Juno Award-winning Tamblyn, on the other hand, has been composing and performing folk music for decades. The two Chelsea, Que., residents have been travelling together for 12 years and convey their ideas and stories about their adventures in their own unique ways. "We are on a quest for evocative images that express a sense of place and spirit in celebrating our country," says Beedell. "Through artistic mediums, Ian and I complement each other."

Tamblyn says no matter where he goes, he tries to listen to the spirit of his surroundings. He recalls one voyage to the Arctic when, after a long, arduous expedition by plane, car and Zodiac, he and his companions arrived at a glacier. Someone suggested shutting off the boat’s engine so that they could fully take in their surroundings.

"We just sat there listening to the dripping and cracking and groaning of that glacier," Tamblyn says. "And I knew right away that it was going to be a fantastic journey."

Beedell and Tamblyn's presentation, which will include songs, stories and photography, is titled "Dreams and Journeys: An environmental odyssey," and it will focus on the diversity of the environments they have encountered while exploring the coastlines of Canada. In the end, they hope their travels will encourage audiences to dream of journeys of their own.

The pair will appear for four evenings in Ottawa and Toronto. For specific dates and locations, click here.

- Jan Dutkiewicz

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