Adventures that Inspire Lifelong Learning

How have your travels inspired you? Linda Vurma is a long-time guest of Adventure Canada who has joined our trips since 2013. Read more about how her expeditions have quenched her voracious appetite for learning, and how she’s since been inspired to share her newfound knowledge with others.
Linda Vurma Karat Fjord Greenland 2015

Linda at Karrat Fjord, Greenland, 2015

Linda Vurma is a retired elementary teacher-librarian, an avid traveller, and a lifelong learner.

Early in her married life, she lived for years in Saudi Arabia and did lots of travelling throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. “I’ve always loved travelling,” she reminisces, but admits that until she retired, she had not seen much of her own country.

That all changed when she started travelling with Adventure Canada.

Linda Vurma Devon Island glaciers 2017

Linda pictured in front of Tallurutit (Devon Island), Nunavut, 2017

“I’ve always had a cottage in northern Ontario. I thought that when I went there, I was going north—until I realized how much more north there was in Canada!”

She got her first taste of northern landscapes and even spotted a few icy bergy bits on an expedition up the coasts of Newfoundland and Labrador. After that, she was hooked. “I really wanted to see the far north of Canada,” she recalls, and decided to sign up for a Northwest Passage expedition. She describes the experience as one of her life’s highlights.

Hiking Dundas Harbour Devon Island

© Linda Vurma

Hiking at Dundas Harbour, Nunavut

A Community of Lifelong Learners

As well as an avid traveller, Linda is a thoughtful, curious individual who has always loved to teach and learn. For more than ten years, she’s been an active member of the Society for Learning in Retirement (SLR), a charitable non-profit that operates in her city. The group’s mission is to “promote active minds by providing opportunities for people to engage in active learning and share their experience and knowledge in an open and friendly environment.”

Walking the Greenland ice cap near Ilullissat

© Linda Vurma

Walking on the Greenland ice sheet

Each term, members of SLR sign up for a study or discussion group of their choice, then take turns researching and presenting about a topic that interests them within that group’s theme.

“Being a teacher and always learning and reading and wanting to have meaningful conversations, I heard about this organization. I liked the idea that I could share my own experiences. I imagined many of the other members would be people who are also well-travelled and willing to talk about some of the more interesting things in life,” she says.

Anderson Bay flat rock beach LV

© Linda Vurma

Anderson Bay, Nunavut

Going Deeper

Linda uses her personal experiences of travelling with Adventure Canada to develop the presentations she shares with SLR. For example, in a study group about UNESCO World Heritage Sites, she presented about her visit to the Ilulissat Icefjord. In another about Canadian Art and Artists, she shared the stories she learned of James Houston’s influence on introducing Inuit artists to the southern art world.

James Houston plaque Kinngait Nunavut 2016

© Linda Vurma

James Houston's plaque in Kinngait, Nunavut

She uses her own photography to complement the information presented, as well as media such as music or film clips by expedition team members like Ian Tamblyn and John Houston. Her presentation on the Northwest Passage was so well-received that she was asked to repeat it again for a church group and her PROBUS club.

Larry Audlaluk portrait LV

© Linda Vurma

Inuk activist and writer Larry Audlaluk

Linda is a detailed researcher, and although she learned much about these topics during her time on board her expeditions, she shares that her knowledge has expanded even further since. “That’s the part that’s most pleasing to me—what I’ve learned by putting it all together. And every time I’m researching, I’m reliving the trip.”

Sharing Knowledge as a Form of Advocacy

In one study group that took turns reviewing National Film Board films, Linda chose to share Broken Promises: The High Arctic Relocation by filmmaker Patricia Tassinari. She first learned about this dark chapter in Canadian history on her Northwest Passage expedition and wanted to share more about this little-known topic with her peers at SLR.

Grise Fiord memorial plaque LV

© Linda Vurma

The memorial plaque found at Ausuittuq (Grise Fiord), Nunavut

“Once I came home and did the research, it really expanded my knowledge. People tend to know more about First Nations in Canada, but not as much about Inuit culture and history,” Linda says. She credits her time in the North as an inspiration to learn more about such topics and share her knowledge with others, so they can become better informed.

Grise Fiord memorial statue LV

© Linda Vurma

A monument to the High Arctic relocation at Ausuittuq (Grise Fiord), Nunavut, created by artist Looty Pijamini

The Adventure Canada Travel Experience

Linda reports that she returns home from every Adventure Canada trip feeling excited and energized.

“Adventure Canada gives you the whole family experience. I’ve travelled on so many trips now that I’m always meeting people I’ve travelled with before. That’s part of the joy of travelling solo with Adventure Canada—as soon as you get on, you never feel alone. The percentage of repeat travellers mean I’ve been with the same people before, and that’s wonderful.”

Karrat Fjord Greenland LV

© Linda Vurma

Linda’s enthusiasm for connecting with like-minded people and absorbing all she can about interesting topics is contagious, and her peers at SLR are just a few of the lucky ones to benefit.

So, what will she be inspired to learn and share more about next? It’s hard to predict, but we know there is another adventure and set of academic pursuits right around the corner for her. After all, like any lifelong learner, Linda says, “I’m always seeking.”

About the Author

Ellie Clin

Ellie Clin

Program Director

Ellie Clin is an environmental educator by training and an adventurer at heart, having explored all seven continents and both polar regions. She's also a writer, scuba diver, sailor, general professional vagabond, and foodie. As Program Director for Adventure Canada, she loves planning the on-board education program to help guests learn as much as they can about the regions we travel to. Her travel and memoir writing has been featured in the Globe & Mail, Atlas Obscura, and Explore Magazine online, as well as Adventure Canada's own Mindful Explorer platform.