CODY PUNTER: Travelling to places unknown from the comfort of home

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After a long week at a work, most of us spend our Friday afternoons looking forward to some kind of escape. At this time of year, most families turn to the land to get outside the bubble of the workday grind. Last weekend I was hoping to do just that until the nasty weather rolled in from the north-east and pinned me indoors for the better part of Saturday.

With the exception of sports and a few bad comedies, I don’t watch much TV. But as the wind whistled between the buildings outside, I decided to flip it on to keep me company.

Much to my delight, I discovered one of the stations was airing an Anthony Bourdain marathon. Bourdain was a chef and travel writer, who shot up to fame as the host of his own television show Parts Unknown, in which he would travel all over the world in search of hidden cultures and rich culinary traditions. Last Saturday marked the one year anniversary of him taking his own life.

Bourdain was well-known for his kind demeanour, infinite curiosity, and his understated charm. I did not follow his career closely, but I remember being shook up when I heard the news of his passing.

Those feelings lingered as I let him transport me to Vietnam, Iran, Japan, the United States’ deep south – all places I was so curious about but had never had the chance to visit.

Despite the melancholy undertones of his suicide, I felt lucky that even though he was no longer with us, I could still join Bourdain on his travels as he uncovered the rich history and delicacies of far off places.

Of all the unique cultures Bourdain got to experience in his life, he never had the chance to come to Nunavut, although he did once spend time with Inuit in Northern Quebec.

Very few people from down south ever end up visiting the North. One reason is likely that people don’t know just how beautiful it is up here. And then there is the high cost of travel.

Flights are so expensive that it can be difficult for people in the Kivalliq to visit the Kitikmeot, never mind far off lands like Australia or Uganda.

It is an issue which Rankin Inlet resident Thomas Angoshadluk has been trying to address with a Facebook page intended to share the magical scenery, animals and people of the Arctic.

Growing up in Rankin before the days of the Internet, Angoshadluk had no idea what the rest of the North looked like. But once he started to see more of Nunavut, he knew he wanted those that would never get the chance to experience what he did first-hand to at least be able to see it online. So he started “Photos of The North” as a way for Northern photographers from all around the world to connect with a wider audience.

The fact that the page recently hit 10,000 followers is a testament to how many amazing places make up this vast territory that we call “The North.” Even though there are many different cultures throughout the Arctic, the photos that get shared are proof there is something unique that binds people who spend more time living through winter than any other season.

I have been a member of the page since 2016. On one hand, it has given me the itch to travel to places I’ve never visited — and maybe never will — especially the great mountains of Baffin Island as well as the small Arctic island of Greenland.

On the other, it has given me a deeper understanding of our common humanity and the bond we all share, whether we’re from Timbuktu or Taloyoak.

Even with all the money in the world it would be difficult to visit every single place on earth in a lifetime. That is why I am so grateful anytime I am able to be transported to an unknown place from the comfort of home.