About

Hello! My name is Tana and, starting in June 2010, I plan to spend 2 1/2 years travelling to towns and cities all over Canada, primarily on a recumbent trike called Ranger. I’m trying to raise awareness and funds for the charity SOS Children’s Villages as I pedal, so I aim to visit as many communities as I can across each of the provinces and territories of the country of which I have recently become a permanent resident. Although born and bred in the UK, I fell in love with Canada many years ago, and after a long battle with serious illness and the global economic crisis, I’ve finally made it here! The move seemed like the perfect time to do something special for a charity I feel passionately about, and as a result, I’m also getting to know my new home country really, really well!

The main purpose of this web site is to keep family and friends – and anyone else who might be interested! – up to date with my progress, so most entries will be about what I’ve been doing, the people I’ve met and the places I’ve seen; however, I also plan to include some information about the practicalities of the cycling I do, which I hope might be of use to anyone thinking of cycling any of the routes I take. I aim to add an entry every few days, but this may not always be possible if I am beyond the reach of cyberspace, so please do consider clicking on the button on the right to sign up to receive email alerts when new material is posted to the site: that way, you’ll never have to waste time visiting the site only to find that there’s nothing new to see!

And so now, in time-honoured web site fashion, the FAQs!

Q: Why SOS Children’s Villages?

A: I became involved with the charity SOS Children’s Villages while I was still living in England: their UK office just happened to be down the road from where I worked! Unlike many charities that work with orphans, SOS Children’s Villages builds families and communities for the children in its care, providing not just a roof over their head, but stable and loving relationships and someone to call ‘Mum’. I know I owe a lot of good things in my life to the love and care I received from my parents as I was growing up, so now I’m doing what I can to make sure that all children in the world get the same positive start in life.

Q: Why go west to east? If you’re coming from the UK, wouldn’t it make more sense to start in the east?

A: Because west to east is the way the prevailing winds blow. And when you’re cycling, that matters!

Q: Why a trike?

A: Comfort. Stability. Comfort. General all-round coolness and fun. Oh, and comfort.

Q: Have you always been a keen cyclist? Have you done lots of touring before?

A: Not really. I used to cycle to school every day, but other than that, this will be the first time I’ve ever cycled more than about 10 miles outside of a gym.

Q: So, with absolutely no previous experience, you’re planning to cycle across the second-largest country in the world, entirely on your own: are you completely crazy?

A: Yes.

Q: Aren’t you worried about getting eaten by a bear?

A: From what I understand, I am far more likely to run into trouble with a badly-trained farm dog or a badly-driven RV than a badly-tempered bear. I’m quite sure no-one has ever actually run the numbers, but I strongly suspect that my planned itinerary is considerably less risky than trying to cycle through the centre of your average British (or Canadian) city every day! I promise I will be careful though…

And finally, a couple of quick FAQs about the web site itself:

Q: Is it going to cost me to subscribe to the email updates?

A: No.

Q: Am I going to get eternally spammed if I give you my email address?

A: No. If you’re still concerned though, please take a look at the WordPress privacy policy at http://automattic.com/privacy/

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Responses

  1. Hi Tana

    Just a quick note to wish you all the best and to keep them legs turning despite the heart not seeming to be beating.

  2. So now it really starts! Many congratulations and see you in a couple of weeks.

  3. Dearest Silver, I can’t believe you’re off! I’m so excited for you and will be following your journey veeery closely!

    To not give undue attention to our Austrian collegues (!), would you mind changing the website link to SOS Children to http://www.soschildren.org instead? That’s the UK one!

    We’ll miss you! x

  4. Chère Silver,

    Tu nous manques déjà !!!

    Bonne chance, bonne route et à bientôt sur le net !!!

    Nous pensons bien fort à toi et serons heureux de suivre ton voyage.

    Bises,

    I + H

  5. Are you planning to become a lumberjack? 😉

    Say ‘woof’ to the wolves for me and ‘grr’ to the Toronto vampires.
    xxx

  6. You did pack the anti-bear repellent, didn’t you?!
    Good to hear that you made it (yes a little late but you know what my life’s like- total madness). Oh and note to self, extrem mushroom picking, that’s one to sign up on.
    E
    xxxx

    • You *want* to go and hang off cliffs in search of mushrooms?! This is certainly side of you I never knew existed…!
      Lovely to hear from you anyway: good to know you’ve finally caught up with me!

      • Well you know me:)
        Good to hear from you and yup duly signed up to keep on following your journey. Hey just cause you are well a tiny little way a way, doesn’t mean you will be forgotton.
        BTW- really nice writing style. You ought to think about a future writing career
        xx
        E

  7. Silver – Volunteering across Canada now that is something we are incredibly interested in! Would love to chat with you about your journey!!!!

  8. Hi Silver, just wanted to drop in to tell you how awesome you are (again!), how much I’m enjoying reading your blog and how much I miss you. I’m so proud of you for making this incredible journey, but I also can’t wait until it’s over so that I can come and visit you wherever you end up living! 😉

    *Hugs* take care dear, can’t wait for your next post!

    Alix
    xxx

  9. Great to hear read your story. I will keep checkining in on you. Best of luck and you will be the topic of fire side conversation in Ohio.

    • Hi Michael,
      Thanks for stopping by, and glad you’re enjoying the story! A topic of conversation in Ohio, eh? Makes me feel kinda famous 😉 If you’d like to go for the pain-free way of checking in on me, have a look down the right-hand side of the web page: if you type your email address into the little box there, click on the button, then click on the link in the just-checking-that-you’re-a-real-person email that the web site will send you (it will take you to a web page, but you don’t need to do/click on anything on that page), you’ll then get an automatic email each time I update the site, so you’ll always know if there’s something new to read!

  10. Hi !!
    Just thought I get in touch as it’s been a while. Mainly as Steve and I were on holidays, and secondly as we are mad enough to try to sell our place – and you know what that is like.
    No we are not packing up yet to move away, other than to a bigger place as the intermediate step until we are ready to realise plans (that is if we can afford a bigger place- yes the joys of real estate etc). Otherwise, I will meet the girls Friday and will say hi from you of course. they are all well and busy as normal. J has joined the home owner game (you should hear the stories- the word survey comes to mind!!!) Still, the girls decided that it’s time for birthday “celebrations” well in my case- “help me forget all about it” is more to the point. Yup the day happened as Steve and I were on holidays but the girls are insisting. (Ha, you know how they are like 🙂 ). Otherwise, all is the same madness here, workwise etc.

    So anyhow, enough on the updates from me/ us here.

    I am glad to read that you are well and enjoying your journey!! The pictures are amazing and you know of course this means that one day I just have to visit you!! (Consider yourself warned hihih). Seriously though, I really thing you are awesome! Keep on enjoying your journey, and know that we all miss you!

    Take care, till next time
    E
    x

  11. Couldn’t agree more re. wind vs. rain. Give me rain anyday (and that was only between Cottenham & Cambs!).

    It certainly sounds as if you’re having plenty of amazing exepriences out there!

  12. Hi Tana, read about you in Island Tides, cool journey,
    did you mean you actually grew up in an sos village?

    I just did 13000 amazing kms by bike across europe during past two years plus some hitchhiking, ferryriding and by train, now back on Lasqueti Island, BC, we have some woofing hosts there as well, great island community completely off the grid, in the middle of the strait of georgia just 70 km west of vancouver, no car ferry, no cops, a bit eccentric as you might imagine. good place to learn about alternative power generation and living 21st century style….

    I was thinking i should tell you about a great resource for travellers like yourself. Have myself been member of this organisation since 2006. It’s free and opens up many avenues of cultural exchange.
    http://couchsurfing.org/birchbarkbobananda
    there are 2.4 Million members worldwide offering each other free accommodations. You can create a profile about yourself as detailed as you want with pictures and all, and find like minded folks who would love to host you anywhere. It works like hitch hiking on the “pay-it-forward-principle”. So enjoy your winter down south and try couchsurfing.

    Best of luck, happy trails
    bbb

    • Hi There! Welcome to my blog! Thanks for your interest 🙂 I didn’t actually grow up in an SOS Village myself: I was (and still am!) incredibly fortunate to have very loving parents and a secure upbringing, and so I’m just doing all I can to make sure that other kids around the world get the same positive start in life that I had.
      I did hope to visit Lasqueti when I was coming down the big island, but alas, time just doesn’t allow me to visit all of the fascinating places I’d love to experience, as I’m sure you’ll know from your own fantastic-sounding travels! Maybe next time I’m in the area though – Lasqueti certainly sounds like a cool place…
      Thanks so much for the couch-surfing tip as well! I may very well make use of your suggestion to fill in a few ‘gaps’ in my route!
      Happy trails to you too,
      Silver

  13. I am in Grand Forks where you plan to be in April, When will you be leaving the Fraser valley? – there can be snow in the mountain passes in March and April!

    Murray

    • Hello Murray! Thanks for visiting my blog, and for the weather tips. My route has very much been planned with the weather in mind, so hopefully I won’t be having to tackle any of the passes when they’re still snowy… Hope to see you in Grand Forks!

  14. Hi

    Firstly I’m sooooooooooooooo sorry for not being in touch sooner but I have been reading all your blogs – hope silver the goat is still doing well. Other than Ranger occasionally trying to delay your journey with the odd bit of him coming loose, you sound like you’re having an amazing time and have met some great people on your travels. – your latest adventure at Williams lake just proves that. Well done with the cross-country skiing. I’ve only been on the dry-slope variety but would love to give it a go on the real stuff and as for the pond hockey, the last time I went ice skating I clung to the side of the rink for dear life.

    I love all the pics you’ve posted – they really make me want to visit the places you’ve been to.

    btw all your cycling has inspired me. After being stuck in the shed for 17 years I dug out my (very) old bike, cleared off all the rust, got myself some new tyres and went for a little bike ride. (This made me realise 3 things – 1)the old saying is true once you learn you really do never forget, 2) I didn’t need to adjust the seat which means depressingly I must of stopped growing when I was 13 and 3) when my 7 year old nephew saw my bike he excitedly said “wow I’ve never seen one like that before” which even more depressing than the height thing must mean that my bike must be old and therefore I must be old), ok so I’ve only been on it twice since I fixed it and I doubt I’ll ever get to the ‘I think I’ll just go for a bike ride across a huge country” stage. 😉 but at least it’s a start.

    I look forward to reading your next blog, and will try to keep in touch more frequently not just once every 6 months.

    Alicia
    x

    ps I agree with E, I will have to visit you in Canada one day, maybe we could have a little ESOL reunion 😉

  15. Thanks so much for the visit today, what a fascinating story. You are indeed an ivery interesting person 🙂

    Chris Davis, Pincher Creek Echo.

    • ps I usually spell better than that

  16. Hi Tana,

    Hope your trip is going well.
    Just wondering if you’re near Lethbridge and are up for a tv interview for CTV news?

  17. hope your trip to taber goes well silver! and i hope your chain doesnt decide to act up again 🙂 its pretty incredible what your doing and i wish you the best. if your ever in lethbridge again be sure to drop by!

    • Thank you, David, and thank you for your kind donation to SOS Children’s Villages. The chain seems to be OK again now, thanks to your TLC 🙂 I will certainly give you a buzz if I’m ever back Lethbridge way!

  18. Hey Silver!

    I keep thinking something that I thought I’d share. So, all of us new-to-you Canadians know you only as the gal in the bike gear, helmet and sunglasses. It impresses me so much how you are doing this all by yourself carrying everything on Ranger, and it makes sense, it makes you recognizable too.

    My thoughts are two:

    1. I am curious to see what you like as the not biking around Canada you, and

    2. A black (and silver!!) cape would complete what I have come to think of as your Superhero Costume!

    GO SILVER!!!

    You are making the world a better place.

    THANK YOU.

    Nicole

  19. Hope your ride to Vegreville went well.
    Check out my video piece on my website: http://www.sturgeoncreek.ca
    starting tomorrow. The story will also be published in print (Page 3).

    Dave Truscott
    editor
    Sturgeon Creek Post
    (Fort Saskatchewan)

  20. Hey there, Mandy Here from Jack’s Drive-Inn Spruce Grove, Alberta. How are you doing and where abouts are you now? Lynn from the Parkland after dark Rotary Club gave me your info. We would love to follow you and make a donation as well!

    Keep trucking!

  21. Got to meet Tana this morning in North Battleford Iam a avid cyclist and we had a talk . All in support of what she has ebarked upon and wish her well in her trip . Quite a feat she has taking on

  22. Going to keep track on Tana

  23. You brave…….I love SoS…..

  24. so nice to meet you today Tana aka “tickle monsters assistant” lol, myself and all my kids enjoyed your visit today. All the best on your journey, the world needs more people like you! Lesley Kuipers, Georgetown, Ontario.

  25. Dear Tana,
    My husband and I are Canadians from Vancouver Like you we are big supporters of SO.S..We have a second home in Jamaica and one of the villages is very close to our home here so we have had the opportunity to spend time with and give support to the children at village for the past twenty plus years.
    It is wonderful what you are doing keep up the good work.
    Judy

  26. We’re getting very excited to meet you in person Silver (and Ranger too of course).

    Jennifer
    SOS Children’s Villages Canada, Ottawa

  27. Hey, Silver- Looking forward to welcoming you back to Toronto! Thank you for all that you are doing for SOS… you’re my hero.
    big hugs, Kimberly

  28. Hello Tana!
    Met you today in Truro, Nova Scotia @ Victoria Park. Really impressive you are doing this and the length of your travels, 17000 km and pedaling on!
    Take care, great blog and major props for the dedication.
    Jason

    • Hello Jason!
      Lovely to meet you too! And thank you so much for your generous support of SOS Children’s Villages 🙂
      Hope you enjoy the blog!
      Tana

  29. Hello Tana,
    Thank you, your inspiration, generousity and empathy are inspiring. I am a grade 5-6 teacher in Ottawa. My class would like to write you a letter. If that is possible, what addres could they use to reach you? Have a wonderful day, cheers!

    • Hello Jacqueline,
      Thank you so much for your support! Having been on the road full-time for the last 2 1/2 years, I genuinely don’t have an address of my own at the moment, but if you send the letter to me c/o the SOS Children’s Villages office in Canada, it will find its way to me! Their address is:
      SOS Children’s Villages Canada
      Unit 240 – 44 Byward Market Square
      Ottawa
      ON, K1N 7A2
      Thank you again, and please say hello to your students from me!

  30. […] Tana's journey, you can check out her website, complete with a map of her journey, at https://tanasilverland.wordpress.com/about or if you can help out with a place for her to stay during her journey (in her own words […]


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