PROFILE - BRUCE AND NANCY KETCHUM

THIS IS OUR MINI-BIOGRAHY - A BRIEF SUMMARY OF OUR 48 YEARS TOGETHER.


It all started in a Cairo youth hostel in January, 1964. Nancy had arrived there with a group of friends from Vancouver, via Greece, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. Bruce and a buddy had driven across North Africa through Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. When everyone went their separate ways in Cairo, we carried on together to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and on and on for the rest of our lives.

After having visited some 35 countries in Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, we returned to Montreal in May, 1965 to continue our studies at McGill and Concordia. When Bruce was offered a job as Director of Marketing Research with Scott Paper in 1969, we moved to Vancouver, Nancy's hometown (Bruce is from the Ottawa Valley). Our time in Montreal was some of the most exciting years of our lives, especially the Expo '67 experience. Nancy even managed to get a summer job as a hostess at the Western Canada pavilion. And, oh yes, we finally got married (as a Centennial project) on July 1, 1967.

After 3 years of doing the "career thing" in Vancouver, we bought a VW van and spent 7 months motoring our way as far as Costa Rica via the Mexican Yucatan, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

On our arrival back in Vancouver, Bruce was asked to join the faculty at Selkirk College in the West Kootenay, a stunningly beautiful region in south-east BC. Nancy obtained a position shortly afterwards and so began our 25 year stints as college profs. Bruce taught Organizational Behaviour and International Marketing and also served as Dept. Head while Nancy founded, taught and headed the Social Service Worker Program.

After 6 years full-time, we took a sabbatical and returned to Montreal for more post-grad work. Following that, we negotiated part-time contracts with the College and for our final 15 years at Selkirk we worked Jan. to June (0ne semester) and then "followed our bliss" for the other 7 months each year.

In the beginning, we spent much of that time at our secluded cabin on the west side of Slocan Lake (Valhalla Wilderness) where we built our own hydroelectric system, using Nemo Creek, the north boundary of our property as our source.

But in 1983 we bought our Seabird 37 (which we named "Domaris"), a raised-pilot-house sloop in which we circumnavigated Vancouver Island, sailed to Alaska and spent an entire summer exploring the Queen Charlottes, during 6 seasons of June to October cruising.

Having decided not to go offshore with"Domaris", we instead bought a motorhome, specially retrofitted it, drove it to Montreal and shipped it to Antwerp, flew to Amsterdam with our dog and began a 3-year love affair with France. In each of those 3 years, we travelled throughout France for 4-6 months and then returned to our jobs, storing the motorhome in Holland during our absence. During this period, we also did three home exchanges - two in France and one in the UK.

In danger of being completely "seduced" by France, we opted to focus on our beloved Canada, shipping the motorhome back to Halifax, replacing it with a larger travel trailer and vagabonding exstensively from coast to coast to coast during the nineties. In the midst of the constitutional crisis in 1992, we spent 4 months campaigning across the country for national unity under the banner "Our Canada Includes Quebec". We managed to arrange private meetings with each of the 10 Premiers as we reached their provincial capitals and were part of a Canada Day television special on Parliament Hill.

As avid cyclists, we had cycled extensively while in France, including many hours on the streets of Paris, and in 1995, we decided to cycle across Canada (with our dog). The first year, we pedaled from BC to Ottawa, 4300 kms in 8 weeks. In '96, it was Vancouver to Coos Bay, Oregon and in '97 we drove to Ottawa with our trailer and completed the cross-Canada trip by cycling from Ottawa to Halifax (an additonal 3 weeks and 1600 kms).

It was in 1998 that we fully retired and moved back to the Lower Mainland, where we take full advantage of its benefits - the Opera, the Symphony, the Recital Society, the Canucks, the restaurants and much community involvement, such as the founding of the White Rock Farmers' Market. 

In late 2003, to celebrate 40 years of being together, we returned to Cairo where we first met, touring extensively by car through the Western Desert and Sinai as well as spending 3 weeks inside Occupied Palestine, getting a first-hand look at the volatile situation. More recently, we have been spending a great deal of time at our new cabin, south-east of Merritt. Our two Bearded Collies, Mac and Fergus, love it there. In Sept/Oct of 2006 we travelled extensively in China and Tibet, including the new high altitude (5000 metres) railway through the Tibetan Plateau and the Wolong Panda Sanctuary in Sichuan province.

Starting in 2008, we began planning for a year-long trip that would involve travelling by road from Vancouver to West Africa (accompanied by our two Bearded Collies) in a Toyota van, which we specially equiped for such a venture. We departed in the fall of 2009, driving to Montreal, shipping the van from there to Rotterdam, flying over with our dogs to pick up the van and continung wth it across Europe, then by ferry across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco and on to Western Sahara, Mauritania, and Senegal. After four months, we returned to Europe where we rented a house in France for several months then re-visited sites in Eastern Europe first seen in 1963. During the period we were away, Bruce had to fly back to Vancouver six times from such places as Casablanca and Dakar to receive regular treatment for Macular Degeneration for which he was unexpectedly diagnosed only three weeks before our scheduled departure.

We returned home in late summer of 2010 to re-occupy our house, which we had rented during our 12 month absence. Since then we have been busy with many projects. Most of 2012 was occupied with rebuilding the interior of our home as a result of devastating water damage caused by a plumbing failure. We are now happily living in an extensively remodelled house. Come and visit!