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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

December 19th, 2012 by Julie

xmascolinleifsanta

We’d like to raise a glass of eggnog or glühwein or wassail for you Brits, and wish you all the best for Christmas and the New Year.

This year we’re celebrating a quiet Christmas at home.  Our tree is decorated, the lights are up, and Leif even helped bake gingerbread cookies.  It snowed on the weekend and for the west coast, it’s looking pretty Christmassy.

As the year wraps up, we find ourself reflecting and realizing just how much we have to be thankful for. Angus Rowboats is thriving and Colin designed two new boats this year to add to the roster.  In addition to the rowing scull and expedition boat, which have been built not only in Canada and the US but in faraway places like Africa, Ireland, Australia and Spain, we’ll soon be offering plans for a camping rowboat and an open dory. I completed the first draft of my book Olive Odyssey based on our Mediterranean voyage researching the olive tree and we’ve begun producing the documentary - both will be out in 2013. We’ve zigzagged across Canada and the US speaking at dozens of conferences about strategies for motivation and overcoming challenges, meeting lots of incredible people along the way.  We’ve also faced challenges. Colin’s mother passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. My publisher D&M Publishing is under bankruptcy protection, delaying the publication of my book Olive Odyssey. And my family in Syria are engulfed in a deadly civil war.

Many of you know that our last expedition Olive Odyssey was supposed to end in Syria, where my family has an olive farm that inspired this journey.  The civil war prevented us from entering the country and since then the violence has escalated.  Over 40,000 people have been killed, many of them children and women.  Some of my family has left but the rest are trapped in Aleppo where the fighting is extremely intense.  My uncle, his wife and three young kids are in one of the worst hit areas.  They are struggling to survive and we just set up a fundraising campaign to help them pay for food, medicine and a safe shelter. We’re giving away our books and films to contributors, and one lucky person will get a trip in an Air Canada flight simulator with an instructor who will teach him or her and a friend to fly an airliner.  Find out about more about the campaign online.

Our Christmas picture was taken this summer in the Broken Group islands, an amazing place that should be on everyone’s bucket list regardless of age.  We hope you’ve had a year full of enchanting and fulfilling adventures and that you never run out of new ones to dream about.

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