Finding the humour in life

Travel writer Matt Jackson's new book, Moose on the Loose, gets great review.

Travel writer-editor Matt Jackson readily admits that he is driven by wanderlust. Back in 1997 Jackson quit his job, walked to the side of the Trans-Canada Highway near Lake Louise, Alberta and began a four-year trip of a lifetime. Over the course of those four years he thumbed rides, spoke to people and, as he puts it, learned about the generosity of Canadians. The end result was his first book entitled The Canada Chronicles. He has since co-written and/or edited six other travel anthologies.

Moose On The Loose is Jackson’s newest book. Written and edited similarly to his other books, Moose On The Loose is a collection of 26 humorous stories, not without a generous helping of self-deprecation that will make you chuckle, laugh out loud and cringe, especially when you find yourself identifying with the situations and people who openly admit to their own shortcomings, as well as, moments of brilliance, while relating both their adventures and misadventures.

In his forward, Jackson writes that travel brings with it extraordinary moments – from the whimsical to the hilarious, to the downright absurd. He also points out that if there is one truth to be gleaned from the stories in the book, it is that while outlandish and unpredictable things can happen on the road less travelled, there is no such thing as a bad story.

Join Sylvia Shawcross and her family on a cross-Canada road trip with a giant moose head strapped to the roof of the family’s van. Read about the chicanery of cyclist Brent Curry as he attempts to outwit a con artist posing as a devout church reverend. Help save a drowning monkey and then discover why having a monkey as a sailboat crew member has its drawbacks. Sit on the hot seat with B. A. Markus after she inadvertently sets fire to a Gulf Islands home she agreed to house sit.

In Moose On The Loose, more often than not, what can go wrong does go wrong. Travelling with Jackson and his 26 cohorts is not for the timid or faint-of-heart, but, as Jackson likes to point out, “sometimes you need to see how bad things can get before you see how good they really are.”

Jackson is a pretty interesting fellow. He is a graduate of Wilfred Laurier University, who was lured away from the corporate world by the thrill of adventure journalism. When not editing his humorous travel books, he is busy as a magazine writer, photojournalist and guest speaker.

Jackson will be at Bookingham Palace Bookstore this coming Friday, Nov. 22, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to chat with people and sign copies of his books. I know I’ll be there.

While talking to him on the phone the other day, Jackson said that “as an editor of humorous travel anthologies, you’d think that I’d read just about every situation possible, but people’s stories never cease to surprise me – they still manage to catch me off-guard. That’s the best part about editing these kinds of books.”

Jackson’s other titles include Mugged By A Moose, I Sold My Gold Tooth For Gas Money, Never Trust A Smiling Bear, A Beaver Is Eating My Canoe and A Bear Stole My Fishing Boat.

I must say that I enjoyed reading Moose On The Loose, not to mention all of Jackson’s other books. I have certainly found myself laughing out loud plenty of times. I even cringed a couple of times. I think I may have even chortled and snickered a few times. I also felt inspired to try and find the humour in life. After all, isn’t that what gets us through many of life’s dilemmas.