Twenty years ago I managed to escape my life as an electrical engineer and I have been guiding ever since. My international adventures have taken me from Everest to Arabia’s empty quarter by camel, Borneo by kayak, Axel Heiberg, and the mountains of my own back yard in Kimberly BC.
My passion for photography has grown from exploration. At home I am a contributing editor to Explore Magazine a columnist for Globe and Mail and a contributor to the Canadian Geographic. I make part of my living by public speaking (www.brucekirkby.com).
In two very lucky decades of global travel, my time in the north remains undoubtedly among my most valued memories, always held close to my heart. I love it up there – it changed my life.
I am driven in my love for guiding by the reality that I am creating ambassadors for the north, which I love so dearly.
Website : www.brucekirkby.com
Bruce spent much of the summer paddling on the outer coast of Vancouver Island with his young family. This fall he wrapped up four years of writing on a new book – Kingdom of the Sky — which details the six months his family spent living in a Himalayan Buddhist monastery, and explores themes of modern distraction, ancient wisdom and autism. (tentative release date fall 2019). One the horizon for Bruce’s family is a year-long surf journey.. and the boys are already complaining about missing school?!
This winter, I will be working hard to put the finishing touches on my next book, Kingdom of the Sky (or maybe skiing instead), preparing for a difficult self-imposed assignment — one complete year of surfing each and every day (taking my family of course, since Bodi and Taj are all named after surfers.) But I yearns for the north, and am stealthily plotting a return to those rivers in the not too distant future.
Bruce lives in the tiny mountain town of Kimberley B.C. along with his wife Christine and their two young boys, Bodi and Taj. After recently returning from an ancient Buddhist monastery in the Himalaya, where the family lived amongst the monks, Bruce is hard at work writing a book about the experience. (The 100-day overland journey to get there was filmed by the Travel Channel and released as a 9 hour television series, Big Crazy Family Adventure.) In his spare time, Bruce continues to write for the Globe and Mail, enRoute, Outside and others, but dreams of returning to North, and the beautiful, simple life on the river… it won’t be long!
After a busy summer of assignments (Chile, Arctic, Bowron Lakes), Bruce and family will spend the winter in Kimberley, where Bruce pretends to write, but actually spends most of his days watching the clouds and praying for snow.
One sunny day last spring, Bruce and his wife woke their boys (Bodi 7 and Taj 3) before dawn, crammed some cereal in their mouths, popped them in a canoe, and started paddling down the Columbia River from just outside their home. It was the start of a 100-day, 22,000 km overland journey to the Himalaya… including cargo ship across the Pacific, high speed train through Korea, over Tibet by jeep, before dropping down into Nepal, and finally India. They had a few friends join them along the way – like 80 or 90 camera, sound and story producers from the Travel Channel. In June 2015, a 8 x 1hr series about the journey — Big Crazy Family Adventure — will air across the network. After 100 days of travel, the crew left the Kirkby’s behind in peace, at their new home; a Buddhist monastery perched on the side of an imposing cliff deep in the Himalaya. The four of them stayed there, living in an 8 ‘ x 8′ room, eating roasted barely, meditating, and just generally enjoying the complete lack of email/internet/TV/phone noise until the snow fell. Home again, Bruce is now is now trying to remember if the Bow is the front or back of the raft.
Going to be in Ladakh all summer with my family, living in a remote monastery, heading over May/June – back November. Very stoked for the trip, although I will miss our northern rivers!
After a few seasons off — with family and other adventures — it was great to jump back in the saddle this summer on an Alsek expedition. And I’m happy to report Northern Rivers remain my favourite place on the planet! Other summer journeys included SUP from Vancouver to Victoria in support of CPAWS Big Wild Challenge and a NYT story about the first monumental pole raising in Gwaii Hanaas for over a century. I also took my family (inc two boys, age 2 & 6, and 74 year-old Mom) on a two-week Churchill River paddle. This fall served on the Jury for the Banff Mountain Book Festival, and was recently aboard a three-person submarine that dove to 240’ for a rare view of Glass Sponges just offshore from the City of Vancouver.
After graduating from Engineering in 1990, Bruce continues to look for a job – rather unsuccessfully. To fill his days, he writes a weekly column in Globe and Mail Travel, and gets outside as often as possible, including a 10 day, 100 mile, father-and-son goat-packing trip in Utah this summer.