By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Professional explorer Adam Shoalts would rather face a polar bear than a spreadsheet any day.
The acclaimed author and adventurer is living his best life journeying deep into Canada’s wild spaces.
The Fenwick, Ont. native wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love the solitude and to be able to look at an endless horizon,” Shoalts said in a recent interview from his home near Long Point. “It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is what I love.
“If I had to deal with traffic, e-mail and spreadsheets I wouldn’t like it.
“I feel sorry for those people,” he added. “Dealing with nature is a stress-free job.”
Named one of the “greatest living explorers” by Canadian Geographic, Shoalts has completed many expeditions, including crossing Canada’s Arctic in 2017.
The 4,000-kilometre canoe trip across the north took four months.
He’s led and completed many other wilderness trips, including leading expeditions for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Mountain Equipment Co-op.
Shoalts, who holds a PhD from McMaster University, said he’s been hired to look for those who are lost, finding archaeological ruins and to track down some of Canada’s rarest species.
Between trips, the 36-year-old is a professional speaker, giving talks from coast to coast. On April 9, the intrepid Shoalts will make his first trip to Chatham to speak at the Sydenham Field Naturalists’ annual spring banquet.
Shoalts plans on discussing his latest book about an expedition to Labrador. Titled ‘The Whisper on the Night Wind,’ the book details his journey and probes a long-standing legend surrounding mysterious animal tracks.
He’ll also be discussing timely environmental issues including the perils of natural resource extraction.
“Humans have an insatiable appetite for resources and the footprint is growing larger every year,” Shoalts said.
Habitat destruction, including clear-cutting trees, dam construction and mining are also on the agenda. Shoalts said raising awareness about “alarming” trends is his mission.
“In my own small way, when I speak or write a story, I try to let the people see the wilderness through my eyes,” he said.
“You can’t put a dollar figure on it. Nature is so important to our well being.”
The banquet will take place at the Everest Convention Centre (formerly Club Lentinas). Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doors open at 5:30, followed by dinner at 6 p.m.