Journalist Mark Schatzker (BA 1996 Victoria) has flown in the back of an F-18 fighter plane over Alberta during a mock air war, scoured rural Quebec for artisanal cheese and spent five days at a swinger’s convention in Las Vegas. But even the 33-year-old U of T philosophy grad was awed by his latest assignment, from Condé Nast Traveler: to circle the world in 80 days without boarding a single plane.
An intrepid traveller, Schatzker saw Siberia by rail, kayaked up Italy’s Amalfi coast and walked across the entire country of Monaco. Avoiding air travel was a logistic challenge, but it forced him, as he puts it, to “see, feel and taste the differences in the land.” While riding horseback through Mongolia, he encountered nomadic herdsmen and discussed Buddhism with a monk.
Although parts of the journey were uncomfortable, Schatzker travelled in luxury at times. He sped from New York to California in a souped-up Mercedes-Benz, visited the world-famous five-star Raffles Hotel in Beijing and arrived back in New York City, where his trip began, after crossing the Atlantic aboard the Queen Mary 2.
Now that he’s travelled around the world, does Schatzker plan to stay in one place for a while? Not on your life. “I experienced only a thin strip of it,” he says. “There’s still so much to see.”