Happy. Canada Day.

I’m spending Canada Day in America. It’s July 1 and I’m in the heart of Washington, DC, just a few blocks from the White House. In a few hours I’ll be at the United Nations Environment Program headquarters here to meet Executive Director Achiem Steiner to get his photo with a Porchlight bulb — and to secure a deal to work together to give UNEP a grassroots angle to their global work.

Cool, eh?

It’s an old tradition of mine to buy a new shirt and tie for big new events. This was fine when they were rare occasions. My closet would be full if I’d kept it up over the last 18 incredible months. But I figured today would qualify as a big enough deal, so yesterday I spent an hour in a shirt shop called “Pink” on Connecticut Ave with a young guy named Omar (who turned out to be from Guelph). I walked out with a nice, crisp light blue shirt and navy tie with flecks of gold. Good for the UN. Omar got a gold-trimmed metal maple leaf pin in exchange. O Canada!

As I walked back to the hotel it occurred to me how much my world has expanded over the past two years. I have a new favourite dinner spot in Chelsea, Manhattan, preferred inns and tucked-away b&bs in three provinces and two states; I’ve fallen in love (with Vermont), and I buy my dress shirts from a Canadian a few blocks from the White House. Everywhere I go, from Arizona to the Alaska Highway, people seem to dig the Simple Actions message. I’m the guy with the little light bulb campaign and a big carbon footprint. But that’s something I’ll try to reconcile later.

Today’s Canada Day, and after my UNEP meeting I’m heading home to shuck the shirt and the work for a pair of sandals and a beach with Suzy and the boys. For a month.

Because there’s nothing like being away to make you want to go home. And nothing like a global perspective to make you appreciate what’s near. Watch for reports of the fascinating comings and goings of trees and seabirds over the next few weeks. That’s travel I can handle.

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