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78-year-old Saanich globetrotter inspired to give back at home

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Don Munroe is in the midst of a journey that’s led him around the world. It began when he was a Tom Sawyer-type kid, looking for adventure that often led to trouble.

“I was always looking for excitement,” Don says. “Excitement that sometimes required stealing cars.”

Eventually Don was forced to refocus his relentless energy towards a productive pursuit, and found sports.

“Instead of just being by myself,” Don says. “I had to consider the team [and] working together.”

Don says he excelled at athletics, was fuelled by the competition and became a professional lacrosse player.

But then he met a young woman who’d travelled around the globe.

“Hearing [her] stories, I felt like I was missing out,” Don recalls. “I hate to miss out.”

So Don decided to take on the world and give up everything he had accomplished.

“That was the toughest part,” Don says. “Leave that type of security with friends and just go off on your own.”

Don says he began his world travels by hitchhiking across Canada, before spending years doing the same in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. All solo.

“It felt good that I had accomplished something that other people hadn’t done,” Don says.

During the following decades, Don regularly took extended leaves from work to canoe across Canada, and pursue his goal of travelling to as many countries as he can on every continent.

It inspired him to write his recently published memoir, Most Adventures Wins?

“I feel like I’m a citizen of the world now,” Don says.

After experiencing both good and bad around the world, Don felt compelled to make things better back home.

“And combine adventure with giving back to society,” Don smiles.

Don says he’s volunteered with various community groups, including 27 years being “instrumental” in organizing a rigorous annual canoe relay that’s raised almost $300,000 to send kids with disabilities to camp.

“It made me feel good,” Don says. “And inspired me to keep going.”

The now 78-year-old says his volunteer work also felt like a way to redeem the mistakes of his wayward youth.

Because Don’s learned that no matter where you are on your journey, you always have a choice with how it will unfold.

“Life has a lot to offer. We only go around once,” Don says. “You got to make the best of it.”

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