Vivien Lougheed

Vivien Lougheed

Vivien Lougheed, intrepid traveler, told the CBC that like Virginia Wolfe, the world was her country, but then she added that Prince George was her home. She came to Prince George in 1970 and has used it as a base from which to travel ever since.

Born in Winnipeg in 1943 Vivien believes she received her gypsy like desire to roam from her Romanian father's ancestors. But it was her Polish grandparents, who raised her during the first eight years of her life, who gave her a sense of adventure. Her grandfather bought her a bike when she was nine and the traveling started, first around the neighborhood, then around the city and soon around the countryside. By the time she was 18, she had ventured to the Rockies and knew she would always be near mountains, no matter where she was.

Vivien's first claim to fame was through Central America by Chickenbus; the term chickenbus is now a commonly used word amongst travelers using local transportation. Since Chickenbus she has written the Kluane National Park Hiking Guide, From the Chilcotin to the Chilkoot, (selected hikes of northern BC), Adventure Guides to Bolivia, Belize, Western Mexico and Cuba plus condensed guides to Bolivia, Belize, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. With her husband John Harris, she co-wrote Tungsten John, and co-edited Diary of a Lake. Her only adventure travel book is Forbidden Mountains, a page turner about her illegal trip through Tibet.

The Prince George reading public first came upon Vivien in the pages of the Citizen. All of a sudden, in April, 1991, articles about far-away places began to appear. These were not the usual syndicated items about cruise ship holidays and booked tours, with picturesque photos of famous monuments like the pyramids, Taj Mahal and Maccu Piccu. These were serialized stories of trips into the unknown, decorated with photos of hungry Ethiopian kids, the smoky insides of Tibetan monasteries, and Andean ruins, the wares displayed by Bolivian and Sudanese street merchants although, often these photos were back dropped with mountains.

Prince George saw itself too in these photos. The articles featured a number of stalwart companions, some from her decade as a hospital chemist (1974-1981), her decade as a child and youth-care worker (1981-1991), and the latest decade as a guidebook writer.

But Vivien is a storyteller and guides contain anecdotes at most. Now her readers must look in magazines like Above and Beyond, Geist, Grit, Room of One's Own, and Up Here. Readers will notice a recent drift into fiction - usually with a foreign setting.

Appearances in Reflections on Water