Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Reader's Diary #1080- Rik Leaf: Four Homeless Millionaires

I had the please of meeting the multi-talented Rik Leaf earlier this year. Rik is a truly artistic and gifted individual. He founded Tribe of One, a collective of artists that travel the country performing and inspiring people with their fusion of indigenous and modern expression. Painting, singing, dancing, poetry, and in several languages. He's also quite adept with a flip cam and video editing software. After noting this, Debbie and I recruited him to record our Amazing Race Canada audition video.

Needless to say, despite Rik's genius, the video didn't get us on the show. However, spending the day with him, we all became fast friends. Which is why I vowed not to read his book, Four Homeless Millionaires. I told him that it would just be too awkward. What if I didn't like it? It'd be safer to just ignore it altogether. At best I told him that if I did read it, he'd never know. Really though, I'd been in this situation before and it's almost always worked out. As did Four Homeless Millionaires. I loved it. But you at least need the disclaimer that I happen to be friends with Rik.

A few years back Rik and his wife Zara decided to sell their house in Winnipeg and travel the world with their kids. Sounds crazy, right? But what a payoff. Australia, Asia, Europe. And so many wild adventures all told with Rik's infectious brand of friendly sarcasm. I've only yet met Rik, but it's impossible not to take a shine to the whole family. With their slightly inappropriate but never rude brand of humour, I personally found kindred spirits amongst the Leaf clan. Of course, sense of humour is very divisive and so I cannot say for sure everyone will like it, but I definitely dug it.

"One's Man's Coffee Break is Another Woman's Vagina" - the title of a chapter about a (un?)fortunate translation

Another favourite anecdote is about riding his bike through Kelowna (before leaving Canada). (Trust me on this.)

Still, it's not all punchlines. There's also a lot of beautiful turns of phrase and insights, tender father moments, not so tender lessons learned, and the over arching message that life's too short to waste. And they are real people. What more does one want in a travelogue?


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Rik's book sounds really appealing to me. I love a travel book that dips into the idiosyncrasies of the writer (and his family). I can completely understand your fear of reading your friend's book though.

John Mutford said...

Barbara: I remember when a certain friend of mine had similar qualms about reading a book I had chosen selections for.