I am originally from Montréal, and still feel that Québec will always be my first home. However, I left home at 17 to participate in Katimavik, Canada’s community service youth program. As a result of that adventure, I lived in many of Canada’s provinces across a 20 year span before moving to Marsh Lake, a small community about an hour south of Whitehorse in the Yukon in 1991. After 6 years there, I moved to Whitehorse which has been my home-base since. I am a happy northerner who loves the winter, but who often spends time ‘outside’ for work and to experience different places and adventures.
My lifelong love affair with ‘the North’ began at our family kitchen table when I was a child. My father, Ken de la Barre, was the Director of the Arctic Institute of North America (AINA) for much of my childhood. Through his work and passion for the Arctic, and because my mother loved to cook and entertain, we shared food with many guests from across the circumpolar world and were involved in discussions that shaped my interests and what I care about. It also involved spending a few summers on the shores of Kluane Lake at the AINA Research Station Base Camp in the Yukon.
Prior to undertaking my PhD, I worked in community development in (Yukon Government) (2008-2010), and internationally with World University Service of Canada (WUSC), in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Benin, Kenya and Pakistan (1997-2001). For many years I lived and worked seasonally in wilderness bush-camps in Ontario, British Columbia and Yukon, where I earned the reputation as a not-so-great tree planter, and a kick-ass cook committed to filling the bottomless pit stomachs of hungry planters or mineral exploration workers (12 seasons, during 1981-1996). I succumbed to the entrepreneurial bug during 1992-1996 and launched my own publishing company Hit the Road Press. SHE travels was an arts, culture and travel magazine published three times a year and circulated to bookstores across Canada through the Canadian Magazine and Publishers Association. At the time, I lived an hour south of Whitehorse in a log cabin with no running water, a wood stove and no back up heat. I did, however, have electricity.