September 5, 2012  

Dear reader,

Well we are coming to the end of another summer and the beginning of a new fall season. I hope you enjoy this newsletter. It is more about my mountain climbing trip to Peru than Lending Journey stuff but I hope you enjoy. 


P.S.  For those who know my family well, you might remember that we played in a family band "The Vetro Brothers Band" (not so unique a name). Well, after the fundraiser (September 22nd), for those who want to stick around, The Vetro Brothers Band is reuniting (after 20 years) to play. Should be a lot of fun. It is a great cause and we would love to see as many people there as possible. We have about 60 tickets left and then we are sold out. Come out and enjoy a wonderful evening and support a great cause, Eradicating poverty through micro-finance.  Click here for more info. 


From Climbing Mount Salkantay

In January I turned 50. My good friend and Lending Journey board member Scot Steele turned 50 as well. Scot had never been to Ecuador, so we visited so he could see our wok there. The second part of our journey took us to Peru, where we celebrated our 50th birthdays by hiking the Salkantay trail to the base of Mount Salkantay, ending up five days later at Machu Picchu. Salkantay is nicknamed the savage trail... and rightly so.


For five days we walked and walked and climbed and climbed. I am not sure how many kilometers we walked each day but I think it was an average of about twenty. I thought I would never catch my breath!   


At times the pathways were wide enough to walk in two's, and many times they were so narrow you could barely walk single file. As much as I enjoyed Scot's company on the wider parts of the trail, I must say that I also enjoyed the many hours alone. While walking solo, I often pondered the many ways this journey mimicked life?"    


I would like to share just a few of these meandering thoughts with you.  


1 - The Journey of Setting Goals.  

We set out with a purpose a goal. It was to make a five day trip starting at Cusco and ending at Machu Picchu. It was exhilarating at the end to know that we had completed our goal. No matter what age or stage of life, setting goals and working towards their achievement is exhilarating.


2 - Different landscapes demand different
thought processes.

Our climbing trek seemed to have three different landscapes. The first

was climbing up-hill, the second was trekking flat plateaus and the third was plodding down ridges.    


Moving up-hill demands that you keep your head down and push forward. Their are times in life this is exactly what we need to do. It is not time to study, learn or contemplate. Ascending demands that our full attention be paid to advancing in whatever endeavor we are pursuing.   


Every so ofter we would reach a plateau. These were beautiful times to rest, catch our breath and be in awe of creation. I believe these are times of great learning, times for analysis and recalibrating. These are great opportunities to look back from where you began, reorganize and get ready for the next advance. I believe this is a time to be intentional about seeking mentorship, guidance and coaching.   


The third landscape of our hike was our decent. Many would say this is the hardest part, I found it to be less challenging and more enjoyable than the climb (although I loved both). This was the time that I took the most pictures and had the most opportunity to enjoy the scenery. Make sure at different stages along the hike, when you come to the decent that you enjoy life's views.




3 - We are lost without guides.

Our guide's name was Victor. Victor had walked the Salkantay trail many times, he knew the history of the mountain, he knew where to walk and where not to walk and most of all, because of his familiarity with the trail he always seemed to be at ease.  


Find good guides to help you on the journey!  


Ms. Diana Bishop of The Success Story has been a great guide for me in understanding how to promote The Lending Journey. Her insights have been invaluable in helping me to better communicate exactly what it is that we do. Mr. Mike Huggins of Mindwalk Marketing has helped me to better understand who we want to communicate to and what that communication should look like. Ms. Carola Jaques, our volunteer fundraiser has taught me the importance of keeping good records of phone numbers and e-mail addresses. My pastor Dr. Paul Little keeps me aware that their are greater reasons for why we do what we do that are exceedingly more important than the social justice cause.  


Each one of these people has helped to guide me on my walk through life.


4 - We all need walking aides... at some point.

The first day on Salkantay was a pretty easy climb. The trails were wide and the climb gradual. By the end of the second day (15,500 ft) we were gasping for breath as we made our ascent. The inclines became steeper and the trails narrower.  


Knee braces and walking sticks gave us stability, agility and strength.  

Don't underestimate the tools available to you to exceed and excel. Good aides can turn a wild foray through the jungle into a smooth stroll through the tulips.


5 - Life is so much more complete
when you do it with friends.

Many of you know that I grew up in a foster home. My parents took in quite a few foster children. It was quite a challenge. It was often quite difficult to explain to people the trials of growing up in a home where your parents needed to devote most of their energy to meeting the needs of the foster children.  


One of my high school teachers, Mr. Randy Zeagman became a close friend and confidant and as a friend walked with me through some pretty challenging teen years. Although we do not talk as often as I would like, he was as true a friend as ever could be.


My buddy Scot, who I began this journey on Salkantay with has been a close friend and confidant since the age of 12. There are very few of life's challenges that we haven't shared with each other. What made climbing Salkantay so great was that I did it with my close friend and bud Scot.

Salkantay was just one part of our journey in Peru. We spent another week in the Amazon (that is another story though). Many an hour was spent discussing successes and failures, providing advise on a number of different issues, listening effectively to the dreams and visions of the other and most importantly just enjoying each others company.

Invest in a few good friends!



Well these are a few of my pictures and a few of my thoughts on my walk through Salkantay. I hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did. 






Our Second Annual fundraiser is coming up soon! We are close to reaching our goal of raising $25,000.00, but we aren't there yet. Go to to purchase tickets.

Here is another way you could support us! We are still looking for corporate sponsors for the event and for people willing to donate to the silent auction.

If you are interested in either of these opportunities please call me (416-970-0120) or you can make a donation on line at

We can also accept aeroplan points to help with the cost of flights as well as with gifts for fundraisers.