Author Emil Tiedemann’s new travel companion, The Ultimate Alberta Bucket List: 100 Adventures to Truly Experience Alberta (2022), might be the book that inspires your next road trip. In fact, it might even make you reconsider airfares and international travel and decide that home has as much to offer as anywhere else in the world for at least the next 10 years.
Born and raised in Edmonton, the part-Indigenous Tiedemann started a blog in 2009 and called it I Heart Edmonton. He said that it always focused on the positives of the Edmonton scene-culture, art, food, activities and more, and the progression from that to Bucket List was very natural. He released his first book in 2014 and has continued to write and release since then.
“My lifelong dream as a kid was to write a book, so one day I just did it. Ever since then I’ve been putting out a few more here and there. It’s just really exciting. I love working on books it’s a passion of mine and I could do it for the rest of my life to be honest with you. Technically, (this is) my seventh book. My very first one was just a silly zombie novel, then I did an Edmonton book, some trivia books, a book about women in music, and now this one.”
To gather the ideas and locations for his new book, he said, “I did a lot of research. Online research, blogs, vlogs, newspapers, magazines, YouTube videos, and I went on social media and asked people what their favourite things to do in the province were. A little bit of everything.”
Having a graphic design background, he designed the book himself, and the layout and content are creative and inspiring even before the bucket list adventure begins.
“I did everything myself. The only thing I didn’t do was print it. Amazon has this really cool program called KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). You can send off your manuscript and they’ll put it together for you. It’s basically on call, so if anyone wants to order the book, they’ll make it right then and there and send it to the person.”
The book is formatted so that the traveller can make notes or journal entries in it to record their reflections of each experience.
“I’m a journaller myself and I thought this would be an interesting idea. There’s a lot of guidebooks out there of things to do, but I thought this would be special because it could be something that you keep with you for the rest of your life.”
Asked which of the items in the book he would like to experience first, Tiedemann replied, “You know what, this is going to sound weird, but Wood Buffalo National Park has always intrigued me. It’s the biggest national park in Canada and one of the biggest in the world. It’s such an unexplored place and I don’t know a single person who’s ever been there. I think I want to go see that more than anything.”
A few of the items on the bucket list include experiencing the ice bubbles of Abraham Lake, gazing at the stars of Jasper’s Dark Sky Preserve, spending a night in a tipi, having drinks at Wayne’s Last Chance Saloon, seeing the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village, and spotting bison at Elk Island NP. Or if you really want to go big, take an alpine helicopter tour.
Tiedemann doesn’t claim to have experienced everything on the bucket list yet, but certainly seems committed to doing exactly that. “I’ve been all over the world, but I’ve never been to Canmore, never been to Waterton.” The Ultimate Alberta Bucket List is designed to make the term, “Been there, done that,” a staple of your future conversations.
Cal Braid, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Lethbridge Herald