Northern Magic
March 15, 2003 6:42 PM   Subscribe

Diane Stuemer, an Ottawa area entrepreneur, and her husband reevaluated their priorities in the early 90's after Diane was diagnosed with malignant melanoma and her husband had a work related accident. After her cancer went into remission, and fearful that her 3 children would grow up without remembering her, the family took the bold decision to pack up everything and circumnavigate the world. Despite having less than 4 days of sailing experience, the family took to the seas with great enthusiasm.

The Northern Magic became the Steumer's home for 4 years as they travelled around the world. During that time Diane wrote a series of weekly dispatches to the readers of her hometown's newspaper. It became a tradition in many Ottawa households to read Diane's column in the saturday paper while dreaming of the exotic locals she was writing about (a sharp contrast from Ottawa's winters).

In those 4 years, readers got to experience Herbert (the husband) become a master mechanic, Diane adapt to life afloat, and the 3 sons grow up. When the Stuemers finally arrived home in Ottawa in August of 2001 they where greeted by thousands of well-wishers.

Sadly, Ottawa residents learned early in February that Diane had been readmitted to hospital where she was fighting a very aggressive melanoma battle. Today, Diane succumbed to her illness and passed away.

During their voyage, the entire family took on several projects in the countries they visited which are still active today. What amazes me about Diane is the experiences she lived through with her children, the memories they will cherish and the lasting effect their travels will have on the people they met.
posted by smcniven (19 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by billsaysthis at 6:49 PM on March 15, 2003

[no more]
posted by planetkyoto at 6:58 PM on March 15, 2003

Don't be an ass, Bill.

Thanks for the post smcniven.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 7:00 PM on March 15, 2003

Have some respect, bill. Ditto what steve said.

Going through that site will take hours, but it looks like it will be very worth the while. Thanks for the links, smcniven.
posted by ashbury at 7:09 PM on March 15, 2003

One interesting item that I had forgotten about, but just stumbled across was the fact that the Stuemers where in Yemen when the USS Cole was attacked. They really had some experiences, from a near miss with a waterspout to dodging pirates in the Red Sea.
posted by smcniven at 7:22 PM on March 15, 2003

Awesome website. Great story. Inspirational people. Worth the time to go through.
posted by stbalbach at 8:10 PM on March 15, 2003

If I were to be diagnosed with something equally life-threatening, I can only hope that I'd have the strength of character to make what was left of my life an adventure again. Whether that will be the case or not...I dunno. Thanks for the link.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:24 PM on March 15, 2003

Wow. I feel lazy and stupid for having only hiked the Appachian Trail. I intend to walk or bike across the country, next, but now I'm thinking about an around-the-world trip after that.
posted by waldo at 8:27 PM on March 15, 2003

Waldo, if you walk across the country, expect to be questioned and searched by the police regularly. I attempted such a journey back in 1990 and decided to go hiking in Europe instead after being stopped and questioned by police six times on the first day.
posted by mosch at 8:38 PM on March 15, 2003

Waldo, you might like to read, it's a guy called Tom who walked across the US and updated his Web site along the way. Tons of useful stuff about what happens during such feats :-) Only had his stuff stolen once, which isn't too bad for several years of walking I'd say.

Not sure about Europe, mosch, lots of language and cultural barriers (course, that's meant to be part of the fun), although plenty of political barriers and anti-Americanism right now too.
posted by wackybrit at 8:57 PM on March 15, 2003

Because I move in such circles, I actually know dozens of people that have walked or bicycled across the country. The American Discovery Trail, while something that exists in concept, isn't anything but a series of roadwalks. Consequently, those who attempt to use the ADT as a route instead just look like a bum wandering along the shoulder of a road with a really huge backpack, Gore-Tex being the only notable difference between them and the homeless. A buddy of mine rollerbladed across the country, which was interesting, but I think I'd rather take the bicycling route. I imagine I'd like as far as the mid-west, bike to the Rockies, and then hike to the coast. I suspect that I wouldn't miss a whole lot by seeing Kansas at 15mph instead of 2.5mph. :)

Anyhow, a walk across the country is at least a couple years off, and a journey around the world won't happen until later in the decade. Hopefully, things will have settled down on the international scene by then.
posted by waldo at 9:57 PM on March 15, 2003

Great post -- I remember reading the first few columns in The Citizen when I lived in Ottawa; I had no idea that they continued for so long.
posted by krunk at 10:02 PM on March 15, 2003

[this isn't a commentary on the content of this post, which i haven't perused but which i'm sure is good, judging from the responses; but five freakin' paragraphs on the front page? c'mon people.]
posted by donkeyschlong at 10:12 PM on March 15, 2003

Great links smcniven, and an inspiring story - she truly seized life, and gave her children a wonderful gift in the process. I will look forward to exploring these travels in greater detail over the next few days...thanks.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:13 PM on March 15, 2003

[this isn't a commentary on the content of this post, which i haven't perused but which i'm sure is good, judging from the responses; but five freakin' paragraphs on the front page? c'mon people.]

You can bet I've got this bookmarked as Exhibit A for the defense.
posted by y2karl at 10:56 PM on March 15, 2003

Tis better to live rich than to die rich. Great post.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:05 AM on March 16, 2003

I like this. This is good.
posted by Cyrano at 4:32 AM on March 16, 2003

stopped and questioned by police six times on the first day.

Where/when was this? In general I've found in the USA the further East you go, the less tolerant to things out of the ordinary untill you get to CA where it is expected everyone be out of the ordinary lol.
posted by stbalbach at 5:49 AM on March 16, 2003

This is great. :)
posted by plep at 1:25 PM on March 16, 2003

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