A TWIT’s Life: Outside the Office

This month’s post will take a break from the technical, as we launch a new feature on twitblog:  “Life Outside the Office”. Hopefully you will get to know something you didn’t, about the people that bring you 1s and 0s



Hi! I’m Dan Burnett. I’ve been working at TWU for 4 years in I.T. My role is to make sure that Students, Staff, and Faculty are getting serviced with their I.T. needs, quickly and happily.

Outside the office, I am happily married to my wife Abigail. Together we have 3 kids under the age of 3! We have a 2-bedroom townhouse in Langley. Yes, 5 of us live in 2 bedrooms. Our house is full, and our life is active.

I’ve always had a desire within me to stay active, especially to be outside and to experience different outdoor elements of God’s creation. It’s a passion deep inside of me and a normal part of my life. From backpacking to rafting, to 4x4ing, to casual walks in the neighborhood. From sunshine to knee deep snow, to pouring rain, I will take it all. I’ve always been attracted to the great outdoors.

I’m not an athlete or into competitive sports, and I’m not an adrenaline junkie. I am into exploring new areas, especially locally, and I seek experiences that allow quality time for everyone with me.

I still try to explore and tackle bigger adventures with my adult friends, when we can carve out time from our busy lives. These occasions are certainly less than when we were in our 20s.

Since having young kids, I stopped getting out as much as I used to. Quality outdoor time now comes at a premium in short quick bites. I take opportunities as they come and get outside with my kids, where we dig in the dirt or walk to get the mail or wash the car. But, sometimes I’m just too tired from our indoor responsibilities to get outside.

Since moving to an office job (from retail, and before that, mechanic work) I find myself sitting most of my day in contrast to mainly being on my feet in my other jobs.  It has, at times, been a struggle to stay active with a desk job. This, along with poor posture, has also caused me some back issues and even migraines.

I’ve recently transitioned to a stand-up desk which really improved my daily experience. However, the desk itself was not the cure to my issues, it needed to be coupled with stretches, and some professional help. I realized that with my current lifestyle, it takes effort, scheduling and compromise to get the exercise I need and crave.

Last year I started biking to work. From our home in the Yorkson neighborhood it’s only an 8 km ride. I can drive it in 10 minutes, bike it in 30. Not bad.  Sometimes it can be difficult though, to want to ride home after a long day.

The gear required to ride in hot and cold and wet intimidated me. And I wasn’t sure I was prepared to go through the motions of changing my clothes and being ready to start a day of customer service.

All considered, I honestly enjoy riding to and from work. It can be quality “Dan time” that I don’t get at home as much. However, I was surprised by two things when biking to work:

  1. The noise of riding. Sure, cars and trucks whizzing by can be loud, but the wind howling by is even louder.
  2. I am tired when I get home.

It feels good to ride, and I sleep great, but 3 young ones take energy too! I haven’t ridden as often since our third was born. The extra 30+30 minutes are much more valuable to my wife when I can be home to help out.

Another thing I do to stay active is running. Some days I convince myself to get up before the kids are awake and run, just walk or a little bit of both. I enjoy that time of the day, as it’s still quiet in the neighborhood. Again, quality “Dan time.”

Walking or hiking has always been an enjoyable thing for me. My wife and I like to walk the neighborhood and talk and connect. It’s been important for us to have a good baby carrier or stroller to take the kids with us.

We have a few park locations that we frequent with the family:

  • Munch Bar is just out by Derby Reach area we like to take the kids to, it’s an easy walk.
  • Shoreline Park, across the river in Maple Ridge, connects to a large network of trails.
  • Kanaka Creek, also in Maple Ridge, has some steep sections and cool water features.

I did a ton more hiking when I was in my 20s. I used to do much more major trips like the Lions or Black Tusk, and I’ve even climbed Mt. Kenya (but not summited). Now I do more shorter bite size hikes. Most recently I’ve enjoyed:

  • Widgeon Falls off Pitt Lake. This trek combines paddling and hiking, in total about a 5-hour trip.
  • UBC research Forest in Maple Ridge has lots of different trails to check out. Its right beside Golden Ears National Park, so you know it’s a great area.
  • Woodland Falls in Pinecone Burke Provincial Park is a popular area for downhill biking as well.

You usually need more equipment to take on water sports, and I’m not much of a swimmer. So, I haven’t done a lot on the water. I’ve rafted the Thompson, Chilliwack and Kettle rivers. The later, you only need a rubber dinghy in the summertime and you’ve got yourself a slow and lazy afternoon float.

I’ve paddled the Fraser and the Nicomekl a handful of times and I’ve been on many of the local lakes in a canoe. Probably my most epic trip in a canoe I’ve done was the Deer Group Islands. This group of islands is in open ocean right next to the heavily governed Broken Islands. Basically, it’s the poor man’s adventure, since you don’t have to pay to camp in the Deer Group. 🙂

I could go on with more stories of crazy adventures in camping and 4x4ing and getting stuck. Maybe a part 2 someday… Hopefully you have enjoyed learning something new about me and now you have a taste of a few of the ways I enjoy being active. There’s just something about being active, exploring new territory and then slowing down to enjoy the moment either by yourself or with friends and family.

I look forward to sharing the bigger adventures with my family as they grow and become more confident on their feet. 🙂 I hope to instill a deep love for God’s creation in my kids. We are truly blessed to have easy access to such wonderful country. I think it’s safe to say that my family’s vacations will all be outdoors!




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