My name is Darcy Alexander Shillingford, a 29 year old Canadian, born in Edmonton, raised in Winnipeg, living in Toronto.

I decided to backpack through Southeast Asia for half of 2013. I left in May and returned in November, a very different man from the one who departed six months prior. But I was still figuring out what I wanted to do with my life after having graduated the year before.

For no other reason than pure desire, I decided to venture into novel length science fiction writing. A space opera, to be precise. A bold, worlds-spanning epic with the lives of entire cultures at stake. It’s a lot of fun to read and it was a lot of fun to write. But between writing, editing, and publishing attempts, it was a long and drawn out process, one I didn’t go into with rounded consideration for, particularly the latter portion of it.

While in the midst of seeking representation for myself and the 130,000 word piece I’d created, I also began this blog as my extensive travels remained in the forefront of my mind. I enjoyed my attempt to write science fiction for the same reason I continue to enjoy reading it to this day; I can escape into infinite worlds of wonder and imagination, of adventure and excitement, envisioning it how I choose and adding as much boisterous scale as my mind can fathom. But the feeling I get from re-immersing myself in my past travels, looking at them from new angles, and planning a wide variety of real world future journeys is incomparable to anything I’ve experienced.

I love sharing these adventures with anyone who can take something from them, whether it’s insight into another culture, ideas for your own upcoming travels, or simply a chance to get away for a moment and plunge into a different kind of world, one that’s not so easy to make it out to on a regular basis.

I’m currently not writing science fiction, and who knows, one day I might take the time to go back to it with many new perspectives and ideas in mind. But this is still The Traveling Space Opera. I approach travel literature with the same enthusiasm that drew me to sci-fi in the first place, and I get to live what I share with you, too. To me, there’s nothing more world-spanning and epic than that. I invite each and every one of you to share in these experiences with me!

I’m always on the go, whether travelling across Canada or abroad, and am always generating ideas and content. I’ll be backpacking through The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden in April of 2016, as well as undertaking a month-long Canadian road trip in the summer of 2016. Plans are underway to visit Southern Africa for late 2016/early 2017. For any serious business inquiries, I can be contacted at darcy_shillingford@hotmail.com. My first published article, a full spread titled Unforgettable Philippines appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press on Saturday, January 30th of 2016.

On a side note, every picture I post on this blog was taken by either myself or my girlfriend Teresa, unless otherwise stated. I don’t filter or edit any photos with the exception of the occasional resizing to allow for uniform feature images. Re-blogging posts is absolutely fine, but if you wish to take specific images and repost them elsewhere, I would appreciate a polite request!

Cheers, and welcome to The Traveling Space Opera!


102 thoughts on “About

  1. I look forward to exploring your blog. I must admit I haven’t read much lately, but I used to love sci fi, and also science fantasy – Dune, Heinlein, Vonnegut, Wyndham, etc many I’ve forgotten. But the travel part – that’s front and centre in my life as you know. We learn so much from travelling.
    Thanks so much for following our blog. i hope you enjoy the stories of our journey, both inner and outer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great insights; was not sure what to expect when I landed on your page as I do not do sci-fi (that’s my hubby’ s thing) . Travel and writing on the other hand…really move me; so I look forward to reading about you wandering ways. Thanks for visiting my page!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the kind comments. It’s certainly a difficult industry to break into and one that guarantees little to no financial success…but that latter reason is no reason at all to even be trying. I LOVE sci-fi and would just like to share something that I would enjoy reading as well. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “Getting my thoughts out on paper has always been a smoother, more articulate process for me when compared to oral speech”

    I can totally relate.

    I was blown away by the beauty of your blog, and now to find out that you’re a fellow sf writer is even better. I’m reading “The Story Grid” at the moment, ever in pursuit of knowledge, but never willing to read as much fiction as I need to. I’m glad to hear that you’ve been a serious sf reader all your life. That’s the key element, I’m pretty sure. So far, “The Story Grid” is the most informative book on fiction writing that I’ve read. (I’ve read over 50 books on fiction writing.) It’s written by a guy who was an editor for about 25 years, some of that time spent in a major publishing house in NY. He has a science background, which gives him the tendency to step back objectively and think logically about the big picture.

    Best of luck to you in your writing career. You’re probably better and more talented than I am, but if I can be of assistance to you, just let me know. I’ve turned off my comments to free up time for writing, but you can reach me at cytopathology (at) gmail (dot) com. By the way, I don’t have anything I’m trying to sell. Not even a first novel, though I’m forever re-writing it.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I really appreciate the thought you’ve put in to your comment. I’ve been very tied up lately with just writing posts for this blog, working, planning for an upcoming trip, freelance writing, and so on and so on. I need to update this about page, and a few other visual aspects of my blog very soon. Deciding if I’m going to do it before or after I leave for the Philippines in a month. Either way, the sci-fi writing has been put to the side for now. The reading has definitely not stopped, though, and I need to update my must reads section. Recently finished Alistair Reynolds’ Redemption Ark and Iain M. Banks’ Against a Dark Background. Right now, I’ve just begun Stephen King’s It. Thanks for dropping the email, and keep at what you’re doing, your talent will always shine through.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Darcy – I am a friend of your aunt Rosemarie’s, and have travelled to some of the places you’ve blogged about (Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Peru) – as well as Myanmar, Guatemala, Mexico, Norway, Japan – and now am shortly off to Spain. I am enjoying your posts – especially the Cusco one – such an amazing city (and country), and wished we had spent more time there; hope to return. If you do go back to Peru, check out the Chachapoyas area in the north; you won’t be disappointed. I absolutely loved the beautiful potato and corn fields at 12000 feet elevation; plus the Kuelap fortress site is pretty amazing (both my husband and I are archaeologists; he is now retired). Anyhow, I was mentioned to Rosemarie another travel blog I am following (Young Adventuress), which has a posting titled something like “So You Want To Be a Travel Blogger”, and RM thought you might be interested in it – here is the link: http://youngadventuress.com/2014/05/make-money-travel-blogging.html


    • Hi Sheila,

      Thank you for visiting my blog. I think how much and how expansive your travels are/have been is absolutely amazing. I’ve been fairly inactive on my blog for the past month or so, but that’s about to change drastically in the coming 2 weeks. I’m currently in the Philippines right now, on the island Palawan, near a fairly remote town called Poblacion in the San Vicente region. It won’t be remote for long as a new airport is in construction here which will include direct flights from Australia. My girlfriend Teresa and I feel very privileged to be here when we are; we’re essentially some of the only travelers here and it is mostly untouched. A 2 minute walk from our guesthouse takes us to kilometres of expansive beach called “Long Beach” and crystal clear waters with absolutely no one in them. After trekking North in Luzon, followed by island hopping in the Visayas, we plan to spend the majority of our remaining time here. Looking forward to checking out that blog you mentioned, thanks for stopping by! I’ll have plenty more articles up in no time πŸ™‚


  5. Hello Darcy,

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and so nice to find your travel stories πŸ™‚

    Hope your book gets published soon and dreams fulfilled πŸ™‚

    Let me accompany you in your journeys …

    Have a great time πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Liebster Award | The Jaguar

  7. I admire your ability to explore and travel. It isn’t for everyone. We have enjoyed some very interesting places and people in the places we’ve gone. A most recent one was to Cuba in October. We don’t get around nearly as much as you.

    One thing I notice about people, no matter where I meet them, they are really quite the same. They want a peaceful place to live, work, and nurture their loved ones. They want to be treated fairly. Is that your experience?

    Thanks for your recent visits to my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You certainly have great stories to tell after travelling to so many places, and good luck with the novel. I know it is quite a hard process to get published, a lot of fishes in that sea. But if you persist and persist IΒ΄m sure youΒ΄ll make it sooner or later. Glad to meet you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the name of your blog and its concept and look forward to taking a closer look. Oh definitely post your first story from when your were nine. I used to read a lot af science fiction as young. Good luck with novel and finding publisher; patience and perseverance I guess. Enjoy your travels around the globe. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Darcy, I wanted to pop over here to thank you for stopping by my blog and liking a couple of my posts, I really appreciate it!! By the sounds of it you’ve lived a pretty exciting life with travels and such and I’m anxious to read your posts. ~Steph

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely have but I have a lot in the works right now in terms of a travel writing career…the novel has been pushed to the side at this time in my life. Will be updating that part of this “About” section very soon…the name stays the same though! πŸ™‚ thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha thanks a lot! And you’re right, I’ve travelled all over the world and rarely meet fellow Canadian travellers. It’s always exciting to run into someone from our country, I think most of us have an excellent mentality when it comes to foreign travel. Thanks for stopping by and hope you enjoy what you find! πŸ™‚


  11. I love all this, Darcy! A few months ago I had an inspiration on the topic of archetypes. I think that’s where a lot of the animal headed deities come from – constructed archetypal roles used by the higher self to affect earthly change from an alternate dimension. I’m looking forward to seeing your book. AND CONGRATULATIONS on your first published article! in lak’ech, Debra

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Fascinating! You were very brave to take on such an interesting back packing adventure. Good for you. I’ve loved my travels, which included a few exotic places. But I was employed at the time and before blogging became popular. I’m sad I have very few pictures….but great memories of the people and their culture. I look forward to exploring your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great to meet you Darcy, and congratulations on discovering your passions early in life and for following your dreams. It makes life a whole lot more interesting! I think your generation in general has the right attitude about living life soul-fully. Thanks for visiting and following my blog. Beverley (also Canadian)

    Liked by 1 person

    • My pleasure Beverley, thanks for stopping by my blog πŸ™‚ I’ve come to a point where I’ve decided I’m going to do what I want when I am able to, not wait till I’m older or “some other time”. I have no clue if today will be my last day on Earth. I’m doing what I want NOW!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hey Darcy, great to meet you. Love your bio page and what you’re doing with your life. Writing sci fi and travelling seems like a perfect fit. I look forward to getting to know you more through your blog. Cheers from Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hiya Darcy > Cheers for dropping by my blog earlier. You sure have a nice space over here. I also travel-write though have had a burning desire to write fiction for years. Looking forward to looking around your blog. Take it easy bro

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh my english ist not good at all but I try to write. Thanks for visiting my blog. You traveling in south Asia. I was 1964/1965 15 month like a hitch hiker on a trip to israel, turky up to iran, pakistan, india nepal and back over afghanistan-iran-irak-syrien back to switzerland. I will read in your blog…
    Herzliche GrΓΌsse Ernst

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Darcy,
    nice blog here, I am able to “see” the world through this platform, am looking forward to more adventures that you will be going.

    And Thank you for dropping by my blog ^.<

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hello Darcy! Thank you for liking my post. It’s the likes that keeps me going.
    I look forward to reading your blog in detail. All the best for your career as a novelist!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thanks for stopping by The Long Way Home! I love the unusual preamble for your blog’s concept and look forward to having a read… although I must admit I’ve only recently got into Star Wars so I’m a bit of a Sci-fi novice πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

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