One of the two newest dragons on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, it’s fair to say that Lane Merrifield is the more handsome and charming rookie.(Though Vincenzo Guzzo is probably more entertaining, taking great pleasure in being intense.) The founder of Club Penguin, a virtual world for children, Merrifield sold the company to Disney in 2007 for an astonishing US$700 million and ran the company for the media giant for five years. Now head of FreshStart, a mobile assessment tool for educators and parents, he doesn’t just seek thrills in the business world. He’s a biker, a licensed pilot and a wakeboarder.
Where in the world have you felt happiest?
Up in the air alone flying my plane during a gorgeous sunrise or sunset. It is pure peace, joy, beauty and adventure combined.
To get away from it all, I go to:
The mountains. There are few things in the world that a great powder day or peaceful hike can’t solve.
What’s the one thing you pack for every trip?
My camera and iPad.
What’s your essential item for making travel more comfortable?
My AirPods. I can listen to music in a crowded airport, a podcast to fall asleep on a plane or jump on a quick call in the back of a cab.
What’s your guilty pleasure while travelling?
Alcohol. I usually limit it to social occasions, but if I’m offered wine on a plane, I’ll always say “Yes.”
What’s your pet travel peeve?
People who don’t know how to use airport security lines! “Where do I put my liquids again?”
Which is your road most travelled?
The airspace from Kelowna to Vancouver. Almost all my trips begin with a flight to Vancouver so I know it well.
Who is your favourite travelling companion?
My kids. I’ve been with them on every continent in the world (including Antarctica). An adventure with them brings so many new perspectives.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met on your travels?
Local cab drivers around the world. I’ve heard dozens of amazing stories sitting in the back of a cab or rickshaw.
What trip-of-a-lifetime lies ahead for you?
I want to go diving in the Galapagos islands on a live-aboard boat sometime in the next few years.
I lost my heart in…
Japan. The food, the culture, the beauty.
What’s the place you were most nervous about visiting?
India with my young children. I knew we’d see, smell and experience things there that would take years to unpack.
Which travel experience most changed your worldview and why?
Diving in the Philippines. I had dove around Hawaii, Mexico and the Great Barrier Reef, but to see in the Philippines what healthy coral should look like blew my mind. I had no idea how badly we’ve hurt our reefs and I pray they’re still there for my grandkids someday.
Tell us about a time when you got lost and what you learned from it.
I had to be in Germany for three days for work so I decided to skip my last connecting flight and rent a Porsche to drive from Frankfurt to Munich. I vowed to not use a map and just followed road signs. Eventually I ended up on a country road asking a farmer for directions back to the autobahn.
If you could live in any city in the world (other than your own), which one would it be and why?
Manhattan, New York. It’s an eclectic blend of all the things I love. Great art, food, people and access to the rest of the world.