In a one-on-one interview with Zoomer, Trudeau discussed his father, his relationship with his Prime Minister brother Justin Trudeau, why he can't take a regular vacation and his new book Barbarian Lost: Travels in the New China.
Alexandre Trudeau, known affectionately as Sacha, didn't see much of China during his first foray to the Far East in the 1970s with his famous parents—Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and former Zoomer cover subject Margaret Trudeau—given he spent the entire trip tucked away in his mother's womb.
Of course, in the ensuing years his infatuation with the country grew as he saw more of it, both as a child visiting with his father and older brother, future Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and on numerous trips through the country as an adult. Rather than spend his time snapping selfies at the Great Wall, though, Trudeau explored some of the farthest corners of the vast land, visiting with everyone from rural labourers to the artist Ai Weiwei in cities and small towns along the way.
"You can stumble off the beaten path, you can see deep China but, like all trips, it requires a kind of commitment, a vulnerability," Trudeau, 42, tells me in a hotel bar in downtown Toronto when discussing his new book Barbarian Lost: Travels in the New China.
"I understand that I was just born that way. I like that, being stripped down, I like sleeping with the rats … It's for the traveller, not the tourist. I think the tourist will find it bewildering and not necessarily easy to love. The traveller will become mesmerized by it."
In his new book, Trudeau chronicles his travels across the country, the people he met and the changes – social and economic—that he witnessed. And despite the fact that his Prime Minister father opened up diplomatic relations with China in 1970 and his Prime Minister brother recently returned from his first high-profile diplomatic visit to the county, Trudeau managed to slip across the nation anonymously, his famous surname failing to raise many eyebrows.
Still, Alexandre Trudeau remembers the words of his father: "If there's one place you don't want to jump to conclusions in, it's this one. That's barbaric as well, thinking you can understand and know China quickly and know what's best for China."
Zoomer's one-on-one interview with Alexandre Trudeau continues on the next page.
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