The Lions wrapped up their offseason training program last week and players and coaches have now scattered across the country to get a little R&R before training camp begins July 26.
For linebackers coach Matt Burke, a month away from the film room and the practice field is another opportunity for him to get his backpack and hiking boots on and visit another remote part of the planet.
An avid world traveler, Burke will be spending the next two weeks in Thailand and Cambodia, hiking jungles to the Cambodian temples of Angkor Wat, scuba diving in the Gulf of Thailand and says he’s hoping to ride an elephant or two.
“I do a lot of hiking and outdoor-type stuff,” Burke said. “I just caught the bug. I travel a lot with one of my college buddies (Ken Bollens). We just sort of got into it and tried to top the previous trip each year. We just tried to get more extreme where we could see cooler stuff.”
Burke is doing this trip solo, and has agreed to write a blog on detroitlions.com and send a few pictures of his exploits when he gets a chance over the next couple weeks. Burke’s been taking these exotic trips since 2006, when he became a defensive assistant for the Titans. That first year, he and Bollens went to Ireland. The next year it was Iceland, where they spent two weeks hiking volcanoes and visiting geysers and waterfalls.
The following year it was Peru, where Burke said the highlight of that trip was visiting Machu Picchu – Inca ruins situated on a mountain ridge 7,970 feet above sea level. Also while in Peru, Burke kayaked Lake Titicaca to a small island where he stayed the night with one of the local families on the island.
He did a trip to New Zealand a couple years ago where he went skydiving, ice climbing and did The Nevis Bungy, a 135-meter bungy jump over the Nevis River. Among his other vacations include Sweden, Finland, Russia, Costa Rica, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.
“I don’t know, I just like being outdoors and doing that kind of stuff,” Burke said.