In 2012, I moved to Vancouver and lived there for 6 months. I took time off school and realized that I could make my own path and schedule. I didn’t need to stick to a standard time-frame and this was a defining moment that encouraged me to continue to travel. I lived in a house with people from different provinces and different backgrounds. One of these souls was John, and this is his story.
What city do you call home?
Ottawa will always be the city I call home. It has the charm of a small town and is a great historical city. But for the moment, I can be one of the very few and extremely lucky people to claim I live in one of the most beautiful inhabited places in the world in Lake Louise, one of the most western places in Alberta. A small ski town where I get to engage and make friends with people from all over the world. By living here, I’ve met people from 24 countries, including: Australia, Slovakia, Germany, Columbia, Brazil and France.
What was a defining moment/situation that made you decide to travel/be adventurous?
Two of the most memorable moments for me that sparked my love for travel and adventure would be the time I spent as a kid going on hunting trips with my Dad and Grandfather. Anytime we would get up very early in the morning, pack our lunches, bags and blankets would always get me so excited to explore and go out into the world. Spending all day outside in the forest and the smells I experienced are something that will never leave my memories. My second memory would be the time I got on the plane to Vancouver and went to my home for the following 6 months. The Katimavik experience will never leave me and will always give me a little more drive to enjoy my life and spread the love! If I didn’t go on that trip, I literally wouldn’t be writing this post. That experience is something I can appreciate as it helped us become friends!
Where have you been/lived?
Funny enough, I’ve never been outside of North America, and don’t even have a passport! Although I’ve probably traveled more than most people reading this. I have been to the majority of the American states on the East coast (NY, North Carolina, Maine, Florida and everything in between) as well as every Canadian province. On my Canadian adventures I have done every KM on the Trans Canada Highway 1, lived in Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Lake Louise full time and even a few other cities and towns, although maybe for only a week or two. Currently my mission is to make it to the Territories. I’ve even seen a hockey game in almost every NHL arena in Canada (missing Edmonton, Winnipeg and the way overpriced city of Toronto).
Can you share a memorable/funny travel story?
My most memorable adventure when traveling was driving through the province of BC with one of the best people I met in Lake Louise, Wendelin from Germany. We took about 5 days to drive the entire province, stopping in free to camp areas (by far the best site to use while traveling the province http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca/search/search-facility-activity.aspx although I’m not sure if any other provinces have something similar). On our second night we stopped Cherryville, an extremely small town in central BC and camped at one of the areas we found on the site. We ate nutella sandwiches for dinner and ended up watching Star Wars in the car while it poured rain outside, on May 4th (for any non-nerds, that’s international Star Wars day, May the 4th be with you haha!). Although the entire trip will be one that will stick with me for my entire life.
Can you share a story when something did not work out as planned while traveling?
In my travels, I’ve been extremely lucky to not run into too many problems while actually on the road. One time while traveling back home for a surprise visit to one of my brother’s hockey tournaments, I made a pit stop with some of my other German friends I met in Lake Louise at my parents’ home in Ottawa. They were away at the tournament and I wanted to sleep in my bed, so with my friend’s giant red camper van in my driveway, we spent the night. What I didn’t decide to do was tell the neighbours. So I woke up to a very confused Mom over the phone asking me if I was at home with some friends, as my neighbours informed them the van was in the drive way, ruining the surprise. Although it wasn’t a big deal, our neighbour felt really bad about the situation, everything worked out in the end though.
What is left on your ‘to-do’ list?
- Watch an NHL game in the remaining rinks I haven’t been to in Canada
- Travel to my bucket list locations (Australia, Japan, Korea, NZ, Germany and Iceland)
- Take a trip one on one with my Dad, Mom, sister and brother, each somewhere unique
How do you balance work and travel?
Luckily for me, traveling in Canada can be cheap and I work at a ski resort where we have 3 week off seasons, giving me the ability to use that time to be a wanderer of the world (or country!)
What advice/tips do you have to encourage people who want to travel?
Simply get out there! It’s a giant world. Just setting aside a weekend for yourself to drive in a random direction will give you a memorable trip.
Money always works itself out, you’ll use it regardless. May as well have an experience while wasting it.
What are some lessons travel have taught you?
Be kind and the kindness will be returned. People are amazing and will help you in a time of need. So don’t be afraid to help someone if they ask for something while traveling though your city. You never know when you’ll need the favour returned or the karma to kick in. Be curious. If you get presented with an opportunity you don’t think you’ll like or you think is a waste of time, just jump in. You’ll always be rewarded with the questions you ask and the risks you take. Travel doesn’t mean you have to go far. If you live in Toronto, drive to somewhere in Quebec. If you live in Vancouver, take a trip to 100 mile house for a weekend. If you’ve never been to the town next to yours, make reservations to a nice restaurant and walk the downtown and go into a small, family owned store. It will give you the insight to the residents that you know nothing about but live so close to.
Where can people follow your adventures?
Right now, no where. Within the year? Probably my upcoming YouTube adventure channel (name in the works) and my blog/ art project.
Social media handles (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.)
Coming soon! Or add me on www.facebook.com/johnicoll