Wel­come, wel­come

UBC grads travel the coun­try with only $150 to cel­e­brate Canada 150

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - FRONT PAGE -

Hitch­hik­ers prove there is plenty of gen­eros­ity, sup­port in Canada.

Univer­sity of B.C. grad­u­ates Ori Ne­vares and Phil Roberge have found a par­tic­u­larly unique way to cel­e­brate Canada’s 150 years of Con­fed­er­a­tion — hitch­hik­ing across the coun­try with only $150 each.

In­spired by the free Parks Canada pass be­ing of­fered as part of the Canada 150 cel­e­bra­tions, the pair ap­plied for grants to travel across the coun­try, go to each of the parks and cap­ture the nat­u­ral beauty. They were met with a lack of sup­port both from those of­fer­ing grants and from fam­ily and friends.

Not to be de­terred, they turned their project from fo­cus­ing on na­ture to fo­cus­ing on peo­ple.

Hav­ing de­parted from Yel­lowknife, N.W.T. on July 8 and now in Monc­ton, N.B., (as of press time) on their way to St. John’s, Ne­vares and Roberge have spent only $9.99 of their bud­get. Though they have tents, food and the nec­es­sary sup­plies to be self-suf­fi­cient, the cul­ture of hitch­hik­ing has re­sulted in many in­vi­ta­tions for a meal or a place to crash.

“It’s been sur­pris­ingly good. … We’ve had noth­ing but good ex­pe­ri­ences the whole way,” Ne­vares said over the phone as he and Roberge walked along the side of the high­way in Monc­ton look­ing for a ride to Antigo­nish, N.S.

Ne­vares and Roberge both said one of the high­lights of the trip thus far was go­ing on a lob­ster fish­ing boat in Baie­sainte-anne, N.B. The pair spent 11 hours on the boat, as­sist­ing and ob­serv­ing the fish­er­man, end­ing the day with lob­ster and cham­pagne, an un­ex­pected treat for a trip on a tight bud­get.

“It was re­ally cool to see an in­sight into a fish­er­man’s life,” Roberge says of the ex­pe­ri­ence.

When asked what he is look­ing for­ward to for the rest of the trip, Roberge says, “I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to puffins in New­found­land,” ex­plain­ing that he has wanted to see them since he was young and hopes to have the chance to take pho­to­graphs and video of the birds.

“I think the trust among one an­other should be im­proved,” says Ne­vares, ex­plain­ing how all the peo­ple they have met along the way have been truly won­der­ful, shat­ter­ing many of the per­cep­tions about hitch­hik­ing.

“There were a lot of in­cred­i­ble peo­ple, and Canada is full of them and we’d en­cour­age the youth to go ex­plore,” says Roberge, adding hitch­hik­ing can be a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence as long as you take the nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions.

As they moved across the coun­try, they col­lected sto­ries of peo­ple who have given them a ride. They have been post­ing these sto­ries on their Face­book page along with short videos of them­selves, up­dat­ing how the trip is go­ing.

Upon ar­riv­ing in St. John’s, Ne­vares and Roberge will go to Sig­nal Hill, where their jour­ney will be of­fi­cially com­pleted. They also plan to have a pint of beer and do­nate the money left over from their trip to char­ity.

At the end of their trip, they plan to ac­cu­mu­late the video footage into a full-length doc­u­men­tary and pos­si­bly cre­ate a book from the sto­ries they have been told.


Ori Ne­vares, left, and Phil Roberge are hitch­hik­ing from Yel­lowknife, N.W.T. to St. John’s.


Ori Ne­vares and Phil Roberge in Daw­son Creek, B.C.

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