Two UBC stu­dents hitch­hike across Canada, spend­ing un­der $10

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - NATIONAL - LINDA GIVE­TASH

VAN­COU­VER — A travel fund of only $150 may not sound like enough to spend much more than a day out of town, but two stu­dents from the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia man­aged to cross the coun­try for a to­tal of $9.99 thanks to the gen­eros­ity of strangers.

Philippe Roberge, 22, and Ori Ne­vares, 23, hitch­hiked from White­horse to St. John’s over the sum­mer in an ef­fort to see the coun­try and mark Canada’s 150th an­niver­sary.

Roberge said they ini­tially wanted to go to every na­tional park in Canada but the gas cost alone would have been about $3,000.

In­stead, keep­ing with the theme of the sesqui­cen­ten­nial, Roberge said they set a bud­get of $150 each for their 42 days on the road this sum­mer. They spent the $9.99 for gro­ceries in Yukon near the start of their trip.

The coast-to-coast jour­ney ex­posed them to griz­zlies, moose, bi­son and the di­ver­sity of Canada’s land­scape while meet­ing plenty of Cana­di­ans in the 58 rides they were given.

“Some of the ma­jor things we learned is how nice Cana­di­ans were and how gen­er­ous they were. We never felt un­safe. We were al­ways wel­comed into peo­ple’s cars and homes and fed, which was re­ally amaz­ing to see,” Ne­vares said.

Roberge, who was born in Mon­treal, said with the ex­cep­tion of a hand­ful of trips in Canada, he had seen very lit­tle of the coun­try while Ne­vares, who was born in Van­cou­ver, said he had pre­vi­ously only gone as far east as Saskatchewan.

“We re­ally didn’t know very much about our coun­try and we haven’t ex­pe­ri­enced a lot of it so we wanted to ac­tu­ally learn and ed­u­cate our­selves about Canada,” Ne­vares said.

The trip not only ex­posed them to the chang­ing land­scape through each prov­ince but also the di­verse cul­tures and cui­sine.

They ate fresh sheep meat from a farm in Al­berta, ribs in Man­i­toba, home­made pou­tine in Mon­treal, lob­ster in Mar­itimes and cod tongue in St. John’s.

Al­though the trip wasn’t with­out a few bumps.

The hitch­hik­ers said they be­gan ques­tion­ing their de­ci­sions af­ter nar­rowly miss­ing a tor­nado in Saskat­e­ch­wan and find­ing them­selves back un­der the same storm sys­tem in Man­i­toba.

“There was crazy light­ning, mul­ti­ple strikes every sec­ond. I’d never seen light­ning like that be­fore. And then ac­cord­ing to the weather (re­ports), there was ping­pong sized hail sup­posed to come in and also an­other tor­nado warn­ing,” Ne­vares said.

A driver in a pass­ing car took them to a Tim Hor­ton’s where, once the storm had passed in the mid­dle of the night, they pitched their tents in the park­ing lot. The next day, they made their way to Win­nipeg.

They said they learned many lessons along the way and asked all their hosts and driv­ers for part­ing ad­vice.

Roberge said a man from Monc­ton told them, “You don’t get what you don’t ask for. Of­ten times the thing is wait­ing right there for you but you’re just too scared to ask so you never get it.”

They’ve set up a Face­book page and web­site pho­tos, video and a blog of their ex­pe­ri­ences from the road and they said they plan to put to­gether a doc­u­men­tary with their footage as well as a cof­feetable book. — Files from Gemma Karstens-Smith

Some of the ma­jor things we learned is how nice Cana­di­ans were and how gen­er­ous they were. We never felt un­safe …”

Ori Ne­vares

EX­PE­DI­TION CANADA 150 HAND­OUT/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

A travel bud­get of only $150 may not sound like enough for more than a day out of town, but two stu­dents from the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia man­aged to cross the coun­try for a to­tal of $9.99 thanks to the gen­eros­ity of strangers. Philippe Roberge, right, and Ori Ne­vares, shown in a hand­out photo, hitch­hiked from White­horse to St. John’s in an ef­fort to see the coun­try and mark Canada’s 150th an­niver­sary.

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