Friday, 28 July 2017 04:33

Hitchhikers crossing Canada on a budget of only $150

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Hitchhikers Philippe Roberge (at left) and Ori Nevares pose for a photo with Anika Henderson and her son Ari Parmar next to the Trans-Canada Highway at Swift Current, July 19. Hitchhikers Philippe Roberge (at left) and Ori Nevares pose for a photo with Anika Henderson and her son Ari Parmar next to the Trans-Canada Highway at Swift Current, July 19. Anika Henderson

Two 23-year-old graduates from the University of British Columbia spent time in Swift Current last week on their cross-country hitchhike on a budget of only $150 each.


Ori Nevares and Philippe Roberge started their trip in Whitehorse on July 8 and arrived in Swift Current on July 18, where they were hosted by Anika Henderson.
“It was such a fun experience actually having them here,” Henderson said. “They’re really neat guys and it’s a really cool project.”
Nevares and Roberge decided this summer would be a good time to explore their own country during the celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.
“We realized that neither of us really knows our country,” Roberge said. “So we wanted to explore our country and show people that it’s possible, because often times flying in Canada is as expensive as flying to Europe. So I feel that a lot of young Canadians don’t actually know their country all that well and even some older Canadians. We wanted to showcase all the wonderful cultural diversity that we have here in Canada, all the different people, all the different stories.”
They started their trip in the Yukon because the country’s northern communities are often overlooked during cross-Canada trips. Their journey will end in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
“Originally we had this idea that to discover our country we would go to every national park and we would try and get sponsored for the gas, but no one wanted to sponsor us to do that,” he said. “So we had to switch up our approach and my friend suggested hitchhiking since we had next to no money.”
At first they planned to do the journey on a budget of $500, but then they felt it will be more interesting to try and do the trip on a budget of $150 each.
“We decided to make it a bit more challenging and force ourselves to interact with different people,” he explained. “So we set that budget to $150. Therefore it would be impossible to get across the country without meeting and interacting and experiencing the kindness of strangers.”
Their project, which they have called Expedition Canada 150, has received ongoing media attention from the start and they therefore receive regular offers of food and accommodation from Canadians along the way. As a result, they are still well within their budget for the journey.
“We’ve spent $4.50 each,” he said. “So we’re way under budget and we’re fairly confident that we’ll be able to make it across on less than $150 each, but that obviously wouldn’t be possible without all the kindness from strangers and everyone that helped us along the way.”
They have already learned a lot about the country and Canadians since the start of their adventure. They continue to be amazed by the kindness of people.
“This is something that I suspected before, but there are nice people everywhere,” he said. “People will go out of their way and it’s amazing because often times I feel many of us will be in a car, we see a hitchhiker and don’t think twice about picking them up, but there are people in every place that we have been that stopped to pick us up. They sometimes gone way above and beyond, like Anika in Swift Current.”
Henderson became aware of their project about a month ago through Facebook and she invited them to stay with her family if they travel through Swift Current.
“Then on Tuesday morning I got a message saying ‘Hey, it looks like we might be making it to Swift Current today, so if you offer still stands’ and there you go,” she recalled. “We had a great time. We ate together that night and just kind of hung out the next day too. It was lots of fun.”
The two hitchhikers did interviews with local media and met Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault. Before they left Swift Current they enjoyed a meal at Henderson’s parents-in-law, Ramnik and Indira Parmar. They were told about Ramnik and Indira’s journey to Canada as refugees from Uganda in the early 1970’s, and the story of these two Swift Current residents is now featured as one of the daily blog entries on the Expedition Canada 150 website.
Nevares and Roberge intend to create a full-length documentary of their adventure and they do regular interviews with people to reflect the different faces of Canada.
“We keep filming things everywhere we go,” Roberge said. “We film the different sceneries, do interviews with different people, and we’re not really sure what the final product is going to look like yet. We just want to tell the story as it is, from the viewpoint of two hitchhikers.”
To follow their journey across Canada, visit their website at www.expeditioncanada150.com or go to the Expedition Canada 150 Facebook page.

Read 735 times Last modified on Friday, 28 July 2017 09:28
Matthew Liebenberg

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