Two UBC students hitchhike across Canada, spending a total of $10

Philippe Roberge, 22, and Ori Nevares, 23, hitchhiked from Whitehorse to St. John’s over the summer

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 ping-pong 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 coffee-table book.

—With files from Gemma Karstens-Smith.

Linda Givetash, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Public packs Victoria mosque during B.C.’s Open Mosque Day

‘The best way to deal with fear is to educate. That’s what we are trying to do here’

Vancouver Island First Nations Youth Ambassadors deliver message to the United Nations

The delegation appeared at an event celebrating ‘the rich tapestry of global cultural diversity’

Turning pro on the Island

Pacific FC’s Brad Norris-Jones talks about his journey to pro sports in Victoria

Fitness and health programming drew more than 12,000 participants in Saanich

New report also finds a gender split in programming

Local tongue-in-cheek opportunists flog snow huts

‘Executive’ and ‘eco-friendly’ one-bedrooms pop up on Craigslist and Used Victoria

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

James says B.C. budget puts priorities on NDP’s poverty, environment plans

She said she expected the government’s poverty reduction and climate change strategies to be priorities in the budget

PHOTOS: Day 1 of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Games kicked off in Red Deer this week

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Most Read