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

Trial underway in marijuana ‘compassion club’ case

Bob Woolsey of Mission says police abused their power in 2015 investigation

Boy, 15, reported missing from Abbotsford

Kailum Staples was last seen on Nov. 10

PHOTOS: 22nd annual Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival

Photographers and onlookers come out to see the spectacle

Mission Christmas Bureau now open

This year’s goal is to top the $100,000 mark to help those in need

Maple Ridge mayor talks ‘Nasty women’ in politics

On SFU panel discussion Wednesday in PoCo

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival

This year’s event featured six stops, including viewing points and activity centres.

Methadone treatment not as effective for mentally ill, homeless: study

SFU study suggests unstable housing makes it hard to stick to treatment regimen

Wet weather expected for much of coastal B.C.

The Weather Network is calling for up to 200mm of rain to fall in some areas of the South Coast and Vancouver Island

B.C. reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Port Mann, Golden Ears traffic up since tolls removed: report

City staff report says congestion woes easing on Pattullo Bridge as a result

Convicted child sex offender’s sixth lawyer resigns before sentencing

One time school board candidate Corey Neyrinck case delayed in BC Supreme Court yet again

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

TransLink mulls distance-based fares, low-income discounts

Metro Vancouver transit agency launches final phase of fare review

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Most Read