The 4 Questions, Ori Nevares.

How did your family come to Canada?

"My Moms side came to Canada when antisemitism began to grow in Europe before world war II. Only a few left to Canada as the rest were confident the rough times would pass. Unfortunately everyone who stayed in Europe was killed in the gas chambers of the Nazi death camp Sobibor.

My Dads side fled Spain during the civil war in the 1930s. They were hidden in the trunk of a car and secretly brought to a boat which ended up in Mexico. My Dad was born in Mexico City and met my mom while studying in Houston, Texas. Then they moved back to Vancouver as they thought it was the best place to raise a family.

I was born in Vancouver and have always been grateful to return there every time I travel."

What is your favourite thing about Canada?

"The diversity that exists within Canada. Throughout this trip we met people from all areas of Canada and the world. The number of different ways people live across the country surprised me, and the international influences that exist are endless. Canada is one of the few places where so many different authentic cultures exist together, and the potential this has is is wondrous."

What is the best piece of advice you would give?

"After finishing this journey in St. Johns, we paid a visit to the mile 0 monument where Terry fox started his journey. There was a quote that could not have been more perfectly timed.

“I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try.” 

Before leaving on this trip I genuinely thought the $150 challenge was not possible and would only last until Edmonton. Everyone we pitched it to laughed at it. Now finishing this trip on $9.99 total I completely surprised myself on what I thought was possible. The importance of pushing yourself and just trying is more apparent than ever."

How has your trip changed your perspective of Canada? 
(Adapted from: How did you come to pick us up/hear about our project?)

"Before leaving I had known that overall Canadians were generous and kind. I was also told many times that hitchhiking would be a dangerous and risky method of travelling. After this trip the level of kindness and good people that exist across Canada has surpassed anything I imagined. At no time were we threatened or felt uncomfortable. This made me realize how built up fears can be taken out of proportion and can lead to isolation from one another. This experience has made me realize the importance of coming together especially in a country as large and spread out as Canada. Most importantly I have never been more proud and grateful to call Canada my home!"

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Along the way we asked everyone we met 4 questions. As we wrap up our social media portion for this project we wanted to share our personal answers to these questions. So here they are, starting with Philippe Roberge!

How did your family originally come to Canada?

"Back in the 1600’s, both of my parents families came over on ships from Normandy in France. Of the 4 ancestors that arrived, one was a soldier, one was a cook, and two were farmers."

What is your favourite thing about Canada?

"At the start of this trip, I might have listed some things about nature, like the picturesque beauty of Banff or how Canada has more coastline than the rest of the world combined. But after this trip, my answer would have to be the people. No matter where we went, there were always people inviting us into their homes for a meal, story, or place to sleep. I will have to spend the rest of my life paying it forward, Canadians truly are as nice as the stereotype suggests."

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

"This one comes from Ben Wilson, whom we met on the journey : “You don’t get what you don’t ask for.” The irony was real with that one."

What have you learned from this trip? 
(Adapted from: How did you come to pick us up today/hear about this project?)

"In the realest way possible, the best way to get people to believe in your project is by starting it. We initially applied to over 70 grants, and got rejected by all of them. Then, we decided to start it with or without the help of others, and the help came pouring in! Don’t speak in conditionals: Instead of saying “We want to go across Canada and make a documentary, all for less than $150”, say “We’re going across Canada and making a documentary with $150 budget”, and then go out and do it."

Faces of Canada

"I was born in Chandigarh, India but I moved to Edmonton before I could remember anything. Growing up was hard. I would constantly get in fights throughout elementary school. It was never one on one, it was always a group ganging up on me. In grade 7 things got worse. I heard ‘go home paki’ more times than I can remember. Junior High school started and the bullies only got bigger and stronger. It was also time for me to start wearing a turban. I became very self conscious of that, and learned to be quiet really fast. People would hate me for no reason and I could not understand why.

One day in junior high school I got a note from my teacher that forever changed me. It read ‘your quiet sense of humour is appreciated, you're perfect just the way you are, don’t change.’ From that I started believing in myself. I changed schools and that is also where I started playing badminton seriously. I got into coaching badminton when I realized I was a much better coach than player. I excelled in coaching and eventually coached the Canadian National Olympic teams. Now I have moved on to coaching the Canadian Paralympic team and hope to attend the 2020 games. I think a part of me feels connected to these athletes since they may feel discriminated against because of their disability. I can be that person who will tell them they are perfect the way they are.  

If you are going to make any impact in this world, then you are going to have to get over your fears. People will dislike you no matter what you do, unless you isolate yourself like I did as a kid. This fantastic trip through life has taught me that you can either let fear get the better of you, or you can come out and you can shine and just keep going forward. The shadow is always behind you when you face the sun."

Ram
Vancouver, British Columbia

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Faces of Canada

"My parents moved from Toronto to Peachland in 1939 and stayed there for 6 months before they moved to Vancouver. At that time the trans Canada highway was still not complete so they bought three horses and rode on horseback to Vancouver. They settled in what is now known as Southlands and thats where I was born. I grew up surrounded by horses and to me having a horse in the backyard was like having a bicycle there. This upbringing allowed me to eventually coach the Canadian Olympic modern pentathlon team for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games. Back then everyone knew one another and you would expect any car to stop and say hi. Now thats not the case. Barns are being bulldozed to make way for massive mansions, people don’t know their neighbours anymore and cars are driving faster through the area. If you would have asked me 10 years ago if I thought there would still be horses here I would have said for years and years. Now I don’t think they will last another 10-15 years, but my family has 5 generations with horses on this land so I’m going to hold out and long as I can."

Rick
Vancouver, British Columbia

Looking out from Signal hill there is no more Canada in sight. Luckily this sign gives us some inspiration on where to go next!