Known for worldly adventures inasmuch as its known for its impressive fleet of vehicles, Ford of Canada hosted a tour of Canada’s Diefenbunker Museum and a special talk with the undoubtedly inspirational Robin Esrock. Quite a successful travel writer who originally hailed from South Africa and currently based out of BC, Esrock’s career first began in 2002 when, on his way to work, he was hit by a car leaving him with a broken knee cap. This traumatizing experience helped him realize how short life really is and therefore, decided to live it to the fullest. He packed his bag and bought a round trip ticket around the world with the $20,000 settlement he received. Not 20 million dollars… 20 thousand dollars!
How far could he go? How long could he last?
Turned out… Pretty far and pretty long.
Esrock spent a year traveling the globe where he began a travel blog, which subsequently became a travel column, guest appearances on well-known television shows and multiple book deals, which turned out to be best sellers in the travel writing category.
When he returned, he was recognized as an expert in the field and jumped on the opportunity to begin a TV series called World Travels. His latest publication, The Great Canadian Bucketlist, recounts the stories of his adventures in Canada in the hopes of inspiring Canadians to check things off their bucket list and explore their own country, without needing a near death experience. How perfect a location it is for Esrock to share his travel experience from then to now at the Diefenbunker. Built in 1959 to protect the Canadian government from a nuclear attack, the visit at the bunker, now a very famous museum, walks you through the process of quarantine and how to survive the next 30 days after a nuclear attack, IF you are deemed lucky to be one of the few in the list of essential services/human resources needed to re-start a new Canadian government post-nuclear attack.
The #FORDOTTAWA / #BUCKETLISTOTT road trip to carp and the museum visit, facilitated by the always creative and engaging National PR Team in Ottawa (Melissa, THANK YOU for always thinking of us here at Twenty York Street!), was indeed an unforgettable experience, check out 20YS’s Facebook page to view more photos of our tour. More importantly, here are our TOP 5 LESSONS IN LIFE AND TRAVEL FROM ROBIN ESROCK AND FORD OF CANADA that YOU can learn from to LIVE YOUR LIFE TO THE FULLEST, right this moment:
1. IF IT’S UNIQUE, IT’S WORTH DOING
Do you get writer’s block when trying to create a bucket list? The first lesson Esrock taught was to appreciate any unique experience. Would it make for a great dinner story? He recapped his travel down the Trans Labrador Highway, Labrador’s main road beginning from one end and ending at the other, totaling 1,246.69 km. “It doesn’t have to be adrenaline pumping to be worth experiencing,” explained Esrock. The journey down this semi-paved road tested his wits, his stamina and ultimately, his determination – quite a challenge for a seasoned traveler let alone a novice one, to complete what seemed like an epic hike right here in Canada.
It was tough but it was an experience he will never regret.
2. NEAR OR FAR: THINGS IN YOUR BUCKET LIST COULD BE LOCAL OR INTERNATIONAL
Worried about money? Don’t like planes? Can’t afford to leave work for weeks? You don’t need a big budget or a plane ticket to check things off your list. Even right here in Ottawa, we have a huge backyard worth exploring. Seriously, we toured a bomb shelter only 30 minutes out of the city, can you imagine what else is in store in Canada’s capital city?
In his latest book, The Great Canadians Western Bucket List, Esrock covers a variety of bucket list-worthy journeys in Ontario and Quebec, trips that are only a drive away.
3. DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER: THE FORD ESCAPE GOES RUGGED
One of the biggest things to consider when planning a road trip (and an epic one at that) is the thoughtful decision of picking up your vehicle of choice. Ford of Canada provided Esrock with the award winning Ford Escape to get across the Trans Labrador Highway. During his research, he’d found that the intense terrain could only be conquered with a heavy duty truck – something the Ford Escape is not.
Ready to test the road and the car itself, a Ford Escape was waiting for him at the departure station and a white one at that! With bit of skepticism and a lot of hesitation, Esrock embarked with the journey. Much to his surprise, the Escape impressively took him all the way home, through hundred of kilometres of twisting gravel road, potholes, bumps and tundra. “Ford of Canada either got very lucky or knew exactly what they were doing,” says Esrock.
4. YOU CAN GO LEFT OR YOU CAN GO RIGHT BUT NEVER EVER STOP
While traveling in Asia, Esrock spent time observing and learning the courier subculture in Hong Kong, where he learned a valuable lesson that he applies to his everyday life. In the once British-run island city of Hong Kong, couriers ride bikes without brakes. This is to prevent them from being stolen and this limits the bike’s lifespan significantly. Amongst the couriers, they’ve chartered their own rules, speak their own language, practice their own traditions to honour their dead and to continue on with their best-kept secret of underground racing. Their running philosophy is “you can turn left or you can turn right, but you can never stop,” is a philosophy Esrock applies whenever he’s stuck on a journey. By moving forward instead of wallowing in the disappointment of an obstacle, go left or go right, either way, you will be able to turn things around and create a positive experience.
5. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT: FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCT
When asked how he avoids sticky situation while traveling, Esrock says he follows his gut, always. Even if it makes him look crazy, whenever he has a bad feeling about something, he stops and turns back. “If I’m in a cab that takes a turn that doesn’t feel right, I’d get out and grab the next cab,” says Esrock. He’s been lucky to never find himself in danger and attributes it to respecting his instincts. He says while traveling, you’re more aware of this feeling and it’s important to listen to your gut, follow your instinct and heed the warning.
So try your hand at writing another bucket list. According to Esrock, once you cross one off, two more will pop up in its place. Remember that life is about the journey, not the destination.
Tell us, what’s in your BUCKET LIST?
ABOUT TAYLOR BOILEAU
Ottawa-based French Canadian Blogger Taylor Boileau is Twenty York Street’s Resident vintage bargain shopping expert. With 10 years experience sifting through racks at Value Village, she’s got all the tips and tricks you need for finding those tags worth scouring the racks for. Taylor describes her style as quirky, bohemian and retro. She loves to mix and match to create a perfectly unique outfit. She’s currently studying public relations at Algonquin College and hopes to make on career copy writing and blogging. Taylor’s interests lie in fashion and beauty, writing and reading fantasy novels, knitting and sewing, as well as social activism, politics and current events.