A 19-year-old from Halifax is setting off on the open road in May with only a longboard, a backpack and a goal to raise money for Feed Nova Scotia.
Gregor MacDonald says he only started started skateboarding two years ago, and the hobby quickly grew into an obsession. This 2,000-kilometre journey around the coast of Nova Scotia is an opportunity to do something that he loves and raise money for a cause he cares about.
"If people can go to a food bank for food, then it takes stress off other things, like they need rent or they need emergency oil for heating or whatever they need," MacDonald said.
"It's one of the easiest ways for me to impact the poverty cycle and do something."
MacDonald said he knows he's lucky in his everyday life not to have worries about food security but on a European backpacking trip last year, he got a taste of what it means to go without.
Nutella and a stick of mentos
At one point in his trip, MacDonald decided to travel 1,000 kilometres down the west coast of France to the Spanish border on his skateboard. The entire journey took about two weeks.
"It was really, really brutal, and life changing, and the experience was just incredible in every way," he said.
Because of poor planning and other factors, MacDonald said he ran out of food twice and ended up having to skateboard 100 kilometres on little more than some Nutella and a stick of Mentos.
"That was a really unhappy and desperate situation," he said.
"I know a lot of people are still facing that in their everyday life. It's not like when I go on a trip and screw up and there's no food. There is nothing they can do to put it on the table."
MacDonald plans to set off in May with no support team, sticking primarily to side roads — only a backpack with a tent and his "boat of a longboard."
"It should take three weeks if I don't mess up and hurt myself or do something silly and get lost, but it will probably be closer to a month," he said.
Between working two jobs and taking a course, MacDonald said he hasn't yet had a lot of time to focus on promoting his Push Against Hunger ride.
'Satisfaction and adventure'
So far, he's met with Feed Nova Scotia to discuss the plan. He's focusing on raising money using a GoFundMe page. He also found a sponsor in Switchback Longboards, which has helped with some gear.
MacDonald said that all of the money raised through the GoFundMe page will go to to the organization.
"It's all about Feed Nova Scotia — I don't get anything out of this," he said.
"I get the satisfaction and the adventure."