British Columbia

Two young grads hope to connect with Canadians on cross-country hitchhiking trip

Ori Nevares and Philippe Roberge are all thumbs as they kick off their summer-long Canada wide hitchhiking adventure in the Yukon.

The travellers have budgeted just $150 for ambitious adventure

With little more than $150, a bunch of camera gear and a handful of Canada-themed outfits, Ori Nevares and Phil Roberge are travelling light. (Canada 150 Expedition)

It's only Day two of a carefully-planned, cross-Canada hitchhiking trip, but Ori Nevares and Philippe Roberge have already lost a significant portion of their food rations.

The two young men, both 23, have budgeted just $150 for food and incidentals as they thumb for rides from Whitehorse to Saint John's this summer.

The say they're hitchiking across the country because they want to connect with Canadians during the country's 150th birthday celebrations.

Before flying to the Yukon to start their trip, they stocked up on protein, packing jars of peanut butter in their bags. But security at Vancouver airport confiscated it.

"Note to future self: you can't take spreads on the plane, considered a liquid unfortunately," said Nevares in a video posted on social media.

On the cheap

Despite the setback, Nevares said the trip is really about meeting Canadians and establishing real connections with them, something a lack of food may even facilitate.

They won't be accepting any financial donations "but we'll definitely accept a sandwich," said Roberge.

Both young men are recent university graduates.

They're blogging about their trip, which is expected to last two months.The limited $150 food budget was chosen to thematically align with Canada 150th celebrations, the team told Andrew Chang, guest host of CBC's B.C. Almanac.

But they also chose the low sum to make the trip more difficult and meaningful.

"My mom is really nervous and [so is] my girlfriend. I'm not too nervous I think we're going to be okay, right?" said Roberge.

However, Nevares' father, Javier Nevares, is supportive of the boys' trip. In 1979, he went on his own cross-Canada adventure.

The hitchiking blog of Nevares and Roberge features this video of Javier Nevares giving advice to the two young travellers.

Javier Nevares said he still loves to travel without an itinerary and ride his motorbike long distances but cell phones and the internet have changed the way people travel.

"I guess probably my parents crossed their fingers that everything was going to be okay and that was it," he said.

Nevares and Roberge sought the advice of fellow hitchhikers and wanderers.

One was Roberge's neighbour, Jim Boothroyd, who hitchhiked from Vancouver to Halifax, then back to Winnipeg in the late 1970s before taking a train home to Vancouver.

Tips for hitchhikers

"Your friendship will be tested by this trip ... I ended up in fisticuffs with my friend outside of McDonalds in Sudbury at night,"  Boothroyd tells the young men in a video on the trip blog.

"This was on the way back, I can't remember what the reason was."

He also offered some hitchhiking tips, such as where to stand on the road to make sure cars can safely stop to pick you up, and how to take it all in and enjoy the ride.

"You're on the ground and you feel how big the country is. You stand and you have the sky over your head. You're going through the Rockies and you're standing beside the road looking up at mountains.

"You're going to see some fantastic parts of Canada you probably don't know about," said Boothroyd.

Both Nevares and Roberge are photographers and videographers.

Along the way they'll be sharing images and video blogs that tell the stories of Canadians they meet and travel with in a series called Faces of Canada.

With files from CBC Radio One's B.C. Almanac