Nfld. & Labrador

N.L. by chopper: Adventurers showcase their return home in YouTube documentary

Most people touring Newfoundland and Labrador would travel by car or boat. Two adventurers formerly from this province decided to do things a little differently.

Becki Peckham and Chris Nicholas documented the trip on their YouTube channel

Chris Nicholas and Becki Peckham flew by helicopter from their home in Buffalo, N.Y., to return to their old home of Newfoundland. (Submitted by Becki Peckham and Chris Nicholas)

When Becki Peckham  and Chris Nicholas returned to their former home of Newfoundland they opted not to do it by the usual methods of boat, car or plane.

Instead, they came by helicopter.

"I was planning on actually coming back to Newfoundland to work, and I thought what a better way to explore the province then by helicopter," said Nicholas. "There's so much untapped wilderness and places that are so beautiful that we could explore."

Nicholas, 34, is originally from Texas and moved to St. John's around 1999. He became interested in helicopters during his time at Memorial University's medical school.

"I think I was taking a break from studying for my board exams and realized, 'Hey! I don't know how helicopters work!'" Nicholas told The St. John's Morning Show on Wednesday. "I became enamoured with physics and how it all worked."

Nicholas now flies his own chopper, which he calls the Millennial Falcon.

Now he and and Peckham, who is from St. John's, live in Buffalo, N.Y., and work together on their YouTube channel, Becki and Chriscovering a variety of topics, including home design, travel and photography.

However, one topic seems to stick out from the rest: their love for flying helicopters.

For Peckham, 31, that love hasn't come easy; while Nicholas has been flying for more than three years, she wasn't initially thrilled with the idea of taking a helicopter for their trip back to Newfoundland to explore, as she struggles with motion sickness. But she has started to enjoy the flights more recently.

"For the first, like, 50 hours of me being in there I would be pretty sick," Peckham said. "But over this whole trip, I actually overcame the motion sickness, thank God. It's much more enjoyable now."

The couple moved to Vancouver in 2016 so Nicholas could pursue his career as a radiologist. Peckham worked in graphic design before they moved to Buffalo.

The making of Cold Island

And it was an easy decision for the couple to document their trip on their YouTube channel.

"We're trying to focus on storytelling — showing the essence of a place, but then also like rolling with the punches," Peckham said. "We're just trying different stuff and people seem to like the helicopter vlogs that we put up. So we thought, 'Let's try to put up more of a polished series on a place not a lot of people know about from the YouTube world."

The couple's helicopter, dubbed 'The Millennial Falcon' has flown across the province, including when it touched down in Francois on the south coast of Newfoundland. (Submitted by Becki Peckham and Chris Nicholas)

The YouTube series, called Cold Islandis a six-part documentary type series showing the couple's 14-hour trip from Buffalo to Newfoundland. 

It tells the story of some of the highlights and adversity the two faced, including being stranded on a mountaintop outside Quebec City.

"Between getting stranded on a mountaintop and getting stranded on a rock, and then, you know, rain and weather it was a pretty gruelling trip to get there," Peckham said. 

"We were kind of on the fly trying to figure out where we're going to go because of the weather."

Completing the journey

Part 4 of Cold Island, uploaded to YouTube Wednesday, sees the couple land in Trinity. Peckham, who spent her childhood going to the area, says the video holds a special place for her.

"[It was] kind of a special, heartfelt video for me."

Parts five and six episodes will feature stops in Deer Lake and Quirpon Island.

Peckham, pictured, and Nicholas stopped in Trinity. Their documentary also features stops in Deer Lake and Quirpon Island. (Submitted by Becki Peckham and Chris Nicholas)

Both Peckham and Nicholas agree using a helicopter to return to and explore the province has taught them a lot about Newfoundland and Labrador.

"For me, it was a moment of 'we grew up in the province and you take what you have there for granted,'" Peckham said. "A lot of times, you kind of get stuck in some of the gloomy weather or work."

"I kind of wish that have we lived back there now. We'd probably be doing more exploring and checking out more parts of the province."

"We lived in Vancouver for a year as well, and people always say, 'Oh, you guys do so much on the weekends!" Nicholas added. "You've seen more of the province than we have!' But it's totally true."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The St. John's Morning Show

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