Back in October I had the pleasure of meeting famed Canadian traveller, Robin Esrock. I initially set up our meeting in the hopes of gleaning some knowledge from him to share with our student travellers at work, but what I ended up acquiring instead was an evening that not only inspired me personally, but made me feel like I was part of a much larger community of like-minded writers and travel lovers.
I was first introduced to Robin’s work a few years ago when I became a fan of Canada’s own Word Travels, a travel program that showcased the lives of two travel writers (Robin and his co-host Julia Dimon) as they journeyed around the world in search of new stories. With a background in travel writing and published works in The Globe & Mail, The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, Sydney Morning Herald and South China Morning Post, Forbes Travel, and MSNBC (not to mention being named amongst the top adventure writers in North America by Travel+Leisure magazine), it’s no wonder Robin came up with the idea for a show about the grittiness involved with travel writing and what it’s really like behind the scenes.
Fast forward four years…while doing research for my then upcoming “Epic Canadian Journey”, I came across an article written by Robin for Matador Network about the spirit bears of BC’s Great Bear Rainforest (you can check out the article here). Seeing his name on the article inspired a “light bulb moment” for me, which thus led to the following series of events — snooping out Robin’s websites to catch up on his work, finding out that he was in the process of writing a book on Canadian travel (something which I’ve become passionate about and am trying to promote to our student-based market), gathering up the courage to email Robin directly to see if he’d like to meet to discuss Canadian travel in the youth market, and finally a planned meeting that was scheduled just a few days after I arrived in Vancouver by train.
The night that I met with Robin was one of great importance in the travel world. Robin had just come from a TEDx talk where he participated as a speaker, sharing with the few thousand people in the audience his stories from the road and the knowledge he’s gained from travelling the globe. Not only was it the biggest TEDx talk to date, but based on Robin’s excitement and inability to sit still, I could tell it was a success.
I came away from that meeting feeling like I was floating on a cloud. Not only did I get to sit with Robin and discuss travel and travel writing, but I also got to meet Sean Aiken of One Week Job fame and Robin’s wife, Anna (who hit it off well with my own Ana, who had accompanied me because I was too nervous to go by myself).
I remember leaving the restaurant and saying to Ana: “This is what I need to do. This is the field that I need to be in.” For me, who’s still trying to figure out what she’d like to be when she grows up, it was definitely a moment of clarity. Robin’s enthusiasm for travel is contagious, and his passion for sharing his travel experiences is inspiring.
I wanted to share with you Robin’s TEDx talk so you can see it for yourself. I asked him if he had any words he’d like to share with you guys on my blog, and this is what he had to say:
“Enjoy the moment when you’re in that moment, because that might be the only moment of its kind you’ll ever have.”
Wise words that can be applied to new travel experiences as well as everyday life. Cheers to that!
Check out Robin’s website where you can learn more about him and his soon-to-be released book, The Great Canadian Bucket List.