Earlier this year I participated in Live Below the Line, a fundraising campaign organized by the Global Poverty Project. For a week I lived off of $1.75 for food and drink each day, raising funds to help support Raising the Village.
Towards the end of my first week of the challenge I decided that I was going to extend my participation and announced it to LBL, GPP and RTV via Twitter. That same day I was introduced, again via Twitter, to another LBL participant who had also chosen to extend his campaign. Whereas I had specified an extra amount of time that I’d be continuing on for (another two weeks), my new LBL friend had left his timeline open-ended, choosing instead to participate until he reached his fundraising goal.
This new friend was Eric Gould.
The funny thing about the Internet is that you can quickly become acquaintances and friends with people you’ve never even met in person, whether they’re on the other side of the country or the other side of the world.
Eric calls Dartmouth, Nova Scotia his home (though sometimes he says Halifax…it’s like me saying I’m from Toronto when really, I live in Scarborough, a suburb of the city). We’ve yet to meet, and who knows if we ever will, but one thing I will give Eric credit for is his ability to somehow always know when I could use a quick “hello”. He’s always optimistic, always positive, and ever inspiring. He’s also a very eloquent and prolific individual and I hope he focuses on his writing because there’s a great wordsmith within him. And I tell him this every opportunity I get.
For six months in 2012, Eric travelled throughout New Zealand, Australia and Europe (during which time he grew a mega-beard that would make any Viking jealous). His next big adventure will be a twelve month stint abroad, spending a good portion of his trip in India. With a tentative departure date scheduled for sometime in 2014, the crazy kid has been working twelve-hour shifts for an inhuman number of days in a row, with little break in between. He’s one of the most determined people I have ever (sort of) met. Eric, you set the bar high.
1. What countries have you visited? I’ve driven across Canada, and explored New Zealand, Australia, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Holland and a few minor stops in other countries.
2. What is your favourite place to visit? My favorite place, to date, is Barcelona. I love everything about Spain — the people, the food, the music, the architecture. I love Spanish culture, and Barcelona was home for me. Of all the cities I’ve wandered, I miss Barca the most.
3. What’s one thing you’ve learned from your travels? The biggest thing I’ve learned from travelling is how little I know about the world. I think until you truly experience a place or event, you will never fully understand it. I think travel taught me to be a traveller in every moment of my life. Always exploring with interested eyes. There are so many hidden gems in our own backyard to discover, only a traveller can uncover the beauty of earth.
4. What’s one thing you must always bring with you on a trip? One thing I could never travel without is a notepad. When you’re on the road, so many things are happening, and it’s easy to forget the lessons the road teaches us. I always have a notepad, so I can continue to get the most out of life, without missing a moment. Everything is relevant and everything is important. Every detail in our journey has the potential to get us out of a sticky situation at some point. Always take notes, always be a student, always ask questions, and never, ever, ever, forget a spare pen.
5. What are the top three destinations on your travel bucket list? The thing about a bucket list is that is never stops growing. The more you travel, the more stories you hear about amazing places. For every destination I visit from my bucket list, I add a dozen more. But for the sake of answering the question, three of my outstanding bucket list destinations are India, South Africa, and Peru.
6. What’s the craziest thing to have happened to you while on a trip? The craziest thing that happened to me on the road was probably a near-miss pick pocketing experience. Needless to say, I’ve been pretty lucky so far.