Hi there, my name is Archie Ezekiel. I'm a Canadian who got lost backpacking around the world for the last 10 years. I've always loved traveling and at one point I believed the biggest misconception of traveling and that was that it was expensive. Nomadic Matt, Kendrick Uy, and Rick Steves are the travel gurus that showed me that cheap travel was possible by becoming a nomad traveler using hostels and eating amazing street food. After a year of researching different travel sites after travel websites, I finally created a checklist of backpacking supplies in order to start the travel life I always wanted. What I thought was going to be a simple adventure turned out to be the adventure of a lifetime. As a solo traveler, I was heading out into the world to see wonderful places. In September of 2009, with my passport ready and a let's go somewhere attitude, I jumped on a plane with no fixed date on when I was going to return to Canada to see what the world had to offer. This is my backpacking story.
With my tiny atlas in hand, I started traveling our planet. I spent about a month checking out a few cities in the western part of the USA. I then embarked on the longet flight of my life. This is when it started to sink in that I was starting my trip to backpack across South East Asia. After 6 months of traveling and volunteering at the controversial Tiger Temple. I found my way to China with an opportunity to teach 1200 high school students (my first teaching gig). These kids were so excited to be learning English from a tiger trainer from Canada. This teaching opportunity opened my eyes to so many things. These kids made me so humble and made me realize even more how lucky I was to speak English.
THE NEXT COUPLE YEARS:
Just as my teaching contract was about to expire, A friend of mine in Thailand asked me to go back and help her run the volunteer program at the Tiger Temple. So I decided to return to Thailand for some tasty Asian food and to see if I could help the Tigers even more. After spending a few years at the Tiger Temple helping the cats have a better life in captivity. I had to leave Thailand because of visa issues. The next logical place to go was New Zealand. It's an adventure seekers paradise. The next year in NZ went by so fast. Traveling around this amazing country will always have a special place in my heart. I bungy jumped, checked out where Lord of the Rings was filmed, and seen some of the most amazing Fjords I have ever seen. I was very fortunate enough to have become close friends with New Zealand's favorite big cats. I worked with the world famous Lion Man. Once again I was given the opportuntiyt to create a more enjoyable life for the big cats during their life in captivty. No matter what people say, it was never about the fame, it was always about the cats. To this day I wish I could go back to New Zealand. It will always be my favorite place in the world. When it was time to leave NZ, I made a quick stopover in a country known for its amazing sunshine and beaches, Australia. While visiting a friend of mine, he eplained to me how to be a digital nomad and I loved the idea. This is when it hit me, I had to leanr how to be a digital nomad. A few months later I found myself back in Thailand at the Tiger Temple again. It felt different this time around and in less than a year I had concluded that this will be my last time at the Tiger Temple. Boy was I right.
I was sitting on a bucket in the street with Jamie (a good buddy of mine) and she was walking past and Jamie asked her to join us for a drink because she looked like she needed a drink and a good laugh. We had so many laughs that night and we just hit it off. I've never been close to my family at all but after sitting down and talking to Aurelie, she opened my eyes on just how important family actually is. We decided to give a long distance relationship a try. She still had a few stops to make before her around the world trip was done but she did come back to visit a couple of times before she headed back to Italy. It was around this time that I had decided that my time at the Tiger Temple was coming to an end. She went back to Italy while I went back to Canada. We just celebrated out 6 year anniversary.
BEING BACK & LEAVING AGAIN:
It wasn't long after getting back that both of us realized that staying put wasn't an option at the time. This is when we decided to embark on our next big adventure. We decided to take our backpacking experience to a whole new level. Since both of us love to travel and have a never stop exploring attitude, we decided to do a bike trip where we explored the North Sea Bike route on peddle bikes. For 2 months we biked over 2000 km. Starting in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and finished in Amberstdamn. This trip made us realize what backpacking with the essentials really means. When we finished this experience, Aurelie had to head back to Italy to finish university while I went back to Canada to start preparing for ANOTHER amazing year that we had planned during our bike trip.
ANOTHER AWESOME SUMMER:
The first thing I had to do is get us a big enough house for everybody. Once Aurelie finished her university she was going to be joining me in Canada for a year, she was bringing Davide (her brother) for a month and Ethan (my son, living in Mexico) was going to be joining us for a month as well. We took both of the goys around to so many places around Alberta that summer. We had a full house that summer and we had so much fun.
ROADIE AND LAND OF SMILES AGAIN:
We were trying to figure out what to do next with Aurelie's visa soon running out. It just so happens that we had a couple who were couchsurfing with us. They had just finished driving to Mexico and back. They were selling their van so they could go back home to Europe. So...Yup, you guessed it. Within a couple of hours, we had decided to buy the van and do our own massive road trip to Mexico. We came up with our own travel map. We started by heading out to Vancouver Island to see some wild grizzly bears, then we made our way down the entire west coast of the USA, then down the west coast of Mexico down to Puerto Vallarta. When we arrived in Mexico, Ethan decided to join us for a month. Ethan lives in Puebla so we finished the Mexico part of our road trip there. After finishing this massive road trip from Canada we had decided to head back to Thailand with the intent on calling it home this time around. We spent the next year in Thailand looking for ways for us to be able to buy some property and stay long term, we came to the realization that it wasn't meant to be. On the plus side, we came to realize that city living wasn't for us anymore. We love being outdoors while being surrounded by a huge garden. We finished our stay in Thailand by doing a month-long permaculture course where we learned how to create our very own urban homestead. This course gave us the final boast of inspiration to start thinking about our next experience.
BACK TO EUROPE BUT WHERE?
We had talked about having a family and since Aurelie was very close to her family, we decided to head back to Europe. After some heavy consideration on what other countries to live to, We decided that Spain was going to be the place we call home. Both of us had been to Spain and just loved it. We had to fly back to Canada in order for me to get my visa but thanks to the travel hacking that Kendrick Uy taught us, our flights were pretty much free. After receiving my visa we headed to Italy just in time to spend Xmas with Aurelie's family. We landed in Madrid on January 4<sup>th</sup>. After settling into a place we started to prepare for another summer adventure. Ethan was going to be joining us again this summer. That summer we traveled around about half of Spain, obviously to see the amazing sites in Spain but also to figure out what part of Spain we wanted to do our project in.
In all our travels, we realized that helping the environment was something that both of us really wanted to do. We fell in love with the idea of living a self-sufficient / off the grid lifestyle. So as part of our next adventure, next summer we are moving to the North of Spain with the intention of building our own bed and breakfast that will be self-sufficient/ off the grid (as much as possible anyway). We are going to rent a place first while we search for our dream property in order to start our next life experience. Aurelie has always wanted her own newborn studio so that will be one of the first things we build when we find our property. Over the years, we have also become Escape Room nuts, so we are also going to build a few escape rooms but with a new and exciting twist.
HOW ARE WE GOING TO DO THIS?
We are in the process of switching all of our income to online endeavors. This is one of the main reasons why I have decided to put this shop together. I'm sure there are more than a couple people out there who want to travel the world but who are afraid or unsure of what to do. I felt the same way when I decided to hit the road back in 2009. To be honest with you, I feel that leaving Canada the way that I did was by far the best decision I ever made. So please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I would love to help out as many people as possible. I hope you have an amazing day and I look forward to hearing from you.