I’m thirty-one years old. I was born and grew up in rural Nova Scotia, Canada.
When I was seventeen I hitchhiked for the first time and my life has never been the same. I’m now an obsessive traveler and hope to someday visit all 196 countries. So far, I’ve been to 37 -- so I still have a long way to go.
In the last ten years, I’ve spent more time outside of Canada than at home. I’ve lived and worked in Vietnam, Japan and Indonesia.
I’ve written one book so far, but hope to write another travel memoir in 2014.
What is your writing process?
When my lifestyle allows for it, I try to follow a strict writing routine:
Wake up at 7am. For the next hour read, meditate, stretch and write in my journal. At 8am, cook and eat breakfast. Then drink green tea and write from about 9am until lunch.
I’m not naturally a morning person, but I do find I write best in the morning and when my head is fresh and there are less distractions.
What's the story behind your latest book?
LIFT is a collection of short stories and essays about my experiences hitchhiking in different countries. It starts with my first hitchhiking experience in Canada and ends with my experience hitchhiking in Albania last year. There’s romance, international intrigue, and jail time. Get it on your Kindle now, before it’s sold out! ;)
What do you read for pleasure?
Strangely, my reading taste seems to vary by what time of day it is.
In the mornings, I usually read non-fiction -- something that will inspire me, like biographies of famous people. Currently I’m reading a book called Daily Rituals, which profiles the daily creative rituals of over 150 prolific artists and writers (definitely recommended for any person in a creative field!). Other favorites are Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art, Stephen King’s On Writing, and Robert Greene's Mastery.
If I have time to read during the day, I like to spend my time with travel memoirs. Some favorites include Robert Twigger’s Angry White Pyjamas, Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, and Will Ferguson’s Hitching Rides With Buddha.
Before bed, I usually read fiction. I find it stops me from 'future projecting' and helps me sleep. Recently I’ve been on a sci-fi kick and have read 5 books from the Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card. Other favorites include The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho), The Dharma Bums (Jack Kerouac) and Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts).
What was the first piece you ever had published?
My first “published work” was actually not my writing, but my drawings. In elementary school, I was known in my class for drawing silly caricatures of the other students. When I was 11, my grade 5 French teacher approached me to illustrate the core French textbook that she was involved in editing. I remember I got paid something like $50 for my drawings and my parents were really proud.
When puberty came around and ruined my hand-eye coordination, I switched to writing and never looked back!
What are you working on next?
I’m currently researching a book about walking across my home province of Nova Scotia. I did the trip eleven years ago (1000kms over about a month and a half), and think it would be interesting to re-do the trip now and write a travel memoir. Nova Scotia has such an incredible history and the people are amazing. I really think there’s a great book there. It’s just a matter of whether I’m physically in shape for the trip!
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