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A Conversation with Travel Writer Robin Esrock

The author of the award-winning The Great Canadian Bucket List talks about his work, his influences and the beauty of Canadian travel

Robin Esrock kayaking with icebergs

Originally from South Africa, Robin Esrock immigrated to Canada in 1999, though much of his work has focused on destinations abroad. Over the years, he has visited more than 110 countries on seven continents.

“As I was travelling, everybody would ask me what to do in Canada and it annoyed me that I didn’t know,” says Esrock. And so The Great Canadian Bucket List was born.

CAA What advice would you give to Canadians travelling within their own country?

RE Look around where you live—your city, your province, your region—and start looking for the experiences that you can’t do anywhere else in the world. Once you realize how amazing this country is, it makes you very proud to be Canadian.

CAA If you had to choose one more Canadian and another international bucket list destination, what would they be?

RE I’d like to go kayaking around Broken Islands in B.C. That would be really cool. In the world? Wow—I’d like to do the Annapurna, which is a three-week hike in the Himalayas. That would take me to Nepal, which I’ve never been to.

CAA Who is your favourite travel writer?

RE I was inspired very much by Bill Bryson as a classic humorist. Hunter S. Thompson also inspired me in my early days—and many people don’t know he was a travel writer. His travel ideology really taught me to never say no to anything, to throw myself into the story, to tell the greater truth through moments.

CAA Any projects in the works you can tell us about?

RE I have three books coming out in 2016. One is the The Great Canadian Prairies Bucket List, covering a part of the country that is vastly underrated, especially when it comes to driving. I find it fascinating and beautiful, and driving these long strips is wonderful. In Saskatchewan they have this place called the Big Muddy Badlands, which is on the border of Montana. Very few Canadians know about this part of the world and it’s beautiful.