I first became acquainted with Reb’s work a couple of years ago via the quirky travel videos and stories in her Toronto Star “Sleeping Around” column (exhibit A). Her laugh-out-loud writing and off-the-cuff videos reminded me that travelling can be not only inspiring and educational, but unapologetically fun.
These days Reb is a full-time video host and blogger reporting on lifestyle topics for Postmedia Network. Her travel philosophy is evident from the title of her blog, Life Doesn’t Have to Suck. The blog started out independently but became part of the network in June.
A native of Parksville-Qualicum, Vancouver Island, Reb has also lived in Ottawa, Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and (now) in Kleinburg, Ontario. She has travelled everywhere in Canada except the North. She’s traversed the country by train, car and bus. “Guess which one I don’t care to repeat?” she says.
What was your initiation into travel writing and how has your career evolved?
I was doing freelance photography for the Ottawa Citizen in 2001 and, on a whim, decided to drive to the Maritimes to write a travel story on hostels (because that was all I could afford). While I was there, I got dumped over the phone by my then-boyfriend. That night, I blubbered and sniveled on the shoulder of the lone employee at a lighthouse-turned-hostel. Unwilling to accept defeat, I wrote the story anyway and discovered that travel writing is a great outlet for someone who loves both photography and writing. Then Internet video came along and opened new doors.
What was your last trip in Canada and what was a highlight?
I went to Prince Edward Island and dressed up as Anne of Green Gables for a video (the fake braids glued to the straw hat were very convincing).
Tell us one thing about where you live or where you grew up that might surprise first-time visitors.
That deep within the woods in Qualicum, there are orbs strung up in the trees and you can sleep in them!
Okay, a few questions in one: what is/has been…
…your favourite restaurant meal in Canada?
The French Canadian feast at Sucrerie de la Montagne in Rigaud, Quebec
…Canada’s most underrated place or attraction?
The entire province of New Brunswick.
…an experience worth splurging on?
Taking the Canadian—VIA Rail’s train from Toronto to Vancouver. It’s like going back in time and the meals are phenomenal.
…your wildest night out or weirdest experience?
“Sleeping” under dinosaur skeletons with 90 school children at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta.
What is one thing about what you do that not everyone realizes?
The final product is worth it, but you look stark raving mad when you’re filming yourself. Especially if you’re dancing.
What do you always pack for a trip?
Camera, lenses, tripod, laptop, sound equipment, a buffet of USB cables, iPod, iPhone and, if there’s still room, clothes.
Where are you travelling to next and why?
I’m travelling to England for the chaos that is Bonfire Night [aka Guy Fawkes Night] on November 5th. Within Canada, I’m hoping to make it to the St. John’s Mummers Festival in Newfoundland to make a holiday video.
Follow Reb on Twitter or check out her website to learn where to to buy gun magazines in Edmonton and how to re-purpose an old rake into an apron hanger, among other burning questions.