Travel-marketing guru and writer Red Hunt has worked in the adventure travel industry for the past eight years. He writes and provides marketing services for travel newsletters, brochures, electronic communications and social media. Some of his clients include tour operators Intrepid Travel and Quark Expeditions and industry associations like Hostelling International. He also posts travel articles frequently on his website, where he has an entire section devoted to beer!
Born and raised in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), Red has travelled much of Canada—from Vancouver in the west to Moncton in the east. He’s been known to take off on spur-of-the-moment 12-hour drives to northern Quebec or the Maritimes. Seeing polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, and driving to Whitehorse from Toronto are currently at the top of his Canada travel bucket list.
Where are you right now? What are you working on?
Right now I am based at home in Toronto. I’m editing images from a recent trip to Thunder Bay and Northern Ontario and finishing up an article about the time I spent in Lebanon. I am leading a tour to Nepal in March as well, so I’ve been preparing for that adventure.
When you quit your job 10 years ago to travel the world, did you know it would lead to travelling and writing for a living? How did that evolve?
That was the first big step towards a career in travel, although I didn’t know it at the time. I was just bored of the cubicle, suit-wearing life and needed an escape. It took me a few more years of the work-travel-work-travel cycle before I realized I should be in the travel industry. Publishing personal content as a means to make a living was something I always wanted to do, but didn’t pursue seriously until this year.
In terms of travel, what do you know now that you wish you knew 10 years ago?
I wish I knew how fun photography could be and that travel doesn’t have to be a dream, it can be a lifestyle. I have great memories from my first travels, but wish I had better camera equipment and an understanding of photography back then. Live and learn I guess.
Where was your last trip and where are you going next?
[On my last trip] I booked a last-minute flight to Thunder Bay, Ontario. There are so many great provincial parks up there and I managed to visit three, including the stunning Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Winter camping and heading to Carnaval de Quebec are the next trips I’m planning in Canada. Outside Canada, I will be visiting Peru, Ireland and Nepal in coming months.
In your opinion, what is Canada’s most underrated place or attraction?
Many people think Ottawa is stuffy and boring, but I’ve always enjoyed it there. The biggest highlight to me is Gatineau Park. It is literally right next door and offers amazing nature, camping and ski trails. The whole National Capital Region has great food and an abundance of outdoor activities—my kind of place.
What was your most memorable meal on the road in Canada?
I have a weak spot for those summertime greasy chip wagon stops you see at the side of the road here in Ontario. With the said, the cedar plank salmon I had at Cardero’s in Coal Harbour, Vancouver, remains one of the best meals I’ve had anywhere in Canada. Their amazing view didn’t hurt either.
When you travel are you usually staying in five-star hotels, cheap hostels, or on friends’ floors?
I prefer to spend money on activities, food, and drinks. I slept in a rental van on my recent trip up north as it was too cold to camp, but I’ve also stayed in luxurious $500/night hotel rooms. I’ve learned that I can only rough it for about five days before I need to splurge on something nice. I’m a big fan of Starwood hotel properties, as I’ve never had a bad experience with any of their brands.
Do you take your own photos? What type of camera and camera equipment do you use?
I always take my own photos. My passion for photography has grown every year since I began travelling. Currently, my main camera is a Nikon D7000. I also shoot with Nikon speedlights and lenses, except for a wide angle Sigma. I rely on a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod, but also have a TrekPod monopod/hiking staff and some flexible GorillaPods, which are great for travel. Depending where I am going I have a few Lowepro camera bags to haul my gear around.
Do you ever go on vacation and not write about it? Has making travel your career changed your travel philosophy?
Quite often, I actually have a huge backlog of stories from my past travels that I hope to catch up on one day. I‘m still drawn to places that offer great nature and wildlife experiences, so my travel philosophy hasn’t really changed. My general philosophy is that if you find something you enjoy and can make it your work, then life is good.