Simon Černe / Ježni Vrh, Slovenia (currently living in Wellington, New Zealand) / age: 32 yrs / IT developer
Simon is my old pal. I met him ( among others students ) in student housing when we were still teenagers, 14 years old. We came to Ljubljana ( our capital city ) from all parts of Slovenia to continue our education on chosen high schools. I could say that we were bit scared and lost in the begining – first time on our own without parents. But we adopt quite quickly and we start enjoying our new lifestyle, with much more freedom. We are good friends since then.
If I could write only one sentence to describe him I would write that he is quite unhappy if he waste his day foolishly. Carpe diem could be his motto and it doesn’t matter if this include: mountain biking, diving, windsurfing, climbing or something else. I took this photo last weekend when we were hiking together with friends in beautiful Slovenian alps.
Last few years we hadn’t seen each other much. I was in Canada for a year and before I came back he moved to New Zealand where he is living now. This summer he came back to Slovenia to vacations after more than 2 years. He said that he was very happy when he realized that relations with “his” people haven’t changed at all even after such a long time. He is still the same – nonstop in action. He was one of the reasons that my summer this year was more active than usual 😉 Right now he is somewhere in the air, flying back to New Zealand. Thank you for your visit and come around sooner than last time. Good luck and have a nice trip.
Matthew Dundee / Brampton, ON (Edmonton, AB), Canada / age: 28 / Business Analyst
Matt. My homie. He is the kindest and gangsta I know. Well, he is not real gagster. This is just how he rolls – inspired by his favorite rap music. We were roommates just for few weeks but long enought to build true friendship. He came to Edmonton from east side of Canada – Brampton. He is freshly married and prepared to settle down here in Edmonton with his beautiful wife and raise a family.
Leo Inocellas/ Cebu, Philippines (living in Vancouver, BC, Canada) / age: 55 yrs / hotel employee
I met him at English Bay Beach in Vancouver while I was taking some photos. He came around out of curiosity and we started to talk. He likes to walk along the beaches of Vancouver and just enjoys free sunny days and hang out with people. We became friends on Facebook later and I can say that I found him to be one of the kindness persons I know.
He came from Philippines and after 32 years living in Canada, he feels that Vancouver is his home now. You can listen below why is that so.
Olakunle Oduntan / Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria (living in Edmonton, AB, Canada) / age: 38 yrs / Electrical Integration Technician
Ola, the crazy Nigerian guy (in good sense of course). Always prepared to have fun. He doesn’t need alcohol, he doesn’t even need music. He can just start singing and dancing whenever & wherever, or as he likes to say…to shake some booty 🙂 We are co-workers and good friends and he usually puts me into good mood, except when he is sharing excess of his positive energy too early in the morning.
Matej Malc / Koper, Slovenia / age: 27 / explorer
Matej is typical Primorc (Inhabitant of Slovenian region Primorska); Open-minded, open-hearted with special (primorski) sense of humor and positive attitude. I had pleasure to be his roommate for more than 2 crazy summer months in Vancouver. He is always caring that boredom don’t come close to him and to people who are around him. He loves traveling, Vancouver and big city life and as such he took care that I get to know all cool places that were worth to visit there. Meanwhile he also revealed to me some of the secrets of his other passion: fashion. You can listen bellow what he has to tell about that.
Jamie Arron / Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada / age: 25 / Community Animator/ Project Manager
Me and my friend Davor were hitchhiking under the shelter of giant Douglas fir trees at Cathedral Grove park when we met him. We had the same destination : Tofino! And before we reached it we figure it out we have also the same plans: discovering nature of magic Tofino and having great time while doing it. Reaching the peak of Lone Cone island, karaoke, wild camping on towns parking lot, surfing. With his open and positive attitude, he was a magnet for all kind of cool people. And before we knew it, our group grew so big we hardly squeezed into his rented car. I guess its ok that our adventure lasted just few days, otherwise we would have to rent at least a van:)
You can hear below our short conversation about popular question : happiness vs. (material) standard of living
Tomaž Kosmač – Kosmo / Godovič, Slovenia / age: 48 / Writer
Being categorized as an artist in our relatively small municipality of Idrija is not necessarily a compliment. Often such nicknames are given to people who are bit different, who are not swimming with the stream of routines of ordinary people. Clowns who are here to entertain us and give us a reason to talk about something at our coffee breaks.
I must be honest, between friends we also called him “Driskič” (after his first collection of short stories entitled “Driska” (Diarrhea)). For us he was just a funny guy who we met sometimes at some students parties, usually dancing alone in a first row with plastic bag and few PET bottles in it.
I didn’t know nothing about him and I never really took a time to read his work. He was just an local artist after all.
Until recently when I found his collection of short stories “Punk is dead” by accident and read it in one day, often caught myself laughing out laugh. In a week or two I basically read also the rest of his work. I was amazed and addicted. All of his stories are based on autobiographic experiences. In them he is sharing his colorful adventures of jobless person often enhanced with great deal of humor and “bevanda” (mixture of white vine and water). In them he always take a role of anti-hero and he writes with such a honesty that you can’t blame him for anything when he is reveling his deepest doubts and things that most of wouldn’t dare to admit to anyone. Very easy reading but with intelligent thoughts that keep makes you thinking; who is really clown here?
I wrote him if he would be willing to take part in my little project and he invited me to his home. We spend couple of hours talking and exchanging opinions. I was impressed: such a great guy; simple, kind and honest but intelligent and educated.
You can listen here what he has to say about epilogue of his novel: Varnost (Safety). He didn’t want to philosophize about it but I was insisting and at the end he relented and share his brief thought. Unfortunately it is just in Slovenian language. So for those who don’t understand this “widely spread” language I invite you to check bellow what his novel Varnost (Safety) talks about.
Tomaž Kosmač – Varnost (Safety)
In his novel ‘Varnost’ (Safety) Tomaž Kosmač along with his autobiographical lead character takes us into a world of first working experiences of a young boy, who decides to swap his high school degree and a guaranteed office job for a bohemian lifestyle of vegging out in a doorman’s lodge under the light of a transistor radio, with a bottle in the drawer and a typewriter on the desk. The job is aimless, and so are the lives of the proletarian heroes interrupted occasionally by days-long drinking-sprees and the absurdity of alcoholism. Witty, grotesque stories from the social bottom, crossed with the belief that something more is out there somewhere after all, even if it only shows at the bottom of an empty bottle. Gostol – Mercator – Zidgrad – Kolektor – Rudnik živega srebra – IMP – Avtoprevoz – Zdravstveni dom – Gostol, are the names of companies our hero works at, with Čipka and MIP added as a bitter end. Together with the companies he is being kicked out of in a role, stories are strung about how one can experience failure even in the seemingly simple category of sitting down.
Tamao Yuge / Tokyo, Japan / age: 27 / Explorer
Three “locos” from Slovenia with our strange jokes on one side and she with typical Japanese modesty and kindess as our new roommate on the other side. It was definitely not easy for her. She was bit shy but contrary to expectations very curious about life in Europe and our small country. She said that before she came to Canada, she didn’t know much about other cultures. And whole Canadian experience was pretty eye-opening for her. Although we were roommates in Vancouver for just a few weeks we became very good friends. Tamao on why she decided for working holiday in Vancouver:
She is also playing an instrument, and I would never guess it if she hadn’t told me. The song below is a clip from her show. It’s a custom at her college that when one graduates, they represent themselves by demonstrating one of their hobbies. So this is Tama playing the drums. Enjoy.
Nicolas Fourcade / Santiago de Chile, Chile / age: 30 / Architect
Nicolas is one of those lucky guys who really enjoys his occupation. He is an architect and for him being an architect is not just an occupation. For him this is a way of living. A life philosophy. Discovering the world around him, getting inspiration from beautiful things, especially nature, and introducing them into his work. When you are talking with him you have the feeling that he is one of those lucky guys, who manage to preserve the child in him, in the best possible way.
You can check some of his creations (in collaboration with his colleague) on this link.
He came to Canada to change his environment for a year, to gather fresh inspirations and learn English language. I first met him in Toronto at the start of the summer and then again on the other side of the Canada in Vancouver at the end of the summer. He came just three days before I left Vancouver. I invited him to my farewell party and he ended up renting my former room and he is still staying there.
Kirsten / Hamburg, Germany / age: 29 / Engineer
Kirsten is girlfriend of my old friend Tobias. I was with him on Erasmus student exchange in Valencia, Spain, back in 2007. This summer we were by coincidence quite close. I was in Montreal just starting a one year working holiday visa and they were in Philadelphia, visiting his brother Jonas. So we met somewhere in the middle. In regional park Adirondack in NY state in U.S. For a couple of days, we hired the best house-by-the-lake I ever saw and we had really a magical time there.
About the photo: We went to the nearby laundry service to wash our clothes. And while we were waiting, I insisted to make a typical photo session. Kirsten was not thrilled about the idea at first, but somehow I manage to convince her. And just when we were in the middle of this improvised photo session a customer came in. I kept shooting and she made this particular priceless expression. Like she would want to hide or just vanish from there. Ups…you got me! Only for a second however, than she burst into laughter. Sorry Kirsten for this, it was all my fault.
I asked Kirsten about her favorite travels and her dreams for the future:
“Everytime I am travelling, I am the happiest and most relaxed when I am somewhere in the countryside. In matters of this I am really girlish. I love green fields with plenty of flowers, cute little farm houses and – of course – horses. Then I just start daydreaming about my own little pony farm. Someday I will live out in the flatlands of northern Germany, joined by my ponys, my dogs, my family and whoever might want to pass by and stay for a while ;-)”
Davor Jerman / Šared (Izola), Slovenia / age: 26 / student of architecture
They said that you get to know who people really are when you are in need. Well I met Davor in that kind of circumstances. I was coming to Vancouver and I had no place to sleep. I only knew Davor via Facebook. And he offered me place to stay without any hesitation. Later we became good friends and he proved his generous nature and willingness to help so many times. Lets say that this is one way to say him thanks. By posting his naked photo in the middle of the rain forest? Are you serious?
About the photo: We went to hitchhiking trip to Tofino (Vancouver Island) and it happened that we had to set our tent in the dark, here in the middle of this rain forest (2 km from Cathedral Grove). When we woke up we just realize where we are. The forest was truly magical. I though how cool nude act photography would be here in this forest. I shared the idea and Davor didn’t mind. I set out my tripod, flesh & umbrella. He start with meditation and I start with photo shooting.
Below you can listen what he has to say about things that keeps him going on in his life.
Paola Palmblad / Gävle, Sweden / age: 26 / teacher
Beauty and the beast in one person. Depends if she have her helmet on or not. Wild and uncompromising on bike, nice and calm without it. She came to Whistler just to be as close as possible to epicenter of downhill biking in British Columbia. DH biking definitely is her passion and you can listen below to hear what she thinks about it.
(Sorry for acoustic disturbances on the soundtrack)