Jay, 25 years old, was born and raised in Burlington, Ontario, Canada but recently moved out west to Banff, Alberta to live in the mountains. He went to school to be a Phys. Ed. teacher but is currently a Golf Pro, Amateur Photographer and Adventurer!
Beth, the other half of Explore Different, is 22 years old and was born and raised in the small farm town of Beamsville, Ontario, Canada. She also recently uprooted her entire life to move out to beautiful Banff, Alberta where she spends her days hiking mountains and working full time in the hospitality industry.
They have been together since 2015 and have been adventuring with one another ever since!
What inspired you to drop everything and live a life of adventure and travel?
We for a long time would spend an hour before bed every night scrolling through travel Instagram accounts fantasizing about being the ones hanging out on the edge of an infinity pool, or climbing mountains. We would sit there like “I wish we could do that” with the mentality that for some reason it was so unattainable. One day while I (Jay) was at work, Beth applied to and accepted a contract to work in the mountains on the other side of the country. We had a chat that night and decided that it was time to stop making excuses for not doing the things that we wanted to do, and instead to go out into the world and explore something different from what we were used to.
That’s how our personal brand of @ExploreDifferent was born. I quickly found a new job out west and within a month we were living in a tiny house in the mountains (like the kind on TV) and had started our adventure, with the main goal of just doing what made us happy.
How has this new lifestyle changed you?
Well we haven’t quit the 9-5, and we don’t make any money from social media (although we have taken advantage of some hook-ups with hotels and small brands). We still both work seasonal jobs that we enjoy during Canadian summer. The main change has been moving travel/adventure/exploring to the top of the priority list. Which has in turn made us better at managing our money, instead of going out for dinner we try to home cook, we make less impulse buys, we are just more critical of what we spend our money on.
Someone not long ago asked us how we afford this new lifestyle, and we said it’s really not any more expensive than how we lived before; it’s just that before we wasted the money on clothes at the mall or video games etc. Now we make our adventures the top priority and if there’s money left over after, then we go buy that new Lululemon hoodie. We would also have to say that we are much more patient and appreciative of our lives, we do a lot of reflecting and still look at our own Instagram finding it hard to believe that its actually us in the photos.
Where have your adventures taken you, and where have been some of the most memorable places you have been?
In the 11 months since starting @ExploreDifferent we have been to:
Mexico – Feb 2017
Cross Country Drive of Canada (Toronto to Vancouver) – April 2017
Living in the Rocky Mountains – May-October 2017
Northern Thailand – December 2017
Laos – December 2017
Vietnam – January 2018
Bali -February 2018
Southern Thailand – March 2018
Some of our favourite locations have been:
Everywhere in Bali & Banff National Park
Lying Dragon Mountain (Tam Coc, Vietnam)
Sunset at the White Buddha (Pai, Thailand)
Blue Lagoon & Devils Tear (Nusa Lembongan, Bali)
Tobermory, Ontario (clearest water we’ve seen to date)
Starfish Beach (Phu Quoc, Vietnam)
What are some of the best stories from your adventures so far?
Wow thats tough! Theres so many cool things we wish we could share. We have had some cool encounters with wildlife in the mountains and those moments are always memorable. But one story that stands out and holds some symbolism for us, happened in Pakbeng, Laos. While taking the slow boat on the Mekong river from Thailand to Laos, you have to stop for one night in a really small village called Pakbeng. It’s right on the river and surrounded by mostly jungle, so quite rural as you might imagine. Beth thought she was being clever and saving some money by not booking the hotel suggested by our boat company and instead finding something herself for a bit cheaper. As we were following google maps, Beth points to a building that looks more like the early stages of a barn being built and jokingly announces “Here it is! Our fancy hotel!” Low and behold that was our hotel. The room had a mattress and thats about it, there were bugs everywhere, and the walls were literally held up by duct tape in several spots. We survived the night and were rewarded by waking up to two elephants playing in the river right outside our window! It really opened our eyes to how privileged and spoiled we are at home, and we’ve since learned to be more patient and open to new experiences.
What are your goals in sharing your adventures?
It started as just a way to keep our families updated. But now, our outward goals would be to inspire people to realize that you don’t really have to be a millionaire or quit your job to get out there and ‘explore something different’ it could be just a weekend trip an hour away, or a months long world tour; the only thing stopping you is your own excuses. Beth likes to say “if we were meant to be in one place we would have roots, but we don’t …we have feet.”
As for personal goals, it would be nice to grow and leverage our brand as a means to fund more adventures and open doors to new experiences. We have been throwing around the idea of maybe putting our logo onto some shirts and stickers and seeing what happens. Until then we will keep counting our pennies and trying to get creative with it.
Why do you think travel and adventure can make a positive impact on people’s lives? Why would you encourage other people to explore more?
Follow them on Instagram: @exploredifferent
At This Adventure Life we celebrate the lives and stories of the people who live life fearlessly. #livefearlessly