As you travel between Vancouver, Kelowna, Banff & the new Venice Beach you may see these friendly faces popping around our backpacker hostels. We pride ourselves on providing the most fun & enjoyable hosteling experience, and as travelers ourselves, we understand what is important. Many of our management team have dedicated their lives to traveling, exploring new corners of the world, meeting fellow like-minded adventurers & bringing that energy back into the Samesun hostels in Canada. The amazing experiences you get when heading outside your comfort zone and visiting places you’d never been before are shared between our staff and our guests. It’s all for the love of traveling! We get it!
If you’re interested in what it takes to run a hostel and who the crazy cats are…. introducing the team!
lives Kelowna, BC
Position: Head Cheese of Samesun Nation
What is your best traveling experience? I’ve been to 36 countries and love them all. Top 3 are Australia (people), Ireland (people), and Greece (beach/food/weather/landscape). The U.S. is good too, so much diversity.
What do you love about hostels? I love that everyone in a hostel is chill. At least almost always. If you’re a wanker in a hostel, you’re a lonely wanker.
What do you never travel without? My iphone. It’s not very exciting, but it’s true: music, phone, internet, email, GPS, camera, games… one stop shop!
from Victoria, Canada
Position: I’m generally just kept around for my sport talking abilities, but I’m also found loitering around the Vancouver location. As long as I have a clipboard, I look busy.
What is your best traveling experience? I was in Dar Es Salaam and was convinced that everyone at the ferry port to Zanzibar was trying to rip me off, which they probably were. I ended up booking the cheapest boat possible. Turned out to be a freight ship and took 8 hours instead of 2 to get to the island. But I got to mingle with the locals and watch a soccer game on a fuzzy TV on the boat. One of the locals asked where I was from and I said Vancouver. They all started whispering and pointing at me. Turns out the teams playing were the national team of Tanzania and the Vancouver Whitecaps. So I was the white guy on the boat cheering against the team everyone else was cheering for. The game ended 0-0 but it broke the ice with me and the boat for the rest of the day. There are worse places to be than a slow boat in the Indian Ocean.
What do you love about hostels? That it’s normal to be instant best friends over a beer with the person you just met in your dorm. Travel is the common denominator.
What do you never travel without? The will and desire to get outside of your comfort zone.
from Belgium, via Australia & greedy holder of 3 passports
Position: Graphic designer & social media chatter box
What is your best traveling experience? Planning a solo backpacking adventure from Vancouver to Peru along the West Coast – and finding myself still in Vancouver four & a half years later. Thanks to Samesun and Moose Travel for finding me my new home! Travel is my life!
What do you love about hostels? The buzz of so many different energies makes it always an exciting place.
What do you never travel without? Hiking boots. After 3 volcano hikes in Indonesia & two years living in the Rocky Mountains – I will climb anything!
from Prarie Girl – turned West Coast Hippie – turned Rogue of the Rockies (Canada)
Position: Ringmaster of the Banff 3 Ringed Circus – Samesun Banff
What is your best traveling experience? My best one I can’t talk about for fear of legal repercussions, so here’s another good one.
When I was 20 and living in Edinburgh I made friends with an Italian guy who went by the name Picasso: he was a nice guy but we were by no means close friends. One night, over a bottle of Pisco Capel in the hostel common room, he mentioned that he was planning a trip back to Italy to see his family. Having never been to Italy, I told him I was hoping to travel there someday soon, he suggest that I join him. It sounded like a great idea, but I didn’t take him seriously because of the vast amounts of alcohol we were consuming. I forgot about the conversation until a week before his trip when I ran into him and he asked if I still wanted to come. I was surprised that he even remembered the conversation, but I was intrigued about the opportunity too see Italy through the eyes of a local, so I talked it over with my boyfriend and decided it would be silly not to take what was probably a once in a life time opportunity. What’s the point of traveling if you don’t embrace a bit of spontaneity?
The next day I was in the suburbs of Turin eating pizza and pasta with Picasso’s extended family and exploring the historic city. The only problem was that the closest I had ever come to speaking Italian was a few years of French Immersion in high school. Basically I spent a lot of my time meeting locals and trying to get the gist of what was happening, but pretty much just smiling and nodding. His family seemed to really take to me though: his mother and his grandmother even gave me some really beautiful pieces of jewelry as a gift. It wasn’t until after I returned home and told some friends about the trip that I realized something was a little strange about his family’s interaction with me. Looking back, I realized that they must have believed I was his girlfriend who he had brought home to meet the family. Because he was the one translating all the interaction between his family and myself, I thought everything was innocent. But they very well could have been talking about anything: they certainly seemed to take me in as a part of their family. To this day, I still don’t know what he told them. Either way, it was one of the best (and confusing) experiences I’ve had to get a taste of Italian life… and what it would be like to marry into an Italian family.
What do you love about hostels? The biggest reason is the people. In a hostel it takes about 35 seconds of talking to your roommate with a quick exchange of nationalities and where you’ve been/where you’re going before you decide to share some beers, and then spend the next few days with them exploring whatever city you’re in, head to the next city with them (or to meet their family). That’s how I’ve met most of my best friends in the world. Now I spend a lot of time traveling to visit people around the globe.
What do you never travel without? The lightest backpack possible.
from St. Albert, Alberta
Position: GM Samesun Vancouver & The Beaver Bar (just trying to look busier than Pete)
What is your best traveling experience? We (4 people) charted a sail boat to get us from Roatan, Honduras to Caye Caulker, Belize. Seems extravagant, but believe it or not it was less than half the flight and only a few bucks more than a ferry & a 15 hour bus ride, plus it was ALL-INCLUSIVE: big score! 1st night on the boat we had 15 foot swells and for a 40 foot catamaran that’s pretty big. My wife, my friends, and even the 1st mate were all sea sick. Luckly for me I wasn’t, so the Captain and I ate everyone’s lobster dinners and killed a bottle of rum. It was very pirate of us. The next 3 days were smooth sailing and everyone was feeling fine. The crystal blue waters were amazing and the scenery was breath taking. We stopped at 2 islands on the way, Utila and the island of Half Moon Caye. Utila, was interesting… great diving spots, but with let’s just say quirky people, Half Moon Caye was a national park home to the red footed boobies; amazing birds! On the final day we were cruising at 10 knots and soaking in the sun on the trampoline, when a pod of dolphins joined us for a while. Pretty amazing to see them wide and free, just playing in the waves. What an amazing trip!!
What do you never travel without? My wife.
Alasdair Butcher (a.k.a. Doc Butch, Savage Butcher, Ali)
from Vancity original. The few, the proud…
Position: Roaming Bison
What is your best traveling experience? Scaling a 3000m volcano & scuba diving 20m below in 24 hours in Indonesia. Breaking fast with a bowl of harira in Morocco. The smell of octopus on the grill after peeling off the tentacles with a vege peeler in Greece. Spice plantations in Zanzibar. Soccer in Barcelona and Manchester. How do you pick one?
What do you love about hostels? They’re like the UN of budget travelers!
What do you never travel without? Duct tape and a head lamp.
from Vancouver, BC
Position: American Expansion
What is your best traveling experience? Road tripping in a decrepit van (affectionately named Merv the Love Toaster) up the west coast of Australia, followed by a backpacking stint through Southeast Asia.
What do you love about hostels? They are one big, inclusive, amazing social experiment. I find hostels are the best places on earth for travelers to “be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those you matter don’t mind.” Thanks Dr Seuss.
What do you never travel without? A Swiss Army knife. Extra fun if you forget it’s in your carry-on before you get to customs. Oh, and portable music.
from Blue Mountains, Australia…. soon to be Canadian resident!
Position: GM Kelowna – head zoo keepers
What is your best traveling experience? It all started with some drinks at the hostel bar in Vancouver with Mr BGD, he was telling me about his road trip to Alaska leaving in just 2 days, a trip which I had planned for later in the year. He told me I should join! Working at the Samesun Van at this point, Pete (see above) kindly gave me time off with not much notice. Next thing I knew I was flying to meet them in Anchorage. 3 weeks around Alaska in a van then back down the inside passage on a ferry to Vancouver Island. Waking up on the passenger deck on the ferry with views of glaciers and whales, seeing the Northern Lights, moose & bears were just incredible. Hiking off into Denali National Park for the night back country style, with wolves running round out tents at night. Being lucky enough to see the Mt McKinley in full the next day. All the camping adventures on the side of the road with a bongo, guitar and a campfire. The most amazing trip I’ve ever done, and it was all due to the randomness of a new friend I’d made at Samesun and a few beers…!
What do you never travel without? An open mind.
from Vancouver, BC
Position: Venice Beach Don
from Port Colbourne, Ontario
Position: Assistant Manager Kelowna – aka making Leanne look good
What is your best traveling experience? If you drink enough beer, you can go to Hawaii. At least, that’s what I learned in Banff. One month, my local watering hole held a contest, the ‘tour of the taps’ and it was a grand spectacle. They gave you a passport you see, and all you had to do was drink around the world… of taps! Well, after my friend Brendan and I managed to finish 5 passports, we packed our bags and claimed our prize; a trip to Hawaii. For Valentine’s Day… together. Huzzah. So what do two single guys do in Hawaii for Valentine’s Day? Well, we charted a moonlight dinner cruise in hopes of meeting single ladies, which, as it turns out, do not take moonlit dinner cruises. What followed was a a night similar to the plot of ‘I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry’ only with more coconut blended drinks… good times.
What do you never travel without? A towel.
from The land where the grass is green and the sky is…. grey; Wales
Position: Manager of The Beaver Bar, Banff
What is your best traveling experience? Taking a weekend trip to Banff, and a week later quitting my job in Vancouver and hitching a ride on the back of a motor cycle with my backpack and a guy I didn’t know. We took a three day road trip from Vancouver back to Banff so I could come and work at The Samesun! Riding through the Rocky Mountains on a motor cycle was beautiful, exciting, amazing and scary all at the scary all at the same time! (Disclaimer – Kids, don’t get on the back of a bike with a stranger).
What do you never travel without? Apart from my iPhone, I always take my running shoes with me… I love having somewhere brand new to run and what better way to get your bearings.
Position: Beaver Bar Manager Vancouver
What is your best traveling experience? Nothing too outrageous. Some thing I loved are: getting lost in the narrow maze-like streets of Seville, hanging out with the ‘gators on the bayou in Louisianna, Sipping limoncello amongst the lemon groves in Amalfi, Standing in the room where Elvis, Jerry Lee and Johnny Cash jammed together so many years ago at Sun Studio in Memphis, riding a bike through the hills of Tuscany….and there are sooooooo many more!
What do you never travel without? My iPhone and waaaaaaaaay too many clothes