Canadian Travel Influencers Talk Millennial Travel

Canadian Travel Influencers Talk Millennial Travel

Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda Stancati

We all know travel provides some of the best opportunities to inspire a serious case of FOMO to those browsing our videos and photo streams. These three online influencers do it best: they introduce us to parts of the globe while we get to know them a bit better, too. 

We asked three of the country’s top travel influencers why travel is important for millennials and how they have been transformed personally through their travel experiences. Here’s an inside look at some of our fave social media personalities. 

gunnarolla | YouTube

Music and video producer Andrew Gunadie is known for his authentic, humorous hits and vibrant personality. From Cali and the Bahamas to Bangkok and Ontario adventures, @gunnarolla gives us a look into the food, landscape and stylish backdrops he experiences.

A post shared by gunnarolla (@gunnarolla) on

Why is it important for millennials to travel? How does it make us better humans?

Experiences are more important than possessions for our generation. It’s more affordable than ever to fly and we’re constantly on the lookout for cool restaurants and breathtaking landscapes to fill our social feeds and feed our souls! We know way more about the world and the human condition than our parents did, which has taught us to live in the now.

You learn so much when you travel, particularly when you travel with others. Free of the responsibilities and constraints of everyday life, you’re able to truly focus on yourself and your surroundings. You learn what you like and what you don’t like, and you start to notice things around you that you might have missed in the rush of everyday life. People are more open to making friends. Budgeting, time management, and how to keep a conversation going are skills that improve when you travel. You also learn that there might be things at home that you’ve taken for granted (or could be improved). Travel is almost always about the unknown, and you will always surprise yourself with what you’re able to do. You gain perspective, you’re reminded of how insignificant you are on this huge planet, and I’d like to think it makes you a more considerate and compassionate global citizen.

As an Asian-Canadian, you have been dealing with issues of race in your work ever since you released your viral video, Canadian, Please (or even earlier) which you followed with this video response and others. How does race come into play with travel and vlogging?

I was born and raised in Canada, and I’ve always felt more “Canadian” than “Asian”. Of course, the moment I started putting my face on the Internet and travelling outside of the country, I realized that most people think of “Canadian” as white. I’ve had to deal with a lot of racism online, from slurs to stereotypes. When appropriate, I’ve tried to turn that hate into teachable or even laughable moments. I think that race is an easy target and I get so many racist comments because I’m so vocal about my “Canadian” side. People like to challenge that.

When I travel, people never assume that I’m from Canada – you forget how diverse our country is until you step outside. When I’m in Asia, people think I’m from whatever country that I’m in. You’re not treated like a tourist, but you can’t function or communicate like a local, so you’re in this weird in-between. Travelling in Europe, people assume that I’m from China. It creates some awkward situations.

I’d love to see more diversity in the creator space, especially when it comes to travel producers. There’s a lot of value in seeing yourself represented in the content you consume, because it makes you feel like that could be you one day.

How has travel transformed you personally?

Travel has really helped me learn to live in the moment. It’s also made me a much more sociable person – I actually prefer travelling solo because it opens you up to meeting amazing people.

Two trips that I’ve taken with Contiki have really impacted my worldview. I had the chance to travel through Eastern Europe from Berlin to Warsaw on their Eastern Road trip, culminating with a trip to the Auschwitz concentration camp. I’m not a history buff but I learned so much from our guide and visiting historic sites, essentially tracing the journey of the Jewish people to their death. It’s an experience that stays with you and makes you angry when you see the same type of discrimination happening all over again in the world today.

I also travelled with Contiki to Egypt a few years ago. To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive because of everything I’d heard on the news. As it turns out, we were blown away by how welcoming and friendly the people were, and at no point did I ever feel unsafe. Of course, it helped that I was on a guided experience – and I think that’s a really important element when travelling to destinations like that. But the whole experience reminded me that everyone out there is trying to survive life, and we can’t be scared to go somewhere because of what we’re shown in the media.


Favourite place on earth: Hong Kong
Next adventure: Seoul, Kaohsiung, Tokyo – for $700 thanks to!
Life motto: Your success is your revenge
Carry on or checked bag: Both
3 travel essentials: silicone travel bottles, Lush dry perfume, Joby GorillaPod
First vacation: Charlottetown – my family drove to PEI from Ontario.
Fondest travel memory: The roadtrips I took with my family when I was younger. We’d do a different direction in Canada every year.
Best YouTube video:

Michael Rizzi | YouTube

Look to Michael Rizzi for insight on men’s lifestyle and LGBT education. Michael takes us along to Florida, Taiwan, Punta Cana, Grand Canyon National Park, and more @mikerizzi.

A post shared by MICHAEL RIZZI (@mikerizzi) on

Why is it important for millennials to travel? How does it make us better humans?

A lot of millennials that I know, including myself, are motivated by their work. We leave university only to find that we have to work much harder to find a job than our parents did. With that in mind, it’s easy for us to get caught up in a “workaholic” mindset.

Travel is so important for the millennial generation, because it removes us from our day-to-day hustle, and forces us to go on a cultural adventure. A lot of us need that push to strike a healthy balance in our lives.

How has being a gay and a millennial (or rather, Gen Z), influenced your approach to storytelling and travel experiences? Are there specific travel styles or experiences you would recommend to LGBTQ travellers?

Being a gay and millennial storyteller means that I tend to travel a little differently. Although I like to have things planned out ahead of time (what I want to see, do, eat, experience), I find that connecting with the local LGBT+ community is the best way to experience any destination. There are a lot of LGBT+ social applications that you can use to talk to the local community, and find out the best spots to visit. If you’re not comfortable talking to people via messenger apps, head to the local gay village or bar district; people are usually very friendly, and tend to know the hidden gems that you won’t find in any travel brochure.

In regard to travel styles, I would recommend doing a bit of research on your destination, specifically the safety of LGBT+ people. A lot of Western LGBT+ people don’t live in fear that their sexuality or gender identity will become public, but that’s not the case for all countries. A little bit of research on your destination will go a long way, trust me.

How has travel transformed you personally?

Simply put, travel has put me outside of my comfort zone. Growing up in the GTA suburbs, comfort was always my most important feeling. While travelling, things are constantly changing and adapting, and that keeps the traditional feeling of “comfort” on its toes.

I recently travelled to Spain on Contiki’s Spanish Spree trip, alongside 50 other travellers. I don’t think anything could have put me outside of my comfort zone than that. Would I make friends? Would people want to hang out with me? Too many internal questions that freaked me out! To my surprise, my Spain trip transformed me in a positive way. By the end of the trip, I found myself a more social and outgoing person. I went to bars, socialized with locals, and made personal connections with other people on my tour. As such, travel has been the most effective way to break up my day-to-day routine, and force me to become a better person. Super cheesy, but very true.


Favourite place on earth: Canada!! No matter how much I travel, nothing will beat it.
Next adventure: Denmark – it was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, so I’ve always wanted to visit.
Life motto: “I need to come up with a life motto”
Carry on or checked bag: Carry on.
3 travel essentials: Portable phone charger, a spacious backpack, reusable water bottle!
First vacation: Italy
Fondest travel memory: Dancing will locals at a gay bar in Granada until 4am.
Best YouTube video: Of mine? Check out my travel vlog in Spain!

Hey Nadine | YouTube

Nadine Sykora is a lifestyle video blogger who has recently travelled to Greece, Finland, Russia and beyond. Her picture-perfect feed, @heynadine makes us want to pack our bags – like, now!

A post shared by Nadine Sykora (@heynadine) on

Why is it important for millennials to travel? How does it make us better humans?

Travel makes us appreciate where we live, where other people live and how their lives are different from ours. It does that because we get to experience their world first hand, not just read about it, but see it. Experience is everything because people care about what impacts them. I’d love to say empathy is universal, but for millennials, the universe is huge and we are bombarded each day with news and images, and articles, what’s real, what’s fake, it’s all hard to tell. But when you travel and you see something first hand, you know it’s true, it’s real and it then becomes more important to you. Even when you leave, that place and those people each shape who you will be, one by one, and the choices you’ll make later in life.

As one of the top female travel vloggers and keynote speaker at the 2016 Women in Travel Summit, what prompted you to travel full time? What have you learned along the way as a female traveller?

Traveling full-time is kind of a misleading term. I am not fully nomadic, I do have a home base, and therefore there are times I am not traveling. Days, weeks and sometimes months. But I do travel for my job, and that I love and when I was able to turn my passion for travel into my job, then that would be when I started traveling full time. Now what I’ve learnt along the way is far too much to type in a single paragraph, but the biggest takeaway as a female is that you can do WAY more by yourself than you think you can. I became such a stronger person from travelling, something I never could have done while just staying at home.

How has travel transformed your personally?

Travel has made me more independent, and way more patient. I’m so much more confident in my decisions, and I’m able to make them faster and with ease. I can logically deduce situations and plan far better than before. As for patience, travel comes with its own sets of hurdles each and every day, so you learn how to problem solve them. They are like mini puzzles, and by travelling you become a puzzle master.


Favourite place on earth: Switzerland
Next adventure: Jamaica
Life motto: Be a YES person.
Carry on or checked bag: Checked.
3 travel essentials: Rainjacket, dry shampoo, good walking shoes.
First vacation: LA!
Fondest travel memory: Travelling with my dad to the house his dad built and he grew up in the Czech Republic.
Best YouTube video: not best, but favourite at the moment

Ready to go? Check out Contiki Holidays’ unique tours for ages 18-35!

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