[Catchy jingle plays] Hello folks I'm Rich Terfry and welcome back to CBC's new hit radio series "Breaking Backpackers" where we try and really understand the inner workings of the backpacker mind. They may seem strange to some of our listeners with their flip flop tans and propensity to yell "Cheers!" in various languages at odd times of the day, but we think there may be something we can learn from these wanderers. Our guest today is one of Free and Easy's newest leaders. She's calling in from a beach in Thailand today. Let's welcome Nieva Burns
Rich: Nieva! Welcome to Breaking Backpackers! Tell me where you are right now.
Nieva: Well Rich, I'm currently on my favourite beach in Thailand called Haad Yuan. It's on an island called Koh Phangan and I love to come here to relax in my hammock.
R: What is it with you backpackers and your hammocks? Is it really that great to dangle in those things?
N: Rich there is no better way on this earth I have found to relax. The second you lie in a hammock your mind just goes straight to the clouds. You should try it!
R: Ha, maybe I will have to set one up somewhere in my yard once it warms up. What's the weather like where you are?
N: To be honest I'm sweating out of places I didn't even know you could sweat! The back of my hands and there's even sweat coming...
R: Let me cut you off there Nieva we don't want to alarm our listeners. They can smell you from here I think [audience laughs]. So tell me how you got into travelling.
N: Well, I was born in Calgary, Alberta. My parents love travelling so we went to lots of cool places when my sister and I were little so I guess you could say that's when I caught the travel bug, and yes it is contagious! [laughs] But I've always loved the idea of having everything you need right there with you, ready to explore new and exciting places. My sister and my favourite game as kids was 'Trip Around the World' where we'd pack suitcases and go around our backyard to as many countries as we could name.
R: Sounds like you're still playing that game! Tell us about how you became involved with Free and Easy.
N: I heard about FNEZ through my friends Marie-Claire and Shaye, and the way they described was exactly how I love to travel, with a group of awesome people to epic places. I'd done lots of trips on my own to many places in Europe and South America, to Ghana and Tunisia, to the States, but never with group trips. It's been amazing to find FNEZ because it's such a great way to see the world with like-minded people! My favourite part about travelling is how genuine people are and how open to new experiences they become when they're away from what's familiar.
R: So it's pretty clear you love travelling, but is there anything about it that you dislike?
N: I'm not going to lie, it's sometimes really hard being away from my family and friends, but the way things are going, all my friends are wanderers like me so we find each other in random places anyways! The things people think they'd hate about travelling often make for the best stories anyways- broken down busses, funny sunburns, not recognizing the food on your plate, wearing bathing suits instead of underwear...
R: Alright, alright we don't need all the gory details. Tell us what you do back home.
N: Other than daydream about travelling? I'm a Registered Nurse with experience in psychiatry, labour and delivery and community health. And when I'm not doing that I work as a camp counsellor for kids so you can bet I'm always down for a fun game.
R: Do you have any advice for people coming out to travel with you?
N: Come with an open mind! You never know what going to happen so roll with the punches. Everyone has the ability to be a backpacker, but it all starts with your own free and easy mindset. Oh yeah, and pack light!
R: Well, it sounds like you love what you do and I'm sure some of our listeners are itching to get to Haad Yuan for some frisbee tossing.
N: You betcha! I can't wait to get to know all of you and show you around to all my favourite places. Cheers!