Mixing in serious travel adventures with community work has swept Canadian traveler Josh Henry to nearly 70 countries across the globe.
Alongside his travels he's co-founded GiveBack GiveAway a social enterprise that explores the importance of community building and traveling.
In today's Venque Traveler, we caught up with Josh in Bangkok Thailand to see how he transitioned from being a regular 9-5 guy to a modern day adventurer—here's what he had to say.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you started traveling?
My name is Josh Henry. I grew up in a tiny town called Fort Frances, Ontario which I believe was a strong driving factor for me to go out and see the world. I’ve been pretty close to full time travelling for the last 10 years. I’ve traveled to six continents and coming up on 70 countries.
I’ve worked around the world doing some fun things and some odd things, I once worked on a camel farm in Austria. After bouncing around the globe a bit I returned to Canada in 2016 to compete in a reality show called Canada’s Greatest Explorer, where 12 individuals from all around the country competed in various outdoor challenges in 3 provinces. I’m happy to say that I won the show and the title.
In 2017 I co-founded 'GiveBack GiveAway', a social enterprise that merges meaningful giving back with incredible adventures with one of my best friends.
Could you tell us a bit about givebackgiveaway.com and how you are involved in it?
The GiveBack GiveAway is something that started out as a quirky idea and passion project.
"The idea was we wanted to make a lasting, meaningful impact on the lives of people in the places we visited."
We came up with the concept of running trips that blended a give-back project; like building a school, a learning centre, a medical centre, or a library. These projects are worth about $10,000 USD and truly benefits the community and last for generations. The second part of the trips is to have the most brilliant adventure holiday ever and see the best of what that country has to offer.
Part of the money you spend to come on a GiveBack GiveAway goes directly into funding the project and the other portion we crowdfund. The benefit of donating to one of our projects is we give away a free trip every time. All you have to do is donate and you are entered into the free trip giveaway.
What has been one of the most memorable aspects of your travels so far?
One of the most exciting and most memorable experiences I’ve had in my travels happened when I was travelling through Mauritania. The country is pretty much desert land and is one of the least visited countries on the planet. After a few nights visiting ancient towns and sleeping in Bedouin camps under the stars we took a train to the coast. This train wasn’t a passenger train though, it was a cargo train used to transport iron ore. So after a day of sitting and waiting for this train in the middle of nowhere, just as the sun was setting the train approached. It only stopped for a few minutes and we had just enough time to throw our bags up and climb onto the stacks of grounded down iron. As the train began to move we could see silhouettes of camels and millions of stars begin to shine down on the low mountains. We rode that open, dusty, noisy train for 12 hours through the night and in the morning I had never been so dirty and so thrilled in all my life.
What's a valuable lesson you've learned along the way either about yourself or in general about travelling?
It’s funny, as I get older my travels have changed and what I want from a travel experience has changed. I’ve gone from budget backpacking in Europe and Southeast Asia where I just wanted to party, meet people from around the world and stretch every dollar as far as I could. To then seeking out more untapped adventure, things that not many people of seen or done, to wanting to have a profession in the travel industry and to now running my own trips and tours that can leave an impact on the places we visit.
When I look back I can see that at times my life felt very directionless. We all have those days, weeks, sometimes months were it just feels like our life is not the one we are supposed to be living. I learned that those experiences and following my internal compass have eventually lead me to something I’m proud of and something I love.
Would you have any advice and tips for travelers in general? And for those who might want to be more involved and make a positive impact in some way would you have any advice for them?
Travel experiences come and go quickly. Whether you only get a two-week holiday or you have been on a road indefinitely. Eventually, you look back and it seems like so long ago. My advice would be to make sure you’re relishing in the good of your travels and don’t sweat the small stuff or dwell on the negatives.
For those people that want to do some good with travel, GiveBack GiveAway offers trips all around the world where you can directly impact lives in the places you visit. It’s awesome to see that there are more and more people that are consciously choosing to do meaningful travel and leave a positive difference with their adventures. I’m excited about the future.
To connect with Josh visit his channels below!