Matt and Karla Bailey are the husband/wife duo behind the award-winning Must Do Canada, one of Canada’s top travel websites and Youtube channels. For Canada’s 150th birthday a few years ago, they embarked on a 150-day Canadian road trip, driving coast to coast (to coast!) to make a 12-part travel series and mini-documentary about what makes Canada special. That 12-part series became a hit and was the launch of their Youtube channel, which now has 58,000 subscribers and more than 5M views.
Join us on this adventure talking about their 150-day road trip across Canada as well as some differences between Mexico (where Karla is from) and Canada, and what it’s like to balance remote work and travel.
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How Must Do Canada Got its Start
We started off the conversation with a discussion about Must Do Canada’s humble beginnings. We touched on things like:
- What it’s like to start a travel blog in the early days (and with a dose of 20/20 hindsight).
- How the seeds for Must Do Canada were planted.
- How Matt realized he hadn’t discovered his own backyard (being the Rocky Mountains of Alberta) until he was hiking in New Zealand and was asked about it!
Matt and Karla Bailey, and Their Intercultural Relationship
Never one to mince my words, I dug right in and asked some probing questions about Matt and Karla and their relationship. Things like:
- How Matt and Karla met and managed a relationship from different countries, before Karla moved permanently to Canada.
- What Karla’s family in Mexico thinks of their travel-centric lifestyle and career.
- Differences between life and career opportunities in Mexico vs. Canada (it might surprise you).
Their 150-Day Road Trip Across Canada
It didn’t take long before the star of this show made an appearance and we spoke about many things, like:
- The cost of their five-month road trip across Canada.
- How you can keep costs down if you are traveling through Canada.
- The enormous size of Canada and distances between things.
- Tips for visiting the Northern Territories (including Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut).
- Being the first people to drive the new all-season road (the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway): the first all-weather road to Canada’s Arctic Coast.
- How they visited Nunavut a few years later (since there are no roads to Nunavut).
- The challenges of road-tripping in Canada during the winter and off-seasons.
- How some remote/seasonal destinations (like Dawson City) change in the winter and what the tourists never see.
- The pros and cons of off-season / shoulder-season travel in Canada.
Canadian Road Trip Highlights
Whether you’re road-tripping or not, these are just a few of the many highlights Matt and Karla singled out as favourite experiences (with links to their videos about each):
- Snorkeling with Beluga whales in Churchill Manitoba (which is typically known for polar bears).
- Tidal rafting in Nova Scotia (which is consistently a Canadian highlight when I speak to people who have done it but when I watch videos of people doing this they look pretty miserable in the moment!).
- Whale watching off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia
- Chilling with grizzly bears on an Indigenous reserve (also on Vancouver Island).
- Nahani National Park (which is touted as Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and the Rocky Mountains all in one – and which gets only 1,000 visitors per year).
- We also touched on our mutual love of Newfoundland, comparing endearing experiences. (See also: My Experience on an Expedition Cruise Around Newfoundland).
Working Remotely While Traveling Canada
As usual I probed my guests about the nuances of remote while whilst traveling through Canada. We discussed:
- Keeping up with a website, YouTube channel, and social media while traveling.
- How the experience of winter in Canada has changed with the ability to work remotely.
- The challenges of remote work in remote areas of Canada (for example, never assume you’ll have cell service!).
Watch my Interview with Matt and Karla Bailey of Must Do Canada!
Click here to watch the video, or just press play below:
When I asked Matt and Karla for resources for people planning a trip to Canada, they said their site has it all! They worked very hard to make Must Do Canada a comprehensive resource with everything you need to know to plan your next trip to Canada.