Quebec-native Ian Boudreault left Canada at a very young age with grand plans to see the world. After making provisions to generate income online in 2002, he set off on a journey that would make him one of the world’s only digital nomads.
In his 15 years on the road, Mr Boudreault has visited over 175 of the 196 countries of the world. Recently, he arrived in Islamabad, on his first trip to country number 176. Dawn caught up with the globetrotter and asked him about his life on the road.
Q: What inspired you to leave Canada and travel around the world? Has it been worth it?
A: My dream to become a traveller started a long time ago. At the age of six, I tried to convince my father to leave my home of Canada and move to the US, but that didn’t happen.
The idea, however, stayed with me ever since! At 17, I worked two jobs at minimum wage and over 10 hours every day to save enough money for a 2-month trip around Western Europe. It was a revelation for me, and since the moment I came back, I knew I had to leave again, and again and again.
Now I have reached a point where I have dedicated my life to realising the dream of travelling to every country in the world.
I set sail on this adventure in 2005 and never looked back. Fast forward to today, more than 15 years on the road, and I’ve circled the globe more than 6 times. I have been to 176 countries, boarded over 2,000 airplanes and stayed over 5,000 nights in hotels.
Q: What are some of the challenges or hurdles you face, going from country to country?
A: At first, it was hard staying away from my family and friends for so long. But I strongly believe that there comes a point in a man’s life when he needs to take action and follow his dreams, no matter what.
Nowadays, thanks to technology, I can stay in contact with them all the time, so it’s not like if I feel far away.
The hardest part about travelling is the visas. They can become very hard to get and very expensive. Actually, the reason I have waited so long to come to Pakistan was because of the condition that I have to get it from my home country.
Since I don’t go to Canada much anymore, it had been pending for a long time. But this year, I was in Canada for the summer and decided to request the visa.
I just wish I had requested a longer time than 12 days, so I could discover the country more.
Q: What is a place that you really want to visit but have not been able to?
A: Right now, there are 20 countries left; some of which are very difficult to go to. Countries like Syria, Libya and Yemen will need to wait. But trust me, I will end up going.
Q: How has your experience been in Pakistan? What have you seen so far?
A: In the few days I have been in Pakistan, the most mind-blowing aspect has been the kindness and warmth of Pakistanis. Everybody has been very nice and I also had the chance to meet a very kind man, Ahmad, through a travel forum.
He showed me around Lahore and welcomed me to his home and introduced me to his family, where his little six-year-old girl made me a really sweet welcome card.
This was one of the most beautiful welcomes I have ever received anywhere in the world. I really enjoyed Lahore and Islamabad, especially the Badshahi Mosque, which in my opinion is the most beautiful I’ve seen around the world. I am excited to be going to the mountains around Hunza Valley, to see what everybody is talking about. I am sure I will have more than enough photo opportunities to add to my collection. I will also be writing about my experience in Pakistan in more detail after I finish my adventure here.
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2017