An Interview with Robin Esrock, Renowned Travel Writer and Vancouverite (Free Book Giveaway!)


Vancouver-based Robin Esrock is a renowned travel writer, author, speaker, and host of the OLN/CityTV/Travel Channel series, Word Travels. Former adventure columnist for the Globe & Mail, MSN, Vancouver Sun and others, Robin has MC’d the Explorer’s Club Annual Dinner in New York, written for publications including National Geographic Traveler, The Guardian and Chicago Tribune, and been profiled by everyone from the CBC to CNN. After traveling to over 100 countries, Robin turned his attention to Canada for his first major book, The Great Canadian Bucket List. Spanning all 10 provinces and 3 territories, Robin has created the definite guide to 115 experiences one must do, and can only do, in Canada before you die.

Name: Robin Esrock

How do you describe yourself?:
Roguish multimedia gonzo journalist with a knack for telling good stories, getting stuff done, and ending up in places I probably shouldn’t.

Where are your from, why did you move here, how long have you been a Vancouverite?:
I was born and raised in South Africa, and moved to Vancouver in 1999, primarily because it is the opposite of all things Johannesburg.

Why did you write the “Great Canadian Bucket List”?:
Canadians don’t appreciate what they’re sitting on. Right here, in our own backyard, we’ve got the most incredible experiences you can’t do anywhere else in the world, period. I wrote about some of them for a Canada Day column in the Globe & Mail. A publisher approached me about turning it into a book. I couldn’t believe nobody had done it before! I insisted that I actually do these things first, so spent 18 months traveling around the country to tick off the national bucket list.

What are your “bucket list” items for Vancouver?:
Remember, these have to be things you can’t do anywhere else. So while I love Granville Island, you can find a gourmet food market in just about every major city in the world. What you can’t find is Wreck Beach. Or the Seawall. Or the Grouse Grind.

You have family from South Africa and Brazil. Where do you take your rellies when they come to visit?:
Take anyone for a walk or bike ride around Stanley Park on a sunny day and they quickly stop asking why you moved to Vancouver. I love leading a walk in the Endowment Lands or Lighthouse Park, or taking a stroll on Spanish Banks. It’s important to show visitors, no matter where they come from, places and sites they’ve never seen before.

Hidden gem or secret haunt in Vancouver:
My favourite restaurant, Jambo Grill, on Kingsway. Spicy East African-Indian fusion. The jungle ribs, homemade peri-peri sauce and spiced nylon mogo are mind-blowing.

Favourite festival or annual event:
I’m a big fan of the Car Free Days. It’s wonderful to see how quickly the event has grown, and how the neighbourhoods differ, but still have something “Vancouver” about them. The city is crying out for more free, accessible community events.

We’re giving away a copy of The Great Canadian Bucket List, Robin’s first major book! All you have to do is post a comment below and we’ll randomly select a winner on Wednesday, October 16th and notify the winner by email.
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46 Responses to An Interview with Robin Esrock, Renowned Travel Writer and Vancouverite (Free Book Giveaway!)

  1. Gillian

    Awesome giveaway!! I met Robin a few years back when he was giving a travel tips talk in a little cafe in Vancouver. Great guy with LOADS of great advice.

  2. Brianna Hooker

    I would love to win this book!! :)

  3. mike miedzinski

    People always start to prepare a bucket list of things they want to do, but sometimes they never complete. The book you have done sounds like the perfect book to sit down and read, prepare my own bucket list and take the time to get to know Canada. I have travelled to the east coast but there were gems that I did not see due to timing. Would love to be able to get your book and prepare my list with enthusiasm.

  4. kay

    Loved this interview

  5. Sveta


  6. Dani @2012blogger

    Perfect! Lets get to know this great great country of ours! Knowing your own back yard enhances your experience NOW + you’ll naturally promote it to family & friends :)

  7. Trish

    I am a huge fan of Robin Esrock and all of his work! Looking forward to reading the book.

  8. Debra Walker

    Robin is one of the reasons that I am embarking on my own travel writing career. His non-sense reporting combined with a keen wit makes you want to go out there and do it. That plus I am tired of hearing about what Vancouver is not and it is refreshing to hear what Vancouver is. Thank you.

  9. Mel J

    he has the best job in the world!

  10. Love that he loves his job!

  11. M. Soleil

    I’d like this book please!

  12. Ian

    Great interview! I’ve watched word travels before and it definitely is one of the more unique travel programs out there.

  13. Marcel

    Great to read, I really envy Canadian people who live in the most beautiful country in the world. You appreciate something when it’s not there anymore, so appreciate it that you are so gifted!!

  14. Lina

    love to read book!!!

  15. Heather

    When we moved to Vancouver from SA in ’98 we had two toddlers in tow, so we haven’t had much opportunity to travel this vast country (other than for hockey and lacrosse tournaments!) This book sounds like a great guide to help us get started, now that we have more time for ourselves.

  16. Calvina

    Love that we get to explore our beautiful backyard – filled with gorgeous mountains and stunning landscapes across the country. Looking forward to reading this book!

  17. Shirley

    I would love to win the book.

  18. Cat

    I have done so much more travelling outside my country than within it. Would love to see what’s on the bucket list!

  19. Robyn

    He’s right, we have so many wonderful things to do here in Canada! I’d love to read this book to see what he has listed.

  20. Soph

    I would love this book.

  21. Abigail

    OH CANADA! What a great idea.

  22. Lori

    In Robin I trust to guide me through the best parts of Canada!

  23. Carlos

    A free book? Why, yes, please!

  24. Wendy

    I want!!! Hope i win and Hope i can also discover all the nice things to see and do on my own :)

  25. micky

    would love to win!

  26. I’m a Vancouverite who actually grew up here, and I enjoy taking visiting tourists to the Suspension Bridge (they like taking pictures in the village with totem poles and walk across the bridge), Cypress Mountain look out point at night is gorgeous, Bin 942 for tapas and Death by Chocolate for dessert as well as Cafe Salade De Fruits for the yummiest French food (mussles & stake), followed by farmer’s market then straight to Front & Company on Main Street for shopping. WordTravel is a great show and I wish Robin all the success for his hardwork.

  27. Grace

    Finally! Been a big fan of Robin Esrock since Word Travels.

  28. Isaac

    Looks like a great book for a new Canadian!

  29. James

    Sounds like an interesting read!



  31. Jesse

    Can’t wait to read the book, sounds great!

  32. Barry McMeekan

    As an early follower of your GONZO exploits I’d Really love to have your Bucket List adventure epic!!!


  33. Angela

    Huge fan of Robin’s. Amazing poetic storyteller. Would love to follow in his footsteps!

  34. Dee

    I think your new travel book will be hugely successful as it focuses on new cultures and first-hand experiences rather than just getting there. Well done, Robin!

  35. Teresa K

    I’d love to win.

  36. Bonnie Sibley

    What a great idea for a book. I love Canada and would like to see more of it. Now I have a list!

  37. DH

    Great interview!

  38. KF

    Love Word Travels, and would love to read this book.

  39. Elena

    sounds like a great book to discover Canada!

  40. Wally

    Thanks for the chance.

  41. M Wong

    I would love to read the book ! Sounds so interesting.

  42. Mag

    We live in such a beautiful province and I would like to find out what I have missed.

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  45. lori beattyz

    would love this book

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