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Toshimi Jan Muniz grew up adventuring and travelling the world. His parents spent time in Kenya, Nigeria, Canada and Japan before raising him in the Dominican Republic.

Today, Toshimi is a wedding photographer based in Montreal, Quebec. He spends his downtime in the winter months travelling internationally. “I love Montreal, but it gets pretty cold here, so I’d fly down to Central America, the Caribbean or Europe for a few months and go backpacking,” he says. “New Zealand was wild. You point your camera anywhere, and it almost gets tiring—it’s just so beautiful.”

This past summer, Toshimi took the opportunity to explore Canada’s vast adventure playground and get to know the country he now calls home. He decided to spend three months travelling through Western Canada in a van, and made an effort to seek out local gems and new activities along the way. He learned about an adventure-sharing app, Yervana, through a friend and was excited to try it out.

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His first adventure with Yervana was with Kevin Bradshaw. It was a kayaking tour of the bay in Ucluelet. “I had been on a whale watching tour the day before, and both tours were surprisingly educational. Yes, it’s fun, and you’re exploring, but the locals live there. They care about what makes their area important: the eagles, the salmon, the overfishing, the old-growth forests… I learned so much through these tours.”

Toshimi mentions that a lot of this knowledge is stuff you can’t find on Google. “It’s like having the inside scoop,” he says. “We all went out and had a beer at the local brewery, and they told me there was a live show on. There’s a whole bunch of stuff happening in every town, city or area that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.”

photoToshimi Jan Muniz

He says Yervana’s Locals make the adventure more interesting. “You cut down on your research time and get to see a unique experience before it pops up on Instagram. Locals will always know best.”

Locals will also be able to pivot easier, so you don’t get stuck on an unpleasant trip in bad weather or on an uber-crowded trail. If you don’t know how to do an activity, you can learn and try something new—with a professional who is an expert in the area.

“When we went mountain climbing in Jasper, we learned the Local with us literally wrote the book on climbing in the area. With access to that databank of knowledge, you can come back another time to try new things. While I don’t do well with heights, having someone that’s so confident and comfortable gives you the same vibes. Even if you’re a pro—this adventure offered more than just an intro class.”

photoToshimi Jan Muniz

He explains that getting to go on an adventure with a Yervana Local gives you that feeling of, “I know someone.” On another trip, he tried out mountain biking in Revelstoke. Although he’s comfortable road cycling, he quickly realized how important it was to have a certified instructor teaching the basics. Toshimi and his partner both ended up falling but got back up and dusted off—but the learning environment gave them the confidence to keep going.

photoToshimi Jan Muniz

Yervana offers a range, from snowshoe tours and backcountry climbing to wildlife viewing and Indigenous outdoor adventures, so it can be accessible for everyone, Toshimi says. It’s tailored to people who are looking to get off the beaten path a bit. He also mentions how Yervana helps to empower local guides and adventure operators, bringing more business to them and providing recurring clients.

“I have booked with bigger, typical booking companies, but I’ve never booked with one so salt-of-the-Earth. I’ve done about five trips with Yervana. I’m excited to try backcountry skiing—again, a little bit out of my comfort zone, being Dominican—but these guys are pro. If I’m going to try something, it’s going to be with Yervana.”

 

This article was sponsored by Yervana

Discover one-of-a-kind outdoor adventures curated by experienced Local guides on Yervana. Perfect for planning your adventures in every season from hiking, biking, kayaking and climbing, to snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, wellness adventures, multi-day trips and more!