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About Us

Welcome to Off Track Travel! We’re so glad you found our website.

We are a French Canadian (Jean Robert) and British (Gemma) couple who love to explore beyond the beaten path.

You’ll most likely find us driving our converted adventure van, exploring Canada’s wilderness.

We spend most of our time off the beaten track, avoiding crowds and appreciating the natural world. Most of all, we love sharing these experiences to inspire and help others to do the same.

We love to write about:

Outdoor adventure (particularly hiking and paddling)

Beyond the beaten path destinations

Anything Canada!

Selfie of JR and Gemma in kayaks on Moraine Lake

Photo of Gemma and JR standing next to van

Our travel story

Since meeting in New Zealand in 2009, we have continued a travel-focused lifestyle together. We think that the world is far too interesting to just stay in one place!

After living in the UK for just over a year, we headed out on a three-month road trip from Brighton to Istanbul via 18 countries. Looking for somewhere new to settle for a while, we then flew to British Columbia, Canada in November 2011.

Much to our surprise, we have been based in Canada ever since. There’s something very special about this country, especially for outdoor enthusiasts like us.

We first lived on Vancouver Island in British Columbia for 2.5 years before a five-month road trip around BC, Yukon, NWT and Alaska in a converted Astro Van.

With winter approaching, we relocated to Fort St John in North BC’s ‘almost sub-arctic’ region.

Our time in the north was short-lived and we moved again to the small South Okanagan town of Penticton in June 2015.

After three sun-soaked summers by the lake and vineyards, we became location-independent (and full-time bloggers) in November 2017.

Hanna, our converted GMC Savana van, became our home and the great outdoors our office.

After two amazing years of full-time travel, an opportunity arose to live in Penticton again. We’ve been based here since early 2020 (the timing was, as you can imagine, ideal!)

As full-time adventure travel bloggers, we love being located in the middle of beautiful British Columbia!

Years together: Since 2009!

Countries visited: 40+

Van conversions: 3 together, 4 for JR

Canoe circuits paddled: Sayward Forest, Bowron Lakes, Powell Forest

Favourite road trips: Driving from the UK to Istanbul, reaching the Arctic on the Dempster Highway, crossing Canada (twice)

Coolest travel experience: Being invited to sleep in a vineyard in Montenegro by locals

Worst travel experience: That time we were robbed of almost all of our belongings in Italy

Close up of Gemma in front of alpine lake

Meet Gemma

Gemma is from the South of England, most recently living in Brighton.

Having visited an interesting variety of European countries on family holidays while growing up (Sweden or Slovakia anyone?), Gemma spent most of her post-school gap year living and working in New Zealand, as well as visiting the USA, Australia and China.

After finishing a Political Science degree, it was time to move across the pond to Canada for new adventures with JR!

Off Track Travel’s primary writer, Gemma also runs the site’s Facebook page and IEC Working Holiday group. She became a citizen of Canada in 2018.

Favourite mode of adventure: Hiking

Best wildlife encounter: Mountain goats on Gimli Ridge, Valhalla

Favourite countries (besides Canada): New Zealand, Italy, Thailand, Japan

Happy place: Kayak or canoe camping on an island, just the two of us e.g. Wallace Island, Desolation Sound

Favourite trails: Rockwall Trail, Gwillim Lakes, Monica Meadows, Turbine Canyon Loop, anything in Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park

Best adventure without JR: Walking the 100 mile (160km) South Downs Way in the UK

Scariest moment: Minke whale surfacing next to my kayak in Nova Scotia

Favourite time of year: Summer

Drink of choice: Weather dependent…but I love sour craft beers, sparkling wine and margaritas

Fun fact: Gemma can read really, really fast (900wpm+)

Meet JR

JR standing on ridge in front of amazing lake view

Jean Robert (JR for short) is from the Acadian Peninsula, New Brunswick, Canada. He speaks French as a first language, becoming fluent in English in his early 20s.

Australia was his first working holiday destination, where he ended up living on an island on the Great Barrier Reef.

Jean Robert is a trained chef but has also worked as a tour guide/bus driver in Canada, a Dive Master in New Zealand, a barman in an English pub and an outdoor retail store manager.

Off Track Travel’s main photographer, JR is also chief driver, occasional writer and all-around handyman.

Favourite mode of adventure: Anything in or by water (paddling, diving, fishing)

Best wildlife encounter: Scuba diving with a whale shark in Thailand

Favourite countries (besides Canada): Japan, Thailand, Australia

Happy place: Camping on the coast – fishing, kayaking and eating seafood. Or paddling Quetico Provincial Park

Favourite trails: Nootka Trail, Rockwall Trail, Mount Assiniboine, Tent Ridge

Scariest moment: Flipping the canoe on the Yukon River

Best adventure without Gemma: Assisting a musher friend at the Yukon Quest race

Favourite time of year: Autumn

Food of choice: Sushi

Fun fact: JR’s first pet was an iguana

Gemma and JR standing with back to camera looking at sunrise from mountain summit
Watching the sunrise on the summit of Tin Hat Mountain, British Columbia

Contact us

Got a question or want to know more? Get in touch – info[at]

Check out our most recent posts


Wednesday 8th of October 2014

Dear Gemma and Jean Robert,

My name is Joyce and I work for is a free one stop website for people preparing to move or working and living overseas. We provide a myriad of services for expatriates and we have over 2,000 articles to help and support the people moving around the world and we are now creating an interview section to help the expats with real life experiences! We quite enjoy your blog about living in Canada, it is very interesting and informative. Would it be possible to interview you to further share some of your tips and feature some of your first hand experience as an Expat and your interview will be published on our Expat Interview section as a guide for our expat readers. The questions are mainly about the day to day lifestyle of an expat. If it would be possible, could you also send some photographs that we can use? Of course, if you accept, we can add a link to your blog or some of your website. The questions are enclosed, feel free to respond freely. You can return the doc with your answers if you accept this invitation. Thanks in advance and do let me know if you prefer other means to conduct this interview and we would be happy to accommodate your terms.

Best regards, Joyce


Monday 13th of October 2014

Hi Joyce, thanks for the message. I would definitely be interested in this - please send me an email to gemma[at] with the questions!


Monday 28th of April 2014

Hi you two, Sue gave me your card so I could track your travels. You are so lucky to be able to do this while you are young. I never had a gap year & I so want one now but of course it's not possible with an elderly parent so good on you for travelling while you can. Can't get enough of it! We just had fun in Yorkshire for Easter visiting the film locations for the TV shows & also doing the cultural stuff like Castle Howard & York Minister. So much world, so little time. Have fun & stay safe & fit. X