President and CEO of Canada Goose
I’ve always wanted to live an unconventional life. When I was 18 years old, I traveled through Europe with a close friend. The continent represented adventure and inspiration for the short stories I was writing at the time, so we didn’t just want to go backpacking and stay in hostels like everyone else. We bought a car and drove where the roads led us, making our way around Western Europe for about six months.
We picked up the car in Paris, despite neither of us knowing how to drive a stick shift. I learned on the fly, surrounded by cars on the bustling Champs-Élysées. That was fun—it was probably the most stressful part of the trip, but we learned fast and got going.
We didn’t have a plan for where to go next; we just woke up each morning and drove. We went north through France, then up to Belgium and the Netherlands. From there we went east to Germany and Austria, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Luxembourg…we went through so many countries I can’t even remember them all.
We traveled through Berlin right after the wall came down and the city was unified. Well before they stopped letting you do it, I chipped off a little bit of the wall. I still have it today—my own concrete piece of history.
Throughout the trip we only spent one night in a hotel. Instead, we slept in the car at campgrounds, by the side of the road or pulled over at truck stops off the highway. We were very resourceful with a small gas burner, boiling water for pasta by the side of the road, and making a surprisingly decent meal out of potatoes and tomato soup powder.
Another memorable moment was driving through Austria and seeing the mountains emerge with huge clouds forming over them as we turned a corner. It was majestic – nature at its best. The impressive landscapes provided great fuel for my short stories.
Having the opportunity to see Europe the way I did, seeing all those places and meeting all sorts of people along the way, I really learned things from the ground up. Including how to make it work: if we didn’t have the means or didn’t know what to do, we figured it out and did it. I learned to be relentless. Today, relentlessness is one of the values at Canada Goose. It’s about being unstoppable and showing persistence and courage as you drive to get the job done.