You live and learn. You work and travel. You love and care. You say hello and goodbye. You ride waves and wipeouts. All these things are part of the amazing journey you’re about to experience. You’re just gonna have to hold on! But trust me, in the end, it’s gonna be worth it.

– Oli, Canadian surfer & Shelter Co’s ambassador.

Oli Shelter

It’s important to remember that it’s always about following your passion and finding the happiness you really deserve. This article is gonna help you figure out how to live away from home and explore the world without having to worry too much about it, hopefully.

Oli Away from Home

It took me a few years of travelling to realise that I wanted to live in a different country and try to make a living out of it. Theses thoughts came ‘cause of my passion for surfing. It might seem easy to give everything up to be able to live in a foreign country and to follow your passion but it also comes with sacrifices along the way. You just have to be ready to face them.

Travelling always brings full of good opportunities, friends, love and waves and that’s how every day should be. If you’re good to people, good things are gonna happen to you – that’s just how I see things. Believe in yourself and don’t be scared to make the move. Give everything up for what’s best for you, if that’s what you’re after. Leave your comfortable cocoon (home), be a risk taker, explore different places and start living today.


Here are a few tips I can give you to help you do what you always dreamed about.


I would recommend to always be open to meet with different people. Don’t be scared to travel alone ‘cause you never really are, in a way. Of course some days are gonna feel a bit more lonely but stay positive and get out there, mingle. I know that some people tend to be a bit more shy but push yourself to make the first move, you’re not gonna regret it.

Oli AWAY FROM HOME (1)Make some friends and make sure you get their contact information. The next thing you know those friends you meet along the way are gonna open new opportunities for you in the future. They could help you find a job, a place to stay, new friends or even just good recommendations about the new place you’re about to visit. Most of the people on this planet are good. If you respect and love them they’ll respect and give you that same love back in most cases, remember that. Be a true friend to them, they will help you along the way. You would also do the exact same thing for them ‘cause they mean a lot to you. Just treat everyone like you would love to be treated. You will find a really fast but strong connection with the people you meet while traveling cause they sometimes follow the same passion as you do. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for the friends I met along this amazing journey. I met a guy randomly one day and he told me:

”If you respect people and smile at them you’re gonna go really far in life and good things are gonna happen to you”.

Sounds pretty basic but if you follow this in life it’s gonna be good for you. I personally think that respect is the most important of all. It all starts with respect and then friendship and love are gonna follow. Respect and love yourself in the  first place, then you can give it back and share it with others. Don’t worry you’ll find all of this on this amazing journey waiting for you.


I always loved the intro of the movie The Beach. I think it makes a lot of sense : ”Trust me, it’s paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven’t tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it.”



If you’re looking for a place to work and live for a while you should start looking into working visas. For us Canadians there’s a good list of places you can work and stay for a year. It really depends on what you’re after but I personally look for places I can make good money and surf all year around. If you’re not done with your studies there are also some ways to study abroad. Just do it. Leave your cozy and easy life and start living today, if that’s what you want.


As for my part, I would really recommend Australia or New Zealand to start with. Both of those places pay really well with an epic lifestyle but it also wouldn’t put you too much out of your comfort zone. It would be some really good places to start travelling and explore. Also these countries allow you to extend for an extra year if you do some farm work. You pretty much have 4 years of easy travel in front of you. And if you do good enough, a few businesses might even offer you sponsorship which would allow you to get residency and the chance to work in that country legally forever. I personally had a few sponsorship offers along the way that I had to deny. I couldn’t stand the idea of working at the same place for a few years. I like to think that I’m free and in full control of what I’m doing next without anyone stopping me. I yet still don’t regret anything.


It sadly starts with saving money cause everything is about money. It sucks but that’s life. You need some if you want to travel but you don’t need as much as you would think. You pretty much need just enough money for the flight and a bit extra to figure it out, then you’re good to go.

It’s not everyone who can manage to save money. But tell yourself that there’s always a way to do it. It’s all about commitment and budgeting properly. In the end it might take a bit longer but it’s always possible. Slowly but surely! Don’t treat yourself too much but just enough to stay happy. Cut the bad habits. Always cook at home if you can.

Oli Barrel City (1)

I made the decision to live in my van for 2 years in Australia in order to save a lot of money and to follow my passion. I haven’t work for more than a year now enjoying myself every single day the most I can and I’m still on my savings. It obviously comes with commitments but it’s seriously possible.


The best way to live in a foreign country would be to work online but it’s not for everyone. It’s also not the only way to do it. You can work as a chef, nurse, accountant, carpenter and many more. There are a lot of jobs you can do all over the world that wherever you go will require your help. I personally decided to be a chef and there’s a few reasons why: eat for free during your work shift, good salary and most of the time they need chefs everywhere you travel. Work is work but it’s also important to do something that’s gonna make you happy. If you’re not happy you should question yourself and make changes today.

oli chef

When it’s time to look for a job the most important thing to have in mind is to stay positive, cause most of the time you’ll get rejected. I always print over 30 resumes and I make sure I don’t stop until I hand out all of them. Put on some neat clothes, keep a straight posture and put on your best smile. If after handing out all those resumes you haven’t found a job yet, stay positive and make sure you go again and double check with the manager. That way it’s really gonna show them your interest in working for them and they’re for sure gonna like that. Most of the time your resume is gonna end up in a useless pile or in the bin. Don’t be shy to go again cause in most case you’ll get the job if someone quit the day before. Most of the time in life it’s all about timing so make sure you get that right. Next thing you know, you’ll have a try out the day after. The best tip I could give you when it comes to having a job interview is to tell them about your intention to keep the job as long as possible. If your visa limitation is to work for an employer for 6 months tell them you’re applying for those months even though it might not be the case. No one will ever hire you if you tell them you’re planning on staying just for a month. Don’t be scared to start at the bottom of the ladder cause next thing you know, if you stay long enough, you’ll be on top in no time.


Oli AWAY FROM HOME (10)Know what you want and knowing your personal goals is really important. Don’t let anyone get in your way if they are not gonna help you in the process of being happy and following your passion. It sucks but sometimes you have to be selfish in the process of following what you really want. Trust me, there will be plenty of distractions along the way and it’s sometimes gonna be hard to deal with them but make sure you stay on the right path, do what you think is best for you. Living in paradise comes with problems like everywhere else. What matters is how can you solve those problems and become stronger with them. Till this day I’m still learning so much about myself. You grow up from different experiences and try to be better every single time. Traveling has taught me so many things I never thought I would learn. Slowly slowly, you’ll find yourself. Trust me I’m still working on that one. Just stay focused. From time to time I get lost and I don’t know what I really want anymore, but I guess it’s pretty normal to experience. When it happens, I just go surf to change my mind. One of my favourite thing to do to help me figure things out is to go alone on the beach at night looking at the stars laying down on my back with a few beers and listen to my best playlist. Close your eyes, think and allow yourself to fly.

  • Lower your eyelids to die with the sun-M83
  • Paradise-Wild Nothing
  • Porcelain-Moby
  • Ocean-John Butler Trio
  • RD 1-Blithe Field
  • Orange Sky-Alexi Murdoch
  • Clasped Hands-Blithe Field

Oli AWAY FROM HOME (2)Everyone has their own ways to spend some alone time to figure things out. You might be a lonely person or always surrounded by friends but it’s important to remind yourself to take some alone time to think. We tend to forget to do that. By alone time, I’m not referring to scrolling down your favourite social media platform. I’m more talking about alone meditation time. That way things are gonna get more clear. Stay awake, stay focused.




It always has been and it always will be about passion. This is what should get you out of bed every day. If you keep in mind what brought you here in the first place everything should work out just fine. There was that guy one day who told me: ”Oli you’re not the best working at reception, not so much at the bar ’cause you get a bit too wild, so what about you do what you really love: Surfing! There’s one thing I love about you ; you got that PASSION! That’s something really important.

oli walk

In the end you’ll do everything in your power to keep doing what you really love. Stop what you’re doing and remind yourself what brought you here.



Traveling and surfing taught me so much good in life. It helped me find myself in this crazy world we are living in at the moment. Traveling is gonna help you grow as a person, be more mature, more adventurous, meet amazing people, discover new cultures and so much more.



You might find yourself lost along the way and that is something pretty normal to experience but remember that it is not just about living away from home or traveling or surfing or whatever else – it’s about being happy with yourself. Life is so short anyway. Why waste it doing something that doesn’t make you feel happy? Listen to yourself and take the decisions that are going to make you feel happy. Your friends, family or even society might try to hold you back doing what you love but do something for yourself for once.


Sometimes I compare life with the waves in the ocean. One day it’s flat and boring, the other day it’s massive, pumping and exciting. Sometimes it’s calm and clean and some other times it’s crazy and messy. The tides, wind and waves change all the time. It is so unpredictable but that’s the best part and when everything aligns just perfectly it becomes so magical. Then when you’re surfing, a wave comes at you, you decide to ride it or to let it pass, it’s really up to you. It’s all about finding that perfect ride and sometimes if you’re patient enough, the perfect one is gonna come right at you. You’ll finally find yourself riding that perfect wave you’ve always been waiting for your whole life through. Time is gonna stop and everything will seem so real and so clear. Just make sure this wave is not a close out and if it is exit through the doggy door. There’s always gonna be a way to ride the perfect wave. You’ll just have to find that way, find your way. Take the best decisions you can considering your personal experience. Might be the best ride of your life or it might end up as a wipeout. If it doesn’t you’ll just have to get back up. Life goes on, waves are gonna keep coming at you, and there will be good and bad ones.

Remind yourself that this life is beautiful and we have to enjoy it to the fullest. In the end with whatever happens everything seem to work out just fine. Start living today. Look forward to what is coming next. Spread the love, the best is yet to come.


Oli Champagne

Photo credits: Andrea Beatrice Ulip Vega, Danielle Flora, Gwil Thomas, Lucas Guidi, Matt Power, MJ Morales, Nathalia Larrauri, Sebastian Carranza.

3 Responses to "AWAY FROM HOME"

  1. Meg An O says:

    Love this Oli! Really could not have come at a better time for me to read your words. I have so many visions for where I want to be “when I grow up” that I have forgotten my passion for travel and experiences. But I feel that passion again! Muchas Gracias xx

  2. Matty sullivan says:

    Bro you’re an absolute legend!! Watching your journey on insta knowing that I met u only a month or 2 into your stay at siargao, lights up my sole that u r living your life there how u want to! U were the first dude I met when I arrived for my second trip there, super jet lagged and I just went for my first peak at cloud 9 and U asked if I was keen to go out, told me the tides and how it’d been, and that instantly pumped me for the start of my 6 week stay! Much love to ya big oli! Can’t wait to see u again! Yeeeew

  3. Karol-Ann Lebel says:

    C’est incroyable tout ce que tu fais !!! Ca prend une certaine force de caractere pour partir comme tu l’as fait mais on voie que ca en vaut la peine !! Tu as l’air si heureux et ton article nous prouve que cest vraiment squi te represente ! Bonne continuité dans tes projets et tes voyages, jaimerais avoir cette force de caractère aussi !!!

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