I met Adam Russell at the Vic while we were both living there. Adam is the epitome of boyish charm. He is an ardent chocolate milk fan, he enjoys playing basketball and he is genuinely sweet. Adam loves a good ghetto dance, smiles often and is a bit of a party animal. He became like a little brother for many of us at the hostel.
And though he is a bit naive when it comes to some practical life skills, you can’t help but admire his determination and willingness to try new experiences and step outside of his comfort zone. He is resilient.
While living in Melbourne, Adam was suddenly let go from a pool cleaning job and had a tough time finding work elsewhere. He applied to work as a porter at the Novotel Melbourne on Collins. Adam didn’t make the cut for the group interview, but our friend Felix, who had also applied, did. Felix already had a job elsewhere that he was satisfied with, so he decided to skip the interview. Resourceful Adam went to Felix’s group interview with an air of confident belonging and his CV in hand. He was allowed in the interview and was hired as a porter for the hotel. It took guts to take the chance, but it paid off for Adam in a way that is just so befitting for him.
Adam is: playful, endearing, spirited
Adam, 22, was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. He is the baby of his family and has three older sisters who are all in their 30s. Adam said his sisters often took him on adventures and regulated his behavior when he was a child. “It’s kind of like I had four moms growing up,” he said.
Though now that he is older, he connects with his sisters on a more even level, and they don’t seem like parental figures quite as much. Adam has five nieces and nephews, but he said they seem more like siblings; he has been an uncle since he was two and a half years old.
Adam said he tries to talk with his family at least once a month while he is traveling. He said his family is what he is most grateful for in his life. “They’re good people,” he said. “They care about my overall wellbeing.”
Australia is the first country Adam has traveled to outside of North America (having been to a few places in the USA as a child), and it is his first solo journey. And more than that, it is the first place he has lived on his own, period. He said he decided to travel, because it seemed like the best option. “I don’t want to go to school, and the world’s a pretty cool place,” he said. “And I’m still young.”
Adam said his family is proud that he is traveling. He is the first person in his family to travel, which is his greatest accomplishment to date. But his family would like him to return home soon and go to university. Adam feels differently; he plans to continue traveling. “I feel like once I go to school I’ll have to be a real person,” he said, “but I’m not ready for that.”
His favorite part of traveling is enjoying new experiences and meeting new people. Adam said meeting other travelers is a great way to discover and learn. “You get to learn new things, new phrases,” he said. “You find out about where to go to travel more.”
He said traveling has changed his life and helped him grow. When he first arrived at the Victoria Hotel, he pretty much only knew how to make grilled cheese sandwiches. But, with the help of the hostel mates, he learned to cook omelets, stir fry dishes and pasta. “I can cook better now,” he said. “Not much better, but better.”
He also learned how to drive a manual and on the other side of the road while working at the Novotel. But, perhaps most importantly, he has learned to be less judgmental, which has allowed him to develop good friendships with people he initially found annoying.
Adam said he wants to travel all over the world. He hopes to visit Southeast Asia, Europe, South America, New Zealand and parts of Africa. He doesn’t have any solid plans yet, but that is part of the journey. “I like not knowing what’s in store for the next day and exploring a new place,” he said. “I love adventure.”
He said his biggest regret in life is not traveling earlier. “I could have seen so much more of the world if I’d started sooner,” he said.
Finally, Adam describes himself in three words: travel, fun, smile.