About Me

About Me

Hello, and welcome!

My name is Kenton de Jong, and I am a 26 year old Canadian with a love of travel.

Being from Regina, Saskatchewan, I'm used to big fields of wheat, corn, and mustard, as well as northern lakes, cold winters, colourful skies, and the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Although those things excite me, there's nothing like the feeling of going into a new city, exploring a new area, or learning something exotic about a far corner of the planet.

Last counted, I have been to over a dozen countries, and two dozen cities. Some are in Canada of course, but some are distant places London, Hiroshima, New York and Hong Kong. My goal is to see over a hundred countries, if my wallet allows me. Being a Buddhist, I believe the majority of troubles in this world are caused by people not understanding each other, either their religion or their political beliefs. Can you imagine a foreigner traveling to Canada in November and seeing people wearing strange red flowers on their jackets? Just because a culture is different doesn't mean it's wrong.

Since you're reading this anyway, than why not come and explore the world with me?

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Should We Tear Down Statues?

About a year and a half ago I visited Kyiv, Ukraine. As I walked down the millennium old streets and gawked at the towering cathedrals, I saw the beginnings of a new country, one that was slowly rebuilding from a much darker time. The process of what I was seeing had a name. It was called decommunization.

Decommunization is the process of removing all symbols of Communism from countries once under Soviet control. This is happening in Germany, Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus and even in places like Kazakhstan, where the capital city was moved and rebuilt.

Decommunization includes renaming architecture, changing laws and protocols, and even tearing down monuments. People's Friendship Arch in Kyiv, for example, which symbolised the friendship between the Communist East and the Capitalist West, was torn down. Some statues, like war memorials, are exempt, but there is still talk of making modifications to them. Anywhere you go throughout the former Soviet Union, the hammer and sickle are being removed – not from history, but from modern society.

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Why You Should Move to Canada

In case you haven't heard, Super Tuesday was last Tuesday and everybody's most disliked presidential candidate, Donald Trump, did very well. He didn't do as well as predicted, but he did well enough that he is now officially taken the lead for the Republican nomination. While the Republicans struggle to find some way of stopping Mr. Trump, many Americans worry about the future of their country. As a result, many Americans have been thinking about moving to Canada.

While similar statements were made when marijuana and gay marriage was legalized, "How to move to Canada" spiked 1000% on Google after last Super Tuesday. In fact, the Nova Scotia tourism website got more traffic in a single day then it did all last year and the Canadian immigration website was having difficulties handling all the traffic, so it seems that a lot of people are wondering if they should move to Canada.

As a Canadian I feel it is my duty to highlight some of the reasons why somebody – particularly an American – should consider moving to Canada.

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Inside Eastern State Penitentiary

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania shut its doors in 1970. A year later, in 1971, it would briefly reopen and house inmates from Holmesburg Prison after a devastating riot. After the prisoners were returned to Holmesburg, Eastern State would sit empty for over two decades. It would rot, decay and collapse. Trees and shrubs would grow into the structure and a clowder of cats would take residence. These hallowed halls would sit empty, the only noise being the chatter of startled birds and the trotter of feline paws.

The following decades would see various discussions of what to do with the building. Eventually, it was decided to preserve it and turn it into a tourist attraction. Although it officially opened for tours in 1994, attendants would have to sign a waiver and wear hardhats before entering until 2008. They had 10,000 visitors the opening year, a number of tourists not seen in the prison since 1858.

From 1829 to 1970, Eastern State Penitentiary underwent a variety of changes and transformations. This massive, sprawling, 11-acre complex was founded under the belief that solitary confinement was the cure needed to prevent criminals from committing future crimes. It was believed criminals who served in solitary confinement would turn to a higher power to reconcile with themselves for their crimes – hence feeling "penitent". To assist in this process, each cell was equipped with a slit window on the ceiling nicknamed "The Eye of God". It would be the only light source available to the inmate.

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