Our first two days in Skopje were fantastic. Excellent food, good bars and cafes to work. We even got to know Ardita, a private investigator lady who was the sister of the girl sitting next to us on the bus.

However, any plan to enjoy the country and the city halted when we realized Martin had lost his Canadian Passport.

This is what we did:

First, we contacted the General Consulate of Canada in Skopje. We reach this number 389 (2) 3225-630.

However, they work from 9:00 to 15:00 from Monday to Friday. If they don’t pick the phone up, you can collect call to Canada +1 613 996 8885.

After that, they will give you the option of an Emergency Passport or a traditional one. The difference is that Emergency passports reach faster but have to be used to travel back to Canada. We requested the traditional one.

You need to fill out a form available on the Government website. Some of the required information includes data of your former passport, a certification of Canadian Citizenship and a Canadian ID.

Martin showed a soft copy of his Canadian birth certificate for the Canadian Citizenship document proof. However, Canadian born abroad citizens can provide one of the following documents:

  • Certificate of registration of birth abroad
  • Certificate of naturalization
  • Certificate of retention of Canadian citizenship
  • Certificate of Canadian citizenship

Martin showed his valid driving license by Quebec for the document that supports identity. However, you can also present any Canadian Federal or Provincial ID or local ID from abroad that includes the following: Name, date of birth, photo and signature. 

Canadian authorities may enquire you about how you lost your document. My recommendation is to go with the local police officer first. Since we did this, we saved time in the explanation because the North Macedonian Police gave us a lost passport report. Canada takes the identification of its citizens seriously; furthermore, any reported lost passport will become invalid after being informed to the authorities.

The consulate informed us that it could take 20 business days to replace the document; however, Martin’s passport arrived earlier. I believe we were lucky. I had a few more calls with James Punjabi during that time and we even met Toma. I’ll share the whole story with you in the next few days.

Separating from Ida was more challenging than the last time. I tried not to commit to the next time, but it was impossible. 

“I’ll visit you in Denmark whenever I can go back to the Schengen area.” 

“I hope I can meet you before.”

That afternoon I met Martin again. If you are following my adventures recently, Martin is a Canadian guy that I met in a small aircraft while travelling to the Canadian Arctic Circle. Martin and I have kept in touch via Facebook and commenting on each other adventures.

The last time we met each other, we were in Greenland. He decided to go back to Canada in the boat with the crew while Jessica and I stayed in the frozen island country.

After going back to Canada, Martin went to Switzerland to manage some family business and then stayed in Spain for a few weeks. While in Spain, he decided to continue as a Digital Nomad for a few months in Europe while the Swiss “important family business” concluded. Since he didn’t want to spend all his Schengen Area days waiting for the “business to settle down,” he decided to tag along and explore with me for a few weeks.

Doves in North Macedonia

“Why do you want to go to North Macedonia?” I asked him.

“Long story short: My mom and dad divorced when I was five. It took my mom like two years to feel ok to start dating again. She met a lot of pricks after that until she met this guy Toma from Macedonia, who was “studying French” in Montréal. I said “studying” because he worked in a restaurant with a student visa and sent money home”.

“How did he get a student visa?” I asked, intrigued.

“Well, Toma really looked like a student. This was probably in 1998 and Toma was 19. My mom was 29”.

“Wow. No offence, but your mother was a cougar!”

“None taken. The thing is that after all these douchebags dating my mom for years, she met Toma and I saw her happy for the first time. They met in the restaurant he was working.”

“What happened with Toma? Is he your father-in-law now?”

“Ha, ha, ha! No! I wished! Toma was excellent with me and super supportive with mom. He also liked to talk about his country. That’s how I first hear about Macedonia (now North Macedonia) in my life. After two years with a student visa, Toma had to leave or get married to stay. He proposed to my mom, but she was not ready to marry a 21-year-old kid and face my grandparents. My mom just ditched him and she couldn’t recover for years.”

“Man, that should have been tough for your mother.”

“Indeed, she had to go to therapy to forgive herself. She was in love with Toma but was so afraid of the commitment because he was just a kid. She prioritized her social status over her quality of life.” 

“Did you see Toma again?”

“Never. The last time I saw him, he was kissing mom when I was a kid at the Dorval airport. Mom didn’t want to talk about him”.

“Man, your mother is still young; maybe they can meet now. Are you trying to be Cupid here?”

“I don’t have any expectations. Even though North Macedonia is a small country, it might be challenging to find a guy I know almost nothing about”.

By the time we were having this conversation, we were on a bus from Tirana to Skopje. We were speaking pleasantly in joual, while my brain felt it was resting for the first time. I didn’t have to make an effort to be understood.

When the conversation finished, a girl sitting behind us reached us in French talking super slowly:

“Excuse me, guys. I don’t know what language you speak, but it seems close to French. I am sorry, but I listened to your conversation.”

“You don’t have to worry. We understand French,” said Martin, interested in what the girl had to say, metropolising his accent the best he could.

“If you are looking for a guy in Macedonia, my sister is a private investigator. Maybe she can help you. She knows everyone there.”

Now North Macedonia seems the place to be!

After 4 days in Grise Fiord, Maurice managed to get documentation to dock the ship in Qaanaaq, Greenland. Jessica and I wanted to continue our individual trips around Greenland; we checked our passports with the Canadian Immigration Authorities before going on the boat. 

The trip was shorter than expected. I couldn’t believe that Greenland was so close. However, it was scary as the conditions outside were super severe, and the currents didn’t help us a lot. Maurice was about to turn the boat back a couple of times.

Jessica has to leave her bike in Grise Fiord as it didn’t make any sense for her to bring her to Greenland. From Qaanaaq, it is impossible to get to another city by land. So Jessica kind of performed a goodbye ritual and gave the bike away to a 12-old kid who promised that he would use it to go to The Andes when he was an adult. 


Jessica cried and smiled. I was marvelled watching her.


I was super excited being in Greenland. Everything was so similar to Nunavut, but at the same time so different. People there spoke a variation of the Inuit that was even harder for Amaruq to understand. Most of the people didn’t speak English, some of them tried to talk to us in Danish. Thank god we had Amaruq because not even Google Translate was working there.

The town was similar to Grise Fiord but with a larger minimarket and a different currency, the Danish krona. Jessica and I were rushed to take a flight to Kangerlussuaq the following day because the weather “would be fine.”

The rest of the crew stayed only a few hours in Greenland. It was terrific to see Charlie, the toddler, amidst this fabulous adventure. I think he will never forget, and I will never forget his smile. 

I thanked Martin a lot for introducing me to his friends, and we added each other on Facebook. I hope we will meet sometime. But in my experience, the travellers’ life is like this. You meet fantastic people, but you cannot bring them with you, so you have to enjoy them at the very time you are with them. 

At Kangerlussuaq, we hiked, saw the Russell Glacier, and kayaked on Lake Ferguson. We spent the nights together. They were three ridiculous days, and if they had been longer, I would have fallen in love with Jessica.

Thank god she decided to stay fat biking along the Arctic Circle; meanwhile, I took the first flight to Nuuk.

This was one of the first few times I wished to stay with a person. I think I was so proud of not being the guy who started another biking expedition with her. I am not. I am Benjamin Gunst, an independent traveller, graphic artist and writer. Maybe I should plan a trip to the Bahamas next year.

Well, I haven’t talked a lot about the crew members; everyone has fantastic stories. Most of them are fearless travellers that aren’t scared to bring a baby (that is so mature, though) to the trip.

Jessica arrive from The Bahamas Biking

There is one girl that I believe is fantastic, Jessica. She is from The Bahamas (I was also surprised when I discovered it) and she’s travelled here biking.

Jessica started her trip from Nassau two years ago. She was stuck in a Digital Marketing job that she hated. By the time her ex-boyfriend asked her to go on a trip together biking around the US.


She said “yes.” 


They took the ferry to Fort Lauderdale and started biking around the east coast, heading north. One of Jessica’s dreams was visiting Cinderella Castle in Disney, so they detoured and stayed a few days in Orlando. The guy proposed to Jessica in from of the Castle, and she cried in front of everyone. It was her happier day in life so far.

After Orlando, they continued to Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston, Charlotte and then Durham and Raleigh. 

Jessica’s best friend lived in Durham while doing a master’s degree in Duke University and her ex-fiancé’s “political uncle” in Raleigh. So they decided to split for a couple of weeks to visit their loved ones. Jessica thought it was kind of weird he chose to go solo for a while as he was overprotecting her the whole trip. In addition to that, he never mentioned that uncle in The Bahamas frequently. Maybe a couple of times, but she didn’t think he was too relevant to spend two weeks separated. 


Long story short, there wasn’t any uncle in Raleigh, and he was just staying in a hotel where Jessica’s former best friend sneaked to spend the night (and the weekend) with him. When Jessica found out, she was heartbroken and put all her anger into the bike’s pedals, and she biked for hours. When she noticed, she was in the middle of nowhere in Virginia. She spent the night in a cheap B&B and the next day was in DC.


She arrived there shocked. She locked herself in a hotel for a week “only to cry.” She had lost all of her strength biking to DC alone and didn’t have more energy to even take a cab to the airport and flight back home. She ordered room services the whole week. Her enlightenment came after the third day of crying. She determined to take therapy online and received enough energy after a couple of sessions to forgive herself for being in love with such a wicked guy and continue the trip by herself. 

Later on, she crossed the Niagara Falls border a few days before the first lockdown and the beginning of the Pandemic. She has been in Canada ever since. How? She has a Canadian passport since her mother was born in Montreal but never lived here or visited before. This trip has let her discover herself in the north. That is why she biked for such a long time, and now she doesn’t want to stop. There are more compelling details in this story, but I am not in position to reveal them.

I can say that I am happy, and I also can say that this trip has been fantastic. But still, I am disappointed. It took us several days to go up to the Kennedy Channel while all of us had the illusion to reach Alert, the northernmost settlement in the world. But the universe didn’t want us to get to Alert. 

Temperatures here as so extreme that we have to be very careful while navigating. The boat sometimes has to go slow because the ice can broke the machine, and sometimes we have to go fast for the opposite reason. The sad part of the story is that we were only 50 away from Alert and couldn’t make it.

What else could we do there? We were a bunch of strangers in the middle of the North Pole. So Sebastian (the husband) suggested going back, Elsa (how convenient name), the wife, told to go to Grise Fiord for provisions, and Jessica that was really mad at destiny, asked if she could take a flight from the Grise Fiord airport to Nuuk, Greenland.

Maurice (the father) spat his coffee when she said this.

Hans Island is located between Greeenland and Nunavut

-I think the easier way to go to Greenland is if I took you there, child. There haven’t been any flights between Canada and Greenland in years.

-Why if we go to Greenland? -I said adventurously.


Everyone looked at each other as my idea wasn’t crazy enough and then looked at Maurice. He was also sad as he wanted to reach Alert with his “brave” grandson. Maurice said: 


-If everyone agrees with me, I won’t take you to Greenland once, but two times. We are just a few kilometres away from Hans Island, and if there is no border patrol around, we even can put our feet and my brave grandson on that Canadian island.

I later learned why he said “Canadian” with emphasis. Hans Island is just at the line border between the two countries, and it has been disputed between Denmark and Canada for decades.


That is how is put my feet on Hans Island


There was still sunlight when we arrived there, and we could admire the disputed rock located in the middle of nothing. Anyhow was amazing to be with the probably youngest man in history that has stepped a foot on the disputed island.

We were only 15 minutes as Maurice was afraid of the authorities could revoke his tourist license to be there without permission.

After that, we went a bit South on the big Ellesmere Island to rest and recharge provisions on Grise Fiord. Maurice will discuss with the border patrol permission to cross to Greenland. Jessica and I took advantage of going alongside Amaruq (the tourist guide of the Inuit race) to some historical places and learning a lot about the Inuit culture.