The university student who won himself the "best summer job in Saskatchewan" wandered into the Battlefords Tuesday.
Andrew Konoff, otherwise known as the Saskatchewanderer, took his summer-long tour of the province to North Battleford's CAA office before heading out on his travels once again.
He arrived after spending the night in Saskatoon and was due to head to Meadow Lake to continue his journey around the province.
Konoff, a 21-year-old fourth-year philosophy major at the University of Regina, won the province-wide contest to be hired on by the Saskatchewan Government for a summer job travelling the province and documenting his journey. About 60 people applied and three finalists were shortlisted. Kokoff was finally selected after winning a province-wide vote to be the Saskatchewanderer.
Konoff said he entered the contest as "a family friend pointed it out to me pretty early in February," and it struck him as ideal because he had done extensive travelling and social media work.
He said his video application was inspired by a similar "the best job in the world" Australia at the coral reefs. He used that as inspiration and was able to muster support from friends and followers on social media for his winning bid for the job.
"They voted for me, and I got the job."
The job is a marketing pilot project by Saskatchewan's Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sports.
He has kept track of his travels via Facebook and Twitter and has posted regularly at his blog at the Saskatchewanderer.ca website. He has also been doing video-editing and has been able to post video of his travels at the website.
His main job is to "make great content and put them on the website," said Konoff, so he has been spending time writing and video editing. He has also been active communicating on social media with followers to find out where he should go, and also come up with a schedule.
"It's a demanding job," Konoff said. "I have to put everything together and put it online."
His journey began on May 11 driving to Saskatoon, and he has been able to go to such places as Birch Hills, Lake Diefenbaker and the Great Sandhills, and most recently to Yorkton for the start of the Yorkton Film Festival.
"And now, here I am," said Konoff.
Before becoming the Saskatchewanderer, Konoff admits he hadn't seen a lot of Saskatchewan outside of his home in Regina - at least, not as much as he had thought. He had been on camping trips as far as Emma Lake and other areas, but he had never been in the Lake Diefenbaker area before and seeing the Great Sandhills area in southwest Saskatchewan was another eye-opener.
"You don't associate sand hills or sand dunes with the Saskatchewan environment," Konoff said.
He is also struck by the size of the province as he travels around. "I could spend four months and not see half of what there is in the province," Konoff said.
In the Battlefords area he was planning to see the Crooked Trees and also the Allen Sapp Gallery before heading to the provincial park. Diana Tucker of Battlefords Tourism was on hand for the event at CAA to help point out some good places for him to see in the Battlefords.
Konoff said there were some areas of the province he looked forward to seeing, particularly in the Northwest part.
He said he was "really stoked" about seeing the Athabaska sand dunes in the far north of the province, which he found out are "the tallest sand dunes in North America."
There are also events he wants to see, including the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival in Saskatoon at the end of June. There's also a kite festival in Swift Current he wants to attend and wants to go out on a few archaeological digs.
When asked about whether his blogging and social-media efforts will interest more young people to come to Saskatchewan to visit, he said young people already are interested. "The trick is to get them talking about it," Konoff said.
He believes if he makes good content with his efforts as the Saskatchewanderer, then "hopefully I'll spread the word about Saskatchewan."
Konoff visit provides a perfect lead in to Tourism Awareness week
Battlefords Tourism will be celebrating Tourism Awareness Week from June 5 to 11. Events include a flag raising Monday at city hall at 10 a.m., and town hall at 10:30 a.m. along with cheque presentations. Join us Wednesday from 1to 4 p.m. for an open house on the fifth floor of the Royal Bank Tower. Enjoy refreshments, 17 years of Battlefords Tourism history and enter your name for a door prize.