Peachland resident Roy Ralph has been vacationing in an unusual way since retiring 10 years ago.
A civil engineer by trade and general handyman, Ralph travels the globe in the winter, helping those in need.
Ralph’s plane left for Antigua Thursday, as he will be making his way to the Caribbean island of Barbuda working with the humanitarian aid organization Samaritan’s Purse to build a relief home base.
On Sept. 6, Hurricane Irma roared into the region, causing a significant amount of damage to properties on the island of Barbuda.
“It’s exciting, it’s another great adventure,” said Ralph, 70, who is experienced with humanitarian work.
Ralph helped with Tsunami relief efforts with the same organization in 2011 and spent six years in Haiti, rebuilding after the earthquake.
During the floods in Calgary, Ralph also spent his time helping residents rebuild and last fall, he travelled with his wife to Louisiana and North Carolina to help with flood relief.
This past winter he helped set up an emergency field hospital in Iraq.
He started this way of life in the 1990s, after his wife suggested travelling while they worked at an orphanage in Mexico. Ralph thought it was a better idea instead of buying a condo in Phoenix.
“I hate the cold Canadian winter so I most often I pick countries that are warm during the winter,” he said. “I’m also driven which is why I like working. I’ve done (the typical vacation), we’ve gone to Cuba and sat for a week at a resort and that wasn’t me. I’d rather be in Haiti pouring concrete.”
The trip will take approximately five days. For this winter, he plans to spend his time in Florida.
“Every year I get to do something like this,” he said.
On Monday, he helped load a flatbed truck in Calgary amid the snow. The truck will transport the $200,000 Spring structure to North Carolina, then to the Caribbean.
Ralph, along with three other Canadians and three Spring Structures employees will be flying to assemble the equipment.