Mark and Mya have been gracing the internet with photos from their journey across North America. Here’s how their story began.
A tragedy, as they say, can either break you or make you stronger. Four years ago, when Mark’s father died suddenly of a heart attack, he was faced with such a tragedy. Shaken by the experience, this Australian local was forced to learn a very important lesson very quickly – to live life to the fullest. “You can’t hold off on the things you really want to do,” he says. “You never know if you might get another chance to do it and I wanted to live my life without regret.”
From the time he was a teenager, Mark dreamed of spending a winter in Canada. Many obstacles had prevented him from achieving this goal – his career, relationships, money – but when his Dad passed, he decided it was time to take the plunge. However, there was still one obstacle standing in his way – his White Shepherd, Mya. He’d invited her into his life, and he couldn’t just leave her behind. Determined to make it work, Mark made another bold choice. He would bring her with him.
Mya was three years old, and had already spent her entire life by Mark’s side, so it only seemed natural to keep it that way. Inspired by Instagram influencers @alexborsuk and @lokithewolfdog, Mark began preparing for a great adventure with his pup. “It wasn’t easy and I had to fight hard to make it happen,” he says. “But in November, 2017, I was on a plane with Mya flying from Australia to North America and it was one of the best decisions we ever made.”
Mya quickly adapted to her adventurous new lifestyle. Meanwhile, her presence gave Mark a greater appreciation for all that they were experiencing. “Having her with me has forced me to think outside of the box for activities that I can include her in,” he says. Together, they paddle board, kayak, ski, snowshoe, bike and hike. Mya enjoys it all and, true to her breed, she always seems happier outdoors. So far, they’ve explored most of the major mountain resorts in Canada, as well as New York City, Niagara Falls, Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Hollywood – to name a few.
Not all sad stories have happy endings. But in Mark and Mya’s case, they chose to turn tragedy into triumph, and dreams into reality – and what an exciting reality it is! “Sometimes we do things together and I can see the look she gives me, like ‘Are you serious?’,” Mark laughs. “But I am certain that she would prefer to join me on our adventures over being left behind.”