RICHMOND, B.C. - Jaeger Mah arrived at Vancouver's airport Wednesday looking every bit like a tourist, dressed in a splashy orange and purple Hawaiian-style shirt with a duffel bag slung over his shoulder and a video camera in his hands.
But he wasn't going anywhere.
Instead, the 29-year-old will be spending the next 80 days living at the airport, where he will tell stories about the thousands of people who work there or pass through it every day while also looking for a place to do his laundry.
Mah, who is originally from Port Alberni and started a video production company earlier this year in Vancouver, entered a contest to become the airport's official storyteller.
His slick video entry won the most support in an online vote, and he arrived for his first day on the job on Wednesday. His morning started with an aerial tour of the airport and its surrounding areas in a Learjet before settling in at a makeshift living room in the international terminal.
"There's this huge crave for adventure, especially people that love to travel, they want to go to new places, experience new cultures," Mah told reporters while sitting on his new couch and snacking on some popcorn as a few curious passersby looked on.
"And the coolest part about living here at the airport is there's a thousand cultures walking through here every day. I'm meeting people who work here, who work on the tarmac, who work in traffic control. I'm meeting travellers who are coming from all over the place."
Mah will be living at the airport's upscale Fairmont hotel and will have spending money each day to cover food. The airport also set him up with a video camera and editing equipment, and when he's finished he'll walk away with $15,000 cash.
He won't be stuck at the airport. Mah will be searching for stories around Sea Island, the small parcel of land south of Vancouver that houses the airport, a number of other businesses and waterfront park land.
The stories he uncovers will be uploaded to the official "Live at YVR" blog, which will feature written entries and videos, and he'll also be posting updates to Twitter.
Mah said he already has hundreds of ideas floating around in his head and he'll be encouraging visitors to his blog to make suggestions.
The stories will range from diary entries about what it's like living at the airport to in-depth features about workers and travellers he meets.
"I want to go airside, I want to hit the tarmac, I want to put on the overalls and get out there, fuel these planes, work with the emergency response teams, and I'll also be showcasing the personal stories of travellers," said Mah.
"Everybody has an amazing story, that's one thing I truly believe."
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