Skip to content

In Our Valley: Roop Kamal

Travel bug Roop puts down the suitcase to enjoy the scenery
Born in Chandigarh India, Roop Kamal moved to Canada in 2016 and is getting the opportunities she’s always aspired for. Now residing in Kitimat, she isn’t planning on leaving anytime soon. (photo supplied)

Usually eager to let the travel bug take over, Roop Kamal, is not afraid to let the wind direct her.

Born in Chandigarh, India, Roop studied and worked in the hospitality industry in India before moving to Nelson BC in 2016; she completed a three-year post-graduate degree in hospitality at Selkirk College.

“In the beginning, leaving home was really difficult. […] In Nelson I stayed in a homestay for 10 days, which was difficult because my program didn’t start for another month after that. So I had a hard time meeting people,” Kamal said.

“Every day I use to just get on the bus and travel around the Kootenays to see things. There were days I’d cried to myself and thought, why did I come here? But you can’t just pack your bags and go back. […] That said, having experience helped me a lot because, being in the hospitality industry back in India, I already had an idea what the culture might be like out here.”

Though Roop always appreciated the hospitality industry, she aspired to be a baker, however, hospitality seemed to be the better fit because of the flexibility offered within the industry.

“I was always into pastries, that’s why I joined hospitality, when I did my three-year graduation program in Nelson thought I was going to become a pastry chef, but [continuing] school would be so expensive if I wanted to do the pastry thing, […] plus I wanted to work the front desk,” she said.

Roop agreed that the flexibility within the hospitality industry was one of the main selling points, plus she figured that a hospitality degree would allow her the ability to freely travel from job to job.

“You can easily change jobs in hospitality. Like if you decide to move somewhere new, the jobs will relatively be the same anywhere you go, […] I thought about going to New Zealand first but I dropped that and decided, Canada it is, Kamal said.

Roop also had hopes of working the administration side of the military, but that ended up being a phase as hospitality seemed a little more fitting for her.

Throughout her days in school and beginning her career in North America, Roop would travel all over the world using Canada as a port to go anywhere she aspired to see.

“It’s a lot easier to travel out of Canada than it is out of India. Since being in Canada I’ve gone to Bali and in and out of the United States during a couple of road trips. I was planning on going to Vegas this year but you know, Covid,” Kamal said.

When Roop finished her degree at Selkirk College, she saw a job opportunity in Kitimat at the Microtel Suites that she couldn’t pass up. Coming to Kitimat she knew she would be able to attain the experience she was looking for while getting the opportunity to travel somewhere new inside British Columbia.

Not letting Covid stop her from exploring around, Roop has made multiple trips back to Nelson to visit friends and has made it down to the lower mainland and checked out all the bright lights Vancouver has to offer.

“I’ve travelled basically all of BC, […] I like Canada, but out of all the Province’s I like BC the most. […] I like how the highways are so accessible and there are lakes all over the place, I guess that’s why they call it beautiful BC,” Kamal said.

“I have so many different pictures in my phone of all the highways and lakes and everything BC has to offer, [the landscape] really makes you feel like, wow, that’s really there.”

Now residing in Kitimat for the last year and a half, she works as the assistant general manager at the Microtel Inn and Suites.

Roop believes that our little community is unlike anything else she’s ever experienced. As she usually spends her time hiking around the trails in town, Roop highlighted her first experience in Kitimat and how it really made her feel welcome.

“The very first thing I did when I came here, I went to that frozen yogurt place in the village [Sunrise General Merchandise], then got to watch the whales in the ocean which was so cool for me because I’ve never seen whales before.”

Though Roop still wants to see the world and is excited for borders to open up again, she doesn’t see herself moving away from Kitimat anytime soon.

“I like it here; plus I like how it has its own community here. […] It’s away from all the big cities, don’t get me wrong I like the big cities, but I like the calmness better because with the work lifestyle [Kitimat] is easier.”

READ MORE: In Our Valley - Dorothy Sarrell