Ryan Bolton with a Beard

In high school, I dicked around. Skateboarding was most important to me. I did do enough to keep my marks at a respectable level. Upon graduation, I knew I wanted to tell stories. That was pretty much it. So, spread out on my kitchen table, with my mom leaning over my shoulder, I perused seven university acceptance packages for English and a couple for creative writing. I went with the package that offered me the best scholarship.

Dumb move.

I left that fall, my car bursting with miscellaneous objects like skateboards and bed sheets, for the University of Windsor. I studied creative writing, which was cool, but you don’t just become an author, I quickly learned, being naïve and all. In the middle of second year, the house that I was living in with close friends burned down. (It’s a story that involves a friend cooking with grease and using water as a fire extinguisher. Also a dumb move.) That was the last straw for me living in the armpit of Ontario. I was out.

After transferring to Wilfrid Laurier University (in part for chasing a girl—a girl that just became my wife), I completed my English degree. More than the education, though, I worked as an editor for the school’s magazine, Blueprint. I also contributed to the award-winning school newspaper, The Cord Weekly. I was hooked. Like a depraved drug addiction, I wanted more. To see your name in print with a story below is intoxicating. The throes of publication addiction had taken hold.

That’s why I tell stories. It’s my drug of choice.

I decided if writing was the route I was going to take, I would do an authentic test run. Following graduation, I boarded a commercial plane for the first time and headed to Ghana, Africa. For three months I was a journalist trainer and foreign correspondent for Journalists for Human Rights in a Liberian refugee camp. Hearing their stories and living with the proud, resilient refugees in this haphazard, 30,000-strong refugee camp cemented my desire to relay stories that had a purpose.

I enrolled in journalism school that fall.

Once again—although, sure, my education was enlightening—I started to work as a writer and editor. This time, however, with Sheridan’s campus magazine, TRAVIS. After eventually becoming the editor-in-chief of TRAVIS and working with a team that oozed talent, we won a couple awards. I got published in some national publications and got serious about writing. (I even got to chat to the Jonas Brothers about metaphors. Oh, the perks.)

To date, I’ve been able to travel to five continents to tell stories. I’ve been published widely for both my writing and photography. But more than this, if I can impact just one person with a story, I’ve done my job.

That’s why I tell stories. It’s my drug of choice.


Email Ryan by clicking right here.

Ryan likes to be creative—try at best—and tell stories. For the 9-to-5, Ryan is the director of communications at Student Life Network, a Toronto-based creative agency that builds communities and opportunities for university students. Ryan is also a writer that likes to break the rules and has been published widely, including in Sharp magazine, the National Post, Spacing magazine and works as a regular contributor with blogTO and Chill magazine. In his downtime, Ryan likes to play with Hank, his adorable Welsh Terrier that suffers from a slight attitude problem.

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