As we approach one year since COVID-19 was named a global pandemic by the World Health Organization, it’s easy to catch myself daydreaming about travel.
I often think about the people who have been so adversely affected in tourism all around the world, and I hope they have found a way to get through this strange and difficult time. I can’t wait until we can safely and responsibly support their industry again.
I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to keep working and making regular escapes to the Rocky Mountains for fresh air and close-to-home explorations. Even within the city, I’ve retreated to spectacular woods and parks that I rarely visited before, enjoying how the change of seasons slowly or suddenly alter the landscape and scenery as the days go by.
For now, the best thing to do is to stay home and follow the guidelines.
But once we can safely roam again, here are five places I can’t wait to get back to.
As a reminder, all travelers should follow restrictions and advisories in place, particularly for isolated or vulnerable destinations. Restrictions are in place to help keep the community safe. Please do your research before you visit to any destination once the pandemic ends. Being a responsible traveler is about ensuring the well-being and conservation of the place you visit, and protecting the people who live there.
Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico
I think of Todos Santos as unfinished business in some ways. I had the chance to visit there in February 2020, just weeks before the world went into lockdown. It’s incredible to think about how quickly everything changed just after returning home.
I spent a couple of nights at Los Colibris, a quaint and ultra-relaxing hotel comprised of customized “casitas”, nestled on a hillside overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Pick a favourite perch and grab a cold cerveza to watch the sunset – guaranteed you’ll be able to count more whales in the ocean than people on the beach far below. You could easily spend a week here, exploring the region and watching the waves.
Tofino, British Columbia
When my world gets a little hairy, I always retreat to Tofino, BC. I can’t wait to go for a long walk along Chesterman Beach or pick up a surf board to find some waves in Cox Bay.
The Wickaninnish Inn epitomizes opulent west coast living, where the spray from the powerful ocean waves often splatters against windows of The Pointe Restaurant, perched precariously on the rocks along the rugged coastline.
If your west coast adventures leave you feeling famished, there’s no better way to fuel up than with a fresh fish taco and chocolate diabolo cookie from Tacofino – look for the big orange food truck, (with most likely a few hungry people lined up) just off the Pacific Rim Highway. Trust me, it’s worth the wait.
Finn Lough, Northern Ireland
A few years ago, I had a chance to stay in a bubble dome at Finn Lough Luxury Hideaway in Northern Ireland. If you’re thinking it’s like camping, think again. Each dome is well appointed with a queen bed (with electric blankets), kettle (it’s not Ireland without tea and cookies), electricity, and a private adjoining washroom. These unique lodgings offer all of the comforts of a hotel room, but with 180 degrees of forest immersion and starry skies, thanks to a clear plastic dome that encompasses your shelter.
The domes are accessed from a small gated pathways, offering privacy from your neighbours. Not to miss is a walk through their Forest Spa Trail at Elements Spa.
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
*Please read and ahdere to all advisories – Visits to Haida Gwaii are not recommended during the pandemic to keep the community safe. Dream now, visit later.
Tasting a cloudberry for the first time, watching a community work together to raise a totem pole on a breathtaking beach, and exploring the dreamy coves in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve – a trip to Haida Gwaii is all about stepping into nature and letting it envelop you.
One of the best things about natural places is that each visit provides a vastly different experience, depending on the season, weather, wildlife, tides, and your own current mood. I have a sense that Haida Gwaii has so many secrets to share with anyone patient enough to quietly discover them.
After a year of staying close to home and living a “Groundhog Day” style routine, I dream of returning to otherworldly destinations, like Wadi Rum in Jordan. Sand dunes, camel rides, spending a night in a Bedouin camp in the desert – my memories are like foggy dreams of a forgotten time and place.
I have a distinct memory of stopping outside a small restaurant in Amman, watching through the window as someone was making falafel by hand. The shop owner saw my curiosity and a moment later, greeted me on the sidewalk with a paper towel full of steaming-hot falafel to try.
I miss these types of chance encounters that are often afforded by travel, as well as seeing vistas and environments that are so wildly different from home. These experiences will be even sweeter when the time comes when we can roam freely again.
Until then, stay healthy, stay safe, and keep on daydreaming.