Wrapping up 2023, tourism is rebounding faster from the pandemic than most of us predicted. We weren’t’ supposed to see industry numbers like this until 2024 or even 2025, but the world has collectively decided to move on as if Covid never happened, and tourism has reflected this accordingly. Everything has definitely become more expensive, sometimes because of supply-chain issues, sometimes because it’s an opportunity for folks to maximize profits and take advantage of others. This is true for the tourism industry, and true for everything else too.
This year I really got stuck into my bi-weekly column for Canadian Geographic, chasing stories that are inspirational, worth knowing, and unique. It’s the cornerstone of my Bucket List brand: exploring destinations and activities that you can’t find anywhere else; are wholly memorable; practically attainable; and will make a great story you’ll want to share for the rest of your days.
I kicked off 2023 with a New Year’s Eve torchlight descent at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia. After many years of snowboarding, I’m now transitioning to skis, and it was a fantastic confidence booster (and a little terrifying) to ski at night. A few weeks later I found myself on BC’s Powder Highway, back on skis in Fernie, Kimberly and at the Panorama Mountain Resort. I explored quirky roadside attractions in New Brunswick, unique statues around the world, high-speed F1 yacht racing in San Francisco, and the origins of craft beer in the Pacific Northwest. Sometimes the story is about people too, like the Syrian refuges in Nova Scotia and their phenomenally successful chocolate business, or Scuba Diving Hall of Famer and cave diving legend Jill Heinerth.
The best travel is about the experiences you share, whether it means taking your kids medieval glamping in Alberta, or a parent on a bucket list hike in Newfoundland. Sometimes family travel lies on a spectrum between beluga whales in the north, the jungle in the south, and iconic theme-parks (I’m proud of this particularly honest review of Disneyland.)
I’m always on the lookout for unusual and memorable accommodation, from the world’s most northerly eco-lodge to surviving a night in Quebec City’s ice hotel. As for wildlife, I attempted to cage dive with saltwater crocodiles in Australia, hit the prairies to see the world’s largest concentration of snakes, and looked at places near and far to ethically volunteer with animals. The two back-to-back horse-riding expeditions I took to the Allenby Pass in Banff National Park showcased the Rockies at their finest, and was my inspiring debut as a Can Geo Adventures Travel Ambassador. Learning more about Indigenous experiences across the country shepherded me to prairies campfires and other inspiring locations around the country. Further afield, I researched upcoming stories about the Rio de Janeiro Carnaval in Brazil, a sustainable eco-lodge in Costa, and exploring French Polynesia with a small-ship Wind Star cruise.
I write a monthly blog for Great Canadian Trails too, where this year you can find stories about mountains, forests, whales and icebergs, cross-country skiing and great Canadian books. I celebrated Yukon for the territory’s 125th anniversary, took a curious look at Prince Edward Island, a ride along the beautiful Kettle Valley Heritage Trail, and explored Canadian wonders that double as international look-a-likes.
Please come in. Mahalo for removing your shoes.
After many years running a behemoth of a blog called Modern Gonzo, I've decided to a: publish a book or eight, and b: make my stories more digestible, relevant, and deserving of your battered attention.
Here you will find some of my adventures to over 100 countries, travel tips and advice, rantings, ravings, commentary, observations and ongoing adventures.