Leaves are turning yellow and falling fast outside my office window, which means summer is either done, or nature is committing arboreal hari-kari. Can’t blame it either, what with anti-vaxxers protesting outside the same hospitals they’re clogging. I asked my sister-in-law, a nurse, if these idiots have really been as demoralizing for hospital staff as the media report. “Even worse,” she tells me. Red-eyed, overworked and stressed out, hospital staff are dealing with unvaccinated patients in ICU’s begging them for help just a few days after these same patients loudly proclaimed that the whole thing is a hoax, or they’re young and healthy and Covid is therefore not a threat. There’s a Reddit group that gathers journeys of Covid-deniers from vehement conspiracy theorists all the way to their death beds. Suicide by Covid they call it (and as with everything on Reddit, I apologize for what you might find there). It’s called CovidAteMyFace, but I suppose it could be called Schadenfreude. It’s sad and tragic and stupid and… enough of that. It's exhausting. We’re here for bucket list-inspired inspiration, and I’m happy to report I have some of that too.
Heli-fly fishing? Ghost Towns? Jet-boating? Tick tick tock. I saw out my summer outside the town of Terrace in Northern British Columbia, reminding myself that “heli” appended to any activity makes that activity infinitely cooler. Heli-dining. Heli-dating? Heli-tennis. Helicopters are surely the most graceful way to fly and the way we should all be getting around, not just the rich and powerful of Sao Paulo. The only problem is it costs between 75c and $1 a second to fly, and that’s after you’ve laid out the $250K - $1.7m for the actual machine. As with sail boats and hot tubs, a helicopter is not something you want to own so much as have a good friend who does. After a sensational weekend away with the folks of Northern Escape Heli Ski, I’d like to think I now do, although we’re all just heli-fans and adventurers, as opposed to billionaires looking to do anything with their disposable income – race super yachts, fly to space – rather than pay it in taxes. I’ll be posting full reports of my heli adventures in the coming months, and have added jet-boating along the Skeena to Canada's national bucket list.
My recent columns for Canadian Geographic Travel handpicked hidden bucket list gems in every province and territory, and invited enthusiasts to join some of the world’s best wildlife photographers for workshops in some of the world’s most spectacular settings. I also explored several travel trends that will continue to grow post-pandemic, including Transformational Travel, Inclusive Travel, Digital Nomadism and Virtual Travel. I’m often asked what the future of travel will look like, as the industry gets increasingly torn between a push for more authentic sustainable tourism, and operators and agencies willing and eager to do whatever they can to survive. Will travel be more expensive? Will it be more elitist? Will it usher in an era of growth and meaning? Probably all three. What I do know is that the pandemic continues to hammer away at us in unforeseen ways. Besides the on-going variants pushing more waves than waterpark, the cultural, economic and political impact is proving to be less positive than many of us hoped. The vaccine was supposed to be our Promised Land, not another dry log thrown into the furnace of the Cultural Wars. Still, you can’t do what I do and not be an optimist. Things have a habit of working out OK in the end, and our unlimited talent for rationalizing anything ensures that it’s usually all for the best. In the meantime, look at those pretty golden leaves!
For more joyful posts of a more joyful time, check out these archived posts:
Pura Vida in Costa Rica (Re-assuredly, my only post that features the phrase “Golden Showers.”)
The Best Places to Dive with Sharks (includes Tigers, Hammerheads and those wonderful Threshers)
The World’s Weirdest Festivals (includes The Testicle Festival, the Mosquito Killing World Championships, and The Summer Redneck Games). This post later inspired a TV show
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.