Our robot overlords are coming, and they’ve got some travel tips. We recently saw the launch of ChatGPT, the most advanced AI chatbot engine yet, capable of churning out articles and stories in seconds, and freely available to test drive. “Looks like you’ll soon be out of a job,” texted a friend. If that’s the case, I thought it would be fun to let ChatGPT write a blog post. As you can see below, it does a perfectly acceptable, albeit mind-numbingly dull job, the kind of stuff you’d find on crappy SEO-web traps that feel like they’ve been created by robots anyway. Bear in mind, these stories were generated in mere seconds.
There are many things that could be on a Canadian bucket list, as Canada is a vast and diverse country with a lot to offer. Some possible items that could be on a Canadian bucket list include:
Canada offers many unique travel experiences, due to its vast and diverse landscapes, rich culture, and abundant natural beauty. Some of the most unique travel experiences in Canada could include:
That’s a decent variety GPT, but travel writers like myself write stories, so let’s try one of those:
Once upon a time, a couple decided to take a trip to Canada to explore the beautiful landscapes and rich culture of the country. They packed their bags and set off on an adventure that they would never forget.
As they flew over the vast expanse of the Canadian wilderness, they were awestruck by the stunning views of snow-capped mountains, deep forests, and crystal clear lakes. They landed in Toronto, a bustling city known for its vibrant arts and culture scene. They spent their first few days in Toronto exploring the city’s many attractions. They visited the CN Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world, and enjoyed breathtaking views of the city from the observation deck. They also visited the Royal Ontario Museum, where they marveled at the vast collection of artifacts and exhibits.
After a few days in Toronto, they decided to rent a car and drive west to the beautiful province of Alberta. As they drove through the countryside, they were mesmerized by the stunning views of the Rocky Mountains and the vast expanses of untouched wilderness.
In Alberta, they spent their days hiking in the mountains, marveling at the breathtaking beauty of the landscape. They also visited Banff National Park, where they saw stunning glaciers, waterfalls, and wildlife.
After a week in Alberta, they continued their journey east to the province of Quebec. In Quebec, they were enchanted by the charming French-Canadian culture and the beautiful architecture of the old city of Quebec. They spent their days wandering the cobbled streets and enjoying delicious French cuisine. Their trip to Canada was an unforgettable adventure that they would always cherish. They returned home with a newfound appreciation for the beauty and diversity of the country, and a desire to explore more of its wonders in the future.
Once a upon a… zzzzz. Only a robot that never sleeps would drive from Toronto to Alberta and then head to Quebec City. Check your itinerary ChatGPT! Where’s the colour, where’s the personality, where’s the real-life funny stuff? So I asked ChatGPT to have another go.
There was once a group of friends who decided to embark on a journey to complete their Canadian bucket list. The first item on their list was to visit Niagara Falls and take a boat tour through the spectacular Niagara Gorge.
As they arrived at the falls, they were greeted by a gruff and weather-beaten tour guide who seemed to have seen it all. “Welcome to the Mighty Niagara Falls!” he boomed. “Are you ready to experience the thrill of a lifetime?”
The friends nodded eagerly, eager to get started on their adventure. The tour guide led them to a small boat that was moored at the edge of the falls. As they climbed aboard, the tour guide gave them each a yellow raincoat and a safety briefing.
“Now listen up!” he yelled over the roar of the falls. “If you fall out of the boat, don’t panic! Just grab hold of one of the life rings and we’ll fish you out!”
The friends exchanged nervous glances as they donned their raincoats and prepared for the ride of their lives. The tour guide revved up the engine and the boat set off into the heart of the Niagara Gorge. As they made their way through the swirling mists and roaring waters, the friends were awestruck by the beauty of the falls. They cheered and shouted with excitement as they passed under the powerful Horseshoe Falls, getting drenched by the mist and spray.
But just as they were beginning to relax and enjoy the ride, disaster struck. A sudden gust of wind caught hold of one of the life rings, sending it flying out of the boat and into the raging waters below. Without hesitation, the tour guide leapt into action. “Man overboard!” he yelled, diving into the water after the life ring. The friends watched in amazement as the tour guide fought against the powerful current, finally emerging triumphantly with the life ring in hand. “And that, my friends,” he said with a grin, “is how you survive a tour of the Niagara Falls!”
The friends laughed and cheered as the tour guide helped them back aboard the boat, grateful for their brush with disaster and the unforgettable experience of a lifetime.
Holy maple syrup, that’s a lot more exciting than my visit to Niagara Falls! Never mind the rapids, readers of that story must be careful to avoid drowning in thick and deadly cliches.
This has been an entertaining exercise to reassure myself that real writers add authentic, creative flair to their stories, the kind of unpredictable twists that AI bots – no matter how sophisticated – will always struggle with. We will either become more valued as a result, or future advances in the technology will be able to mimic our voices to make us redundant.
As a travel writer, I have had the opportunity to visit many amazing destinations around the world. But there is one country that always manages to surprise and delight me, no matter how many times I visit: Canada.
From the breathtaking natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the Bay of Fundy, to the vibrant culture and history of its cities, Canada has something for everyone.
One of my favourite things about Canada is its diverse landscape, which ranges from icy tundra in the north to lush rainforests in the west. This diversity is reflected in the wide variety of outdoor activities that are available, from skiing and snowboarding in the winter to hiking and fishing in the summer.
But Canada is more than just a paradise for nature lovers. It is also home to some of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world, such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. These cities offer a wide range of cultural attractions, from world-class museums and galleries to lively music and arts scenes.
But what really sets Canada apart from other destinations is the warmth and hospitality of its people. Canadians are known for their friendly and welcoming attitude, and they are always happy to share their country’s rich history and culture with visitors.
Whether you are looking for adventure or relaxation, Canada has something to offer. So pack your bags and head north to experience all that this amazing country has to offer.
With that generically vanilla, paint-drying editorial effort, I think my job is safe. For now.
Robin Esrock’s THE GREAT GLOBAL BUCKET LIST set
for major release in summer 2016
“He’s been everywhere, he’s done everything.” –60 Minutes
VANCOUVER – For over a decade, bestselling author, TV host and travel expert Robin Esrock has sought out the extraordinary, visiting 110 countries on 7 continents in search of the adventures, destinations and cultural spectacles that make life worth living.
HarperCollins Canada is thrilled to announce the publication of The Great Global Bucket List, Esrock’s personal journey to discover the world’s very best experiences. Continuing Esrock’s trailblazing vision to re-invent the guidebook, this inspiring, fascinating, and frequently funny book is accompanied by rich digital media, including an up-to-date website, dozens of videos, galleries, a blog, and social channels for readers to share their own experiences.
From cruising down the Amazon River to camping in Zanzibar, Robin’s bucket list is full of characters, trivia, history and humour, proving that modern travel is so much more than over-trafficked tourist attractions.
“Bucket Listers are chasing unique, authentic experiences, along with real moments and meaningful connections to the world around them,” explains Robin, a former travel columnist for The Globe and Mail, MSN and Outpost, “That includes ancient wonders, but also swimming in mud volcanoes, tracking wildebeest, and sampling local dishes that don’t always taste like chicken.”
The Great Global Bucket List will be on shelves nationwide in September 2016, shortly after the launch of the companion site, globalbucketlist.com. For more about Canada’s #1 selling travel author, visit www.robinesrock.com.
For further information, please contact:
Kelsey Marshall, Publicist
Praise for Robin Esrock
“When it comes to bucket lists, he’s kicked that travel bucket so many times it doesn’t know what hemisphere it’s in. Esrock has done it!”
– Canadian Traveller Magazine
“One of Canada’s top travel writers and definitely one of our bigger personalities.”
– The Globe and Mail
“Robin Esrock, hitherto known as the Evel Knievel of Travel, knows what’s he’s writing about.”
– Canadian Living
“One crucial thing sets Robin Esrock’s book apart. It’s full of accounts written by someone who’s actually explored these places.”
– The Georgia Straight
THE GREAT GLOBAL BUCKET LIST BY Robin Esrock
Patrick Crean Editions | 9781443442367 | On Sale September 1, 2016 | $19.99 CAN | TPB
Common Sense Rule #8: Never argue with a man holding a loaded AK-47
Having solo-travelled extensively on six continents, I’ve always maintained that travel is perfectly safe and more enjoyable if you use common sense, and aren’t afraid to be a little social. In my experience, people would rather help you than hurt you.
That being said, sour apples that can spoil any cider, and some regions better suited to solo leisure travel than others. Solo travellers might be picked out for all manner of mischief, like a stray animal who wanders from the safety of the pack.
I’ve met solo female travellers who have been harassed in taxis, although I’ve also met plenty of solo female travellers who have managed fine in some pretty challenging countries. Some guys fall in with the wrong crowd, or might be targeted as oblivious drug mules. I’ve been drugged a couple times (never accept a Flaming Lamborghini from pretty flight attendants in Hong Kong, let’s leave it at that) but once again, the kindness of strangers helped me emerge unscathed. It might be safe to travel in parts of the countries and regions below, although it’s well worth doing your research about conflict zones, hot spots and the latest political turbulence. Hopefully, with improving political and economic stability, this list of volatile places to avoid will grow smaller, not longer.
The reality is that, depending on the type of person you are, you shouldn’t travel alone anywhere OR it's best to travel alone everywhere. While some travellers need a tour bus, others might be particularly resourceful in the event of conflict. Some travellers might enjoy a little adventure, others less so.
I can certainly testify that supposed hot spots like Johannesburg, Sao Paulo, New Delhi and Bogota are wonderful places to visit, provided you don’t end up in the wrong part of town, and especially with the wrong type of company. Every year, thousands of solo travellers visit the countries above without any incident, amazed at the people and experiences they encounter. Weigh up the risks, take precautions and use common sense. When it comes down to it, paranoia is one of the worst weapons the modern traveller should worry about.
Esrock Wins Prestigious Award
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island - At the 2013 Canadian Tourism Commission annual Go Media Marketplace, I walked away with a prestigious award for Best Online Video.
A few days after my wedding in 2011, I jetted off to Calgary with my genius filmmaker friend Ian Mackenzie to capture the essence of the Calgary Stampede for it's 100-year celebration.
Together we produced a cutting edge series for the Matador Travel Network, showcasing the event, nightlife, culture, rodeo and people that make the Stampede "the Greatest Show on Earth". The series encompassed videos, articles and galleries, unafraid to ask the big questions - are animals being abused in the rodeo? - or to swallow the prairie oysters. We were proud of our work, and thrilled that the judges agreed too.
"The dynamic and exciting profile of the Calgary Stampede and the city of Calgary, AB, was a surefire winner for judge Jennifer Bell. 'I was drawn to the wealth of arts and culture that the city has to offer—and of course bull riding, beer drinking and country music,' Bell noted. 'Robin Esrock and the Matador Network brilliantly showcased one of the true jewels in Canada's tourism crown.'
I should also mention that I accepted the award in full drag, dressed in a platinum wig and slinky number for Tourism Winnipeg's shaken-not-stirred pre-Awards cocktail party.
There must be an award for being able to pull that off!
Go Media 2013 Award Winners. See if you can spot me!
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.