Right now is a pretty difficult time in the world. If you’re like us, you’ve been sitting in self-isolation for a month by this point and besides trying to fill your time with online work, Netflix, working out and Skyping with friends and family, you’re probably dreaming of travel.
I know we are.
That’s why in this post our goal is to get those travel juices flowing and keep your spirits up during these tough times!
Not only is this article a list of places we really want to visit after this is all over, but it’s also a tribute to some incredible countries that are going through so much right now.
Of course, we’re only going to travel to these places when it is safe and responsible to do so, but by keeping them at the forefront of our thoughts, it helps to keep us going during this difficult time and I hope it does the same for you.
Here it goes, our list of 10 dream destinations to travel after lockdown.
From stunning vistas and beautiful lakes to snowcapped peaks and spectacular hiking, Slovenia is one place that Dariece and I have always wanted to go.
In fact, it was on our travel itinerary for 2020 before we had to cancel everything due to the current global situation.
However, when this is all over, Slovenia will be one of the first places we want to visit. Not only does it have one of the most charming cities, a place we’ve always wanted to live (Llubjiana), but it also has some of Europe’s best fly fishing and it’s one of the most affordable countries in Europe as well.
If you guys have been following us for a while, you’ll know that I’m a fly fishing fanatic. Not only did I grow up fly fishing with my brother and dad, but since travelling with Dariece, I’ve fished in Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Argentina, and Nova Scotia!
Aside from being close to friends and family, there’s nothing more that we’re craving right now than being in nature, and Slovenia has it in spades. This is definitely one of the top places we want to visit after lockdown.
Ireland was the place we were meant to go to next, after Portugal.
In fact, we would’ve been travelling there right now if everything didn’t change a few weeks ago. So it’s definitely on our travel bucket list for when things are opened up again.
We were actually supposed to be there for St. Paddy’s day but of course, that was cancelled. I can imagine that in itself would’ve been pretty tough for a lot of Irish people to deal with.
Ireland has some spectacular old villages, dramatic coastlines, and Game of Thrones style castles. Not to mention, friendly people, and an epic pub and music culture!
It’s a place that we’ve always wanted to visit and we can’t wait to go there.
Our plan was to rent a car and drive around the country for 5 weeks. We had the car rented, accommodations booked and flights paid for too. But things change and that’s okay.
We just put Ireland on the back burner and we can’t wait to go there, meet up with our Irish friends over a beer and talk about this pandemic in the past tense.
Bulgaria is a place we’ve been to before and we absolutely loved it. The people there are so friendly and “aylyak” — which is untranslatable, but basically means doing everything at a relaxed pace and not worrying at all.
Also, it’s another one of the cheapest countries in the world and one of the best places for fly fishing, so that could be part of the reason I want to return.
But, while Dariece loves being out in nature, she isn’t willing to just follow me around the world so I can fish. Luckily, Bulgaria also has great wine — which is something that’ll always motivate her (and me).
But Bulgaria is more than fly fishing and vineyards, there’s also amazing hiking, nice beaches, stunning old towns, and fascinating historical sights.
This is a place where we could meet up with old friends and get out into nature. Two things we miss the most right now.
Grenada is our home. This is the island where we’ve been living on and off for the past 5 years. It’s where our friends are, it’s where we have our possessions stored and it’s a place we love more than anywhere.
When the virus started kicking off, Grenada actually handled it quite well. With just a few confirmed cases they’ve locked down to keep their citizens safe.
Dariece and I both caught it, as did most of the island. I really hope that their drastic measures in shutting down the island will help protect the wonderful people of the Isle of Spice.
Grenadians and our expat friends who live on the island are our family. We think of them as brothers and sisters and we really hope that they will get through this and come out stronger on the other side.
When this is all over, Dariece and I will be heading back there to be with our friends and to help the island as much as we can.
We are non-residents and therefore, don’t have any Canadian health insurance. Plus we’re “young” so we would worry more about being asymptomatic on a plane and passing the virus to someone more vulnerable than us.
This is why we decided to stay in Portugal during the pandemic, but when it’s safe to do so, we plan to head back to Canada to be with our friends and family there.
On top of that, when it comes to nature and the outdoors, nowhere in the world is better than Canada. Oh and the fly fishing is so good, but I won’t get into that.
All I can say is that while Canada may not be our home anymore, it’ll always be our homeland and we can’t wait to go back for a visit and give our family a massive hug when this is all over.
Are you starting to see a pattern here?!
Most of the places I’m listing are the ones with epic nature and again, you really can’t beat pristine Patagonia or the Argentinian Lake District when it comes to fantastic landscapes and raw natural beauty.
Patagonia and the Lake District was one of the few places we’ve ever been that I really felt sad leaving.
I felt like we needed another month or two, even though we spent more than 2 months living and travelling there.
I guess another part of the pattern forming on this list is the theme of fly fishing.
Argentina is a place where you can escape the crowds and be in the middle of nowhere, or meet up with new friends in a wine bar and talk about recent adventures. All the things we are craving most right now.
In fact, we just recently spent 3 weeks in Rome, before flying here to Lisbon.
We’ve all heard about what’s going on there right now and it’s devastating. All we can think of is how warm and welcoming Italians are. We know they can get through this and we really hope that it turns around soon for them.
Italy is a place where you seem to make a friend everywhere you go. Italians are hilarious, they’re kind, they’re welcoming and their love for life is an inspiration.
Italy also relies quite heavily on tourism, so after this is all over, we hope that people will return to this beautiful country, but perhaps this time with a more sustainable outlook on the way they travel.
If there wasn’t a Schengen Visa, we would both want to live in Italy, but because of the strict 90-day limit, we can’t.
But for sure, when things get better we want to return to Italy, have a glass of wine and a pizza with some of our Italian friends and help wherever we can.
Even though I’m writing this article from Lisbon, and we did have about a week to explore the city before everything changed, Portugal is a place that we can’t wait to experience more of.
It’s also a destination that will always have a special place in our hearts now.
I think that we’ve been a part of something enormous here and we feel like we’re all in this together in Lisbon. We’ve already been through so much with the Portuguese people and they’ve been so kind to us during it all.
The owner of our apartment has been helping us wherever he can, bringing us cleaning supplies and coffee, and translating the local news to us.
The people at the grocery stores have kept working to supply us all with essential food and the doctors here are doing an amazing job.
At 10 pm at night some nights, people here, like in Italy, are taking to their balconies and clapping for the doctors, nurses, health professionals and volunteers who are on the font-lines fighting this thing.
We feel a real sense of community here and we’re rooting for Portugal to pull through this.
When this is over, we’d love to head up the coast to check out some of the incredible beaches and historic towns, and drive south to explore the Algarve (maybe even go scuba diving there).
Either way, we’re just happy to be in a place that seems to be dealing with the crisis very well at this time. Portugal is an incredible country and Lisbon will forever be on our list of favourite cities.
9. New Zealand
A few of our friends, including one of my best travel buddies, are currently isolating in New Zealand.
Our friend Jason is lucky enough to have a place out in nature, so he’s been sending me photos of beautiful coastal walks and hikes he was doing and it just reminded me of how badly Dariece and I want to visit New Zealand one day.
I can just imagine meeting up with our friends and driving out to waterfalls, going hiking, exploring the coastline, visiting vineyards and just enjoying the country.
We’ve always thought of New Zealand as a smaller version of Canada, complete with the big, powerful next-door neighbour. It has all the things that we love about Canada but squeezed into a more compact and more accessible size.
Most of the country is also considerably warmer than Canada, which is always nice.
New Zealand has always been a place we’ve put of going to because we feel like once we go, we’ll want to live there. But maybe now is the time to visit and finally get a feel for it, meet up with old friends and get back to nature.
We did a backpacking trip to Africa in 2011 and while it wasn’t the easiest travel we’ve ever done, it was definitely some of the most fascinating and rewarding.
For some reason right now, we both think about animals a lot. We think about having our own dog and how nice that would be right now, but we also feel an urge to be in nature and to see animals in their natural habitat.
Maybe it’s something about getting back to basics and being more connected with the earth.
Either way, Botswana was one place that we didn’t get to go to on our last trip to Africa, but it’s somewhere we’d love to explore.
It’s been a long time since we’ve been on safari, and I think now is a good time to be reminded of how incredible Mother Nature can be.
There’s nowhere better to get up close and personal with wildlife than Africa, and Botswana has some of the best National Parks and Reserves on the continent — Okavango Delta and Moremi, and Chobe National Park to name a couple.
We also learned a lot from the people of Africa on our last trip, and we would love to meet some of the Tswana people of Botswana, hear their stories and try to understand their way of life.
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We know that this global pandemic is going to have a lasting effect on travel and we actually have no idea what our life will look like after this trip.
We only hope that we’ll still be able to visit different countries and connect with people who are different from us and learn about their culture.
There’s nothing that brings Dariece, myself, and I’m sure many people around the world, more joy than travelling and learning from people around the globe.
We’re sure that there will still be some form of that when this is all over and we’re excited to be a part of it, never take it for granted and help spread the word of travel wherever possible.
I hope that this post helps to keep you inspired during these isolated times, and looking forward to the day when the world re-opens, our friends and families are all safe and healthy, and things return to some level of normalcy.
As always, thank you for reading this article and for checking out our blog. We appreciate your support.
Nick & Dariece
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