Meet the 2015 Canadian Geographic Challenge participants
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What travel destination are you dreaming about?
As we all say goodbye (and good riddance!) to 2020, our Canadian Geographic, Canadian Geographic Education and Royal Canadian Geographical Society team are dreaming (and constantly checking flight prices) for where we might travel in 2021.
For Abi Hayward, associate editor and resident Brit, the first place she’s going is back to her hometown.
“The world is vast, and there are so many places to go. I spent November doing #NovNostalgia looking back on old travel photos, and feel very lucky to have travelled to all the places that I’ve been,” says Hayward. “There are so many more places I long to go to (Mongolia, Nepal, China, South Korea are all high up there!) But the first place I’ll go is back to Yorkshire: the winding ancient streets of York, the heather-covered moors, the fossil-studded cliffs of the coast. It’s where my family is — and it still feels like home.”
Graphic designer Christy Hutton has a top-three list.
“My top three that I’ve been dreaming about (and two I would have done this past summer/fall if it were not for COVID!) are to go back to Vancouver Island to visit a friend and just spend time there as I loved it so much last time, or to the desert southwest New Mexico area or Japan,” says Hutton. “The last two I have wanted to go to since I was a child.”
Our director of reconciliation, Charlene Bearhead, is heading to Paraguay as soon as she can.
“I have been waiting to travel to Loma Plata, Paraguay. I want to go there to witness the unique wildlife and landscapes that my daughter and son-in-law have shared with us as he is from there,” says Bearhead. “We also want to meet the Guarani people (the Indigenous people of the territory) and spend time learning about the diverse people, languages and ways of life in the Chaco.”
For managing editor Sarah Brown, it’s a Canada adventure she’ll escape to next.
“As we all turned our focus more inward this past year, I found myself thinking about all the amazing places in Canada that I want to experience,” says Brown. “I really love rainforests, so a return to Tofino and the hiking trails of Pacific Rim National Park is high on my list, and I’d love to visit the Haida Gwaii archipelago for the first time, both to learn more about the Indigenous culture of the region and for the wildlife watching, beach-combing, and nature walks. On the other side of the country, hiking in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland is always high on my list and I’ve heard so many fantastic tales of Fogo Island that I’ve added it to my very long list of places I need to see with my own eyes.”
Dominique Patnaik, educational program director might be headed somewhere warm — and of course somewhere educational!
“My ultimate bucket list places to visit are Hawaii and Costa Rica — I’d love to experience the cultures, languages, food and histories of these areas,” says Patnaik. “Closer to home, I’d love to visit the east and west coasts of Canada — I’ve never been! I’d love to see the colourful homes in Lunenburg and experience the unique east coast culture and famous hospitality! I want to explore the beautiful nature of the west coast of Canada and learn about the Indigenous cultures of the area. My bags are packed and I’m ready to go!”
Special projects editor Tanya Kirnishni has explored her own backyard a lot during this pandemic; she’s headed overseas once travel is widely safe again.
“I’ve got a bad travel itch to go back to Europe, and browsing through Pinterest and Instagram these past few months has been like scratching at a mosquito bite — it only itches more. I love the U.K., and having been there several times, I could happily keep visiting its towns and coastal villages for the rest of my life,” says Kirnishni. “However, in terms of somewhere new, Portugal is pretty high on my list. I love old places, rugged coastlines, and country roads lost to time — and from the photos I’ve seen, I’m absolutely charmed by the Portuguese architecture, the Azulejo tiles, and the twisted cork trees.”
Manager of editorial and travel partnerships, Andrew Lovesey, is thinking all things French —from trips closer to home, to lengthier journeys across the pond.
“I’ve been craving a proper French baguette for what feels like forever. I know we have magnificent patisseries here at home. And yes, there’s always la belle province. But there’s something about breaking bread along the Seine, or sipping wine deckside in Les Saintes, that really has me missing France. And bread. Even if it’s from a department like Guadeloupe, or St. Martin. At this point, I’d even settle for a brisk latté in St. Pierre et Miquelon. All jokes aside, I’m most looking forward to visiting France next summer, if the travel restrictions have lessened and it is safe to travel. Last summer, I travelled the Rideau Canal with my family — and RCGS travel partner Le Boat — and am keen to take the captain’s chair again as we sail the rivers and canals of Brittany as soon as possible.”
For editor-in-chief and associate publisher Aaron Kylie, it’s all about “home.”
“When I can travel again, I’m going to head “home” — to Ontario’s glorious Kawartha Lakes region for some canoeing, bird watching, fishing and to just enjoy the landscapes and sunsets. Bonus: my mom and dad live there, and at this point, it’s been almost a year since I’ve seen them. I miss them.”
Other places our team is dreaming of heading include Panama, Norway, South Africa and Cambodia.
We are also working hard with our travel partners Exodus Travels, Maple Leaf Adventures and Le Boat to provide thrilling adventures — in Canada and abroad — when the world opens up again.
Explore the remote western reaches of Canada, learning about ancient coastal cultures and the ecosystems that support them, with Maple Leaf Adventures. Maple Leaf Adventures offers unique small-ship sailing experiences with unparalleled access and expertise.
For those looking to stay within their bubble, captain your own ship and cruise down the historic Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with our friends at Le Boat. (A socially distanced vacation could not be more easy).
Or wander a bit further and plan the ultimate adventure: an RCGS Quest with Exodus Travels. Next year, representatives of the Society will be travelling to explore Morocco, Nepal, Albania, Costa Rica and more. These epic, one-of-a-kind journeys are trips that travel legends are made of.
Where will you travel next?
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