I promised this article to discuss my travel on my recent trip- what has changed during this pandemic for travel in 2021. In 2020, who would guess in 2021 my Intrepid tour planned for Haida Gwaii in either June or August (it started out in June- I switched it to August in April) would be cancelled, and I would end up travelling independently to British Coloumbia.
When I made the decision in 2020 to go to Haida Gwaii, I figured that vaccines would be plentiful, and all would be good. I did not consider that certain parts and people might not embrace a fully vaccinated life. This essentially ensured that remote areas of our country, with little population and even fewer medical facilities would continue in isolation- and so this part of our trip was cancelled.
A little bit about this Intrepid trip…….on the calendar for another year……
Considered the Galapagos of the North, the Haida Gwaii Islands Expedition is a comfort style of trip focused on the culture and wildlife of the Haida Gwaii. It is an isolated and wildlife-rich archipelago continuously inhabited by the Haida Nation for over 10,000 years. In addition to the splendid nature (think a northern rainforest) of Haida Gwaii, this takes you on a rare voyage into Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, where you will cruise through the waters of a protected area very few people are permitted to enter to spot wild grizzlies, seals, sea lions and bald eagles. This trip is a breath of fresh air for nature lovers.
I have included a copy of the map below, as it could be of interest to many.
Around this trip of 8 days, I had arranged hotels in Vancouver. My friend Sue F had never been, and it had been years since I explored Vancouver. So instead of heading to Haida Gwaii, we rented a car and took the ferry to Vancouver Island to explore Victoria, and then drove north to the wilds of the island around Nanaimo and Campbell River. More on this aspect to come!
How did travel in 2021 feel while we were in our own country? Good!
What made us uncomfortable? Well here is a short list…..
- The airplane was not uncrowded. Flying out, almost every seat was taken. Although masks and hand sanitizer were handed out, and everyone wore masks, it was still a surprise after my trip in October of 2020 when fewer seats were filled.
- Getting off the airplane- nothing has changed. It is still a free for all. It is up to you to try to maintain distance.
- We avoided crowded situations on public transit. We did take the rapid transit from the airport. That was not a problem. We did avoid the public buses at rush hour.
What made us feel good?
- Going on a trip! Yes- the psychological benefits were high, and in my opinion outweighed the low risks (my opinion only!).
- Spending time outdoors hiking and boating on the water was of huge benefit.
- Seeing the number of other people travelling from within Canada. And a few from the states that had ventured north.
What did we do different, than say in 2019 when we travelled?
First of all, the ubiquitous mask was everywhere with us. Not everyone wore them- in BC it is suggested/ recommended- not mandated. I was a bit shocked at the number of people who did not wear their masks. But we had ours with us at all times, wore them inside, on the airplane, and even occasionally in close quarters outside. (Not often for this last, but always on the ready!)
Contact tracing is important- so names and phone numbers at most of the restaurants, other than coffee shops.
Other than that- nothing has changed in my opinion for travel in 2021 in Canada. As a fully vaccinated traveller, I feel confident that the vaccine will do its job, and keep me safe. Even if I am infected, the chances I will get dangerously ill are slim- and I have always been a person that plays the odds in certain situations. I consider myself an educated risk taker, and the risk here is low. So my advice? If you want to travel somewhere, and check out how it goes, Canada is an ideal place to start! If you are still uncomfortable, that’s okay too……