We had big plans for 2021 (see: 11 Trips Our Editors Are Dreaming of Taking in 2021, published at this time last year). While we may have been a little overzealous (we are travel editors, after all), we still had an incredible year in travel. We kicked things off with an action–packed look at skijoring in southern Alberta, visited Qaumajuq in Winnipeg, toured some lesser–known Greek isles, tasted the Canary Islands’ ancient volcanic wines and celebrated the best new restaurants in Canada.
From skijoring in southern Alberta to flamenco dancing in Seville, these 10 stories are just a few of our favourites from 2021.
We also travelled from our homes, exploring places like Shanghai, Sardinia and Edinburgh. We received dispatches from writers around the world, which allowed us to experience new places when we couldn’t physically leave our own. And when we could venture out again, we had some great ideas for where to start: camping in Canada, planning a workation and beach–hopping around colourful Curaçao, to name a few. While we’re all still finding our travel footing amid an always–changing pandemic landscape, 2021 has been chock full of exploration. These 10 pieces, hand–picked by the enRoute team, are just a few of our favourite stories that travelled this year.
Skis, saddles and speed in Alberta’s Foothills
“This story has it all: action, adventure, quirky characters, fascinating fashion choices, magnificent horses, fondue… and only in Alberta can you find them all mashed together at Skijordue. I love that the piece drops you right into the action and introduces you to the world of competitive skijoring through expert storytelling and stunning photography (plus, we threw a few videos in the digital version of the story to show you what it’s like to have ringside seats when the horses pound past, skiers in tow!).” —Sydney Loney, content director
A glimpse at life in New Zealand
“This piece was a part of our Windows on the World series, where we asked Canadians living abroad to give us a sense of what life was like where they were at the time. At a point in the pandemic when travel was so up in the air and it felt like it would be for a long time, these dispatches provided compelling glimpses of what it was truly like in each location – the next best thing to going there yourself. It was so interesting to read Jessica Wynne Lockhart’s first–person account of what it was like in New Zealand – a dream destination of mine for some time now – and how the country was handling the pandemic.” —Alexis Ramlall, editorial assistant
Seeing Scotland the Hebridean Way
“I used to go to the Scottish Highlands in my childhood to stay with ancient relatives in freezing cold houses, and I loved it: the wilderness, the culture, the stories, the heather, the water and the peat. Writer J.R. Patterson captures the unique Gaelic culture in the Outer Hebrides with lyricism and curiosity – he weaves in Gaelic words, the Hebridean way of life, the sense of these far–flung islands and the dramatic, constant presence of the sea in a way that makes you feel like you are there with him. I’ve never heard waves and wilderness described in so many evocative ways, plus his attention to detail and the knowledge he gleaned about the islands and their crafts, language, food, flora and fauna turn the reader into an instant expert. And then there’s his superb writing: “No wildness in all of Scotland prepared us for Harris. Whereas the southern islands are defined by light and openness, Harris is rough and dark and lunar, the most crocodilian of all the Hebrides, with small houses clinging to its jagged rocks. If Harris is the moon, low‑lying and lochan‑pitted Lewis has been swept by a finer cosmic broom.” —Antonia Whyatt, contributing editor
An interview with TikTok–famous throat singer Shina Novalinga
“Our art director Stefanie Sosiak introduced me to Montreal–based Inuk throat singer Shina Novalinga and pitched her as our feature interview for the March/April issue. Novalinga spoke with our contributor Ishani Nath, touching on her culture, art, how she is creating a community on TikTok and what it means to be spreading her traditions so widely, as well as some of her favourite destinations and travel experiences. I’m so glad we were able to either introduce her to or share more of her story with our readers. And the stunning portraits by Mickaël A. Bandassak, including one of Novalinga with her mother Caroline, made this piece shine even brighter. Bonus: In the digital version, we have a video of Novalinga and her mother throat singing together.” —Dominique Lamberton, senior editor
Dancing in the streets of Seville
“As someone who had the opportunity to watch flamenco dancing in Spain 15 years ago, I instantly felt like I was transported back again while reading this visual story that’s equal parts stunning imagery and carefully crafted poetic descriptions. I watched the bonus video footage we used for the Instagram story over and over and it made me so happy 💃.” —Davina Sinnatamby, social media strategist
Chasing icebergs off the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador
“This story perfectly illustrates how a giant iceberg can be waiting around the corner, in a cove or bay, when you least expect it in Newfoundland from April to August. The local photographers brought us up close through their stunning takes on the magnificent white giants that sleep on our shores. Being from Newfoundland, it was special to work on a piece so close to my heart.” —Lori Morgan, photo editor
Where to glamp in Canada
“This piece came at a time when we were connecting back to our local tourism and once again getting the chance to explore our surroundings. The beautiful photos really project you to each of the featured places. And if you have never tried camping before, glamping is a great, and comfortable, place to start.” —Felipe Batista Nunes, senior production manager
Let your zodiac sign decide your next vacation destination
“This is the perfect pandemic–era article and a fun twist on the typical horoscope piece. Plus, I love the images with the zodiac illustrations.” —Ian Gamache, product manager, digital
A personal and practical guide to travelling with disabilities
“In this article, Lisa Kadane shares her family’s experience, plus tips for travellers with autism, mobility issues, dementia and mental illness. It’s my top pick of the year for a variety of reasons: It was the first story I commissioned/edited when I joined the talented enRoute team six months ago, it’s currently nominated for Best Service Article at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards (!), and as someone who lives – and travels – with clinical anxiety, I feel personally connected to the narrative. Also, if there’s an enRoute story that gives voice to an underrepresented group or has some element of social or environmental justice, you can bet it’s a Jen Foden favourite.” —Jen Foden, senior editor