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Where to go, Where to go?

Jonathan van Bilsen



March 7, 2021

Where to go, Where to go?

With numerous vaccines now becoming more and more available, countries and companies are beginning to look at life after COVID-19. In this article we're going to take a look at some of the amazing places you may wish to visit, once we are allowed to travel. I personally have had the privilege of visiting these places, some of which appear in past episodes of my photosNtravel show, and many, which will appear in upcoming shows. 

Let’s begin with Africa. There is very little that beats the excitement and exhilaration of watching animals in their natural habitat, roaming the plains of Africa. While the great migrations of Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa are the most popular destinations, countries such as Botswana and Namibia, also offer spectacular safari opportunities.

I spent several weeks in Namibia, and found the northern Etosha region to be one of the most pristine areas for viewing wildlife. The abundance of elephants, giraffes and dozens of other species make this area a definite must for any adventure travelling.

Ireland is one of those countries everyone seems to know a fair bit about. I had the pleasure of spending two weeks on this beautiful island, and discovered numerous hidden gems. From walking in the steps of Finn McCool, on the Giant’s Causeway, to tasting a dram in Bushmills, shopping for sweaters in Donegal or beautiful crystal in Waterford, Ireland has it all. Friendly people, beautiful countryside, and a pub on every corner.

From the big city of Dublin to the rural delights of the countryside, the Emerald Isle is full of extraordinary scenery and warm welcomes. Explore ancient sights and gorgeous green landscapes by day, and spend your nights sipping stout by the fire, while listening to a band play traditional Irish music in a local pub.  

One of my favourite places on earth is a group of volcanic islands that straddle the equator, known as the Galapagos. Cut off from the rest of the world, life has evolved and wildlife has adapted to this unique environment, helping to inspire Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in the process. 

I flew into the island of Baltras and spent ten days visiting each island in the vicinity. Cruises will also be available again soon, and no matter how you visit, the experience of walking among iguanas, stepping over Blue Footed Boobie Birds or staring giant tortoises in the eye, is one that is not to be missed.

One can never visit Italy enough times, as there is always something unique and surprising, waiting in store for every traveller. Perhaps the picturesque sights of Venice, or seeing the art of Florence, is what satisfies your fancy or maybe the hills of Amalfi, or exploring the ruins of Pompeii. For me it was all those, as well as the wonders of Bari and the marvels of Sicily, which almost appeared to be an entirely different country.

The food, the wine, the history and the countryside is waiting for you in Italy, the home of ‘La Dolce Vita’ and ‘Amore’. Whether you take a bicycle trek through Tuscany, or feast on fantastic food and fine wine in a relaxed atmosphere, Italy is the place to experience it all.

The January photosNtravel episode to Paris covered most of the highlights of the ‘City of Lights’, but seeing a city like Paris with your own eyes is what travel is all about. Viewing it from a cruise down the River Seine, is just the way to start your trip.

Visiting tourist havens like the Eiffel Tower or the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Élysées are a must for any visit, but hidden gems like a day at Versailles or a visit to the Latin Quarter should also be included. Your bucket list will be officially ticked when you sip champagne while watching the sunset from the hills of Montmartre. 

From the ancient medinas and markets of Fez and Marrakech to the orange sands of the Sahara and peaks of the Atlas Mountains, Morocco offers a kaleidoscope of travel experiences. While you can almost see Europe from Morocco's shores, a visit to this North African nation will transport you into a different era and civilization.

Bartering in small souks, staying in luxurious Palace hotels, or experiencing unique desert landscapes, Morocco is a fantastic country to visit once this pandemic is over 

I've only been on the Amazon once in my life, and unfortunately during the trip, my boat was marooned on a sandbank. This experience could have been disastrous, but turned out to be very memorable and unique. The world's largest rainforest stretches across multiple South American nations, offering endless adventures and opportunities to learn about this fragile and unique ecosystem, and the indigenous cultures that call it home.

There are many different ways of experiencing an Amazon adventure; staying in luxurious tree houses, doing jungle Safaris or leisurely drifting on a boat. No matter how you do it, the Amazon offers spectacular surprises around every turn.

South America is full of captivating cities, but none conjures up quite the allure of Rio de Janeiro. One of my most favourite adventures in visiting this breathtaking city was trekking to the top of Corcovado, and seeing the statue of Christ the Redeemer, as it overlooks the entire city, the mountains and the ocean.

Soak up the sun and play some soccer on the golden sands of Ipanema or Copacabana beaches. Perhaps you'll want to coordinate your trip so you can get caught up in the pulse of the city during Carnival, for the ultimate bucket list experience. 

Sometimes it's easy to forget how much natural beauty we have on our own doorstep, so head out the door and into the car for a road trip that connects you to some of our amazing national parks in Western Canada. In Jasper I visited the Edith Cavell Glacier, experienced white water rafting and hiked endless trails along beautiful scenery. In Banff I shared the road with mule deer, and on one occasion, was fortunate to be able to spend a night at the Banff Springs Hotel. If golf is your thing the Kananaskis area has spectacular courses with unmatched scenery, but regardless of your interest, Canada's national parks have it all.

We may not be able to travel as yet, but spring is just around the corner, as is the vaccine, and hopefully the beginning of the end of this dreadful experience.

Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel TV show can be watched on RogersTV and YouTube. To follow Jonathan’s travel adventures visit

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