Just Returned From → Whistler, British Columbia. Headed To → Kempinksi Ishtar Dead Sea, Jordan.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my adventurous life—it’s how to BE PREPARED.

I’d like to pass this on to you. Enter your email below and receive my free guide: THE TRAVELLER’S CHECKLIST.

…And travel bravely, friends!

2017: A Year in Review

09-italy

Looking back, 2017 had some amazing travel moments. And a couple epiphanies, too.

In This 2017 Retrospective You Will Discover:

  • Top Travel Moments
  • New Plans & Destinations
  • A New Style of Travel

It’s fair to say 2017 was a weird year. For not just me, but the planet at-large. The news cycle was often simply surreal. And personally, it was challenging in many ways.

If you’re hoping for the gossip on that last point, well, this is a travel blog—not a confessional. So too bad.

The year also brought with it some vital travel epiphanies. Over the past few years, I’ve been travelling at a frenetic pace. I’m no digital nomad, but certainly a dozen or more weeklong-plus trips per year hasn’t been uncommon.

I’m slowing it down. I’m taking my time. Being choosy. Looking for meaningful experiences and engaging stories.

How much am I slowing things down? Well, I’ve started using a Polaroid!

12-polaroid

Yeah, I’m that guy now.

I’ll be telling my friends: “If you’d like to see the real photos from our life… well, they’re not on Instagram. Come over. Have a beer. I’ll show you them in person.”

Professionally, it also means a few other things:

  • Travelling less. Yup, you have a travel writer saying he’s going to do “less.” Maybe 2018 will be a weird year too?
  • But in that sense, travelling bigger. And with more purpose.
  • Skipping media FAM tours. If you’re not in the biz, you may not know what I mean… but for fellow travel writers, it’ll be rare to see me joining a group FAM tour in 2018 and beyond. Why? I’m just not finding the stories I look for. They’re a distraction. A make-work project.
  • Looking for deeper stories. More adventure. And real adventure.
  • Email. Yes, I’m focusing on email storytelling. It’s not as sexy as Instagram, but done right, it can forge deeper connections. Check it.

(OK, so this is a bit of a confessional.)

I have big plans in the mix for 2018 already. They include winter camping in Ontario, a trip to the UK, a self-supported backcountry trek on the West Coast, cat-skiing in Central BC… Plus… well, keep posted. (Maybe Central Asia too.)

I’m also going to spend more time exploring my home province. This is what I grew up doing. When I caught the international travel bug in my 20s, I’ve admittedly done far too little of it. You’ll already notice this trend in my 2017 lookback.

I truly love exploring British Columbia on my motorcycle. Camping on the beach. Canoeing inland lakes. I don’t need to hop a plane to South America to go on a trek. I have the West Coast Trail right here.

And, at the risk of sounding preachy—I’ve been giving a lot more thought to my carbon footprint. I can ride my bicycle, recycle, use LED lights, eat locally—but then I hop into a jetplane and gallivant across the continent for a trip I’m halfway interested in and it all goes out the window.

I think we all need to consider this more.

Plus, my wife and I got a puppy in November. So travel will be on fewer planes, more road trips. Which I’m stoked about.

For now, let’s take a look at my most memorable moments from 2017. And think about your own, too.

Happy New Year, friends.

01-squamish

I’d never spent as much time exploring Squamish, British Columbia as I did on a weekend in February. It’s long been one of my favourite places to hike and swim—so I decided to delve deeper and write an article about the town itself for the Spring 2017 British Columbia Magazine. Turns out there is some great food, quality beer and unique accommodations to complement the recreation. Fun times! ( I would have even had the chance to fly a stunt plane, if the snow hadn’t piled up.)

02-sunpeaks

I had never skied Sun Peaks Resort. Located north of Kamloops, BC, it’s quietly the second-largest ski hill in Canada. My wife and I had two awesome days of skiing—but the dogsledding really stands out. I wrote about it in the Winter 2017 issue of British Columbia Magazine, and online at explore-mag.com. I love a ski-in village like Sun Peaks. It makes the trip special. Heck, I live a 30-minute drive from three mountains. I’m not going to drive to the slopes on my travels, too.

03-parckcity

Park City in March! More new slopes, this time south of the border. I’d heard about how dry and awesome Utah powder is, but I always thought it just typical ski resort bravado. Turns out there is real science behind it. And the skiing was epic! I loved Park City Mountain. Deer Valley was nice too, but the town’s signature behemoth is a true must-ski for any powder hound. I wrote about it in the Winter 2017 print issue of explore as well as online at explore-mag.com. They are two very different articles. The print issue was very tongue-in-cheek. I thought it was funny, anyway.

05-movingday

Moving day—April 30. A form of travel, anyway. After six years in our apartment, we moved into a townhouse and had to get used to this view. (Which was pretty easy.) It also meant discovering a new neighbourhood in Vancouver, which has been fun. (#YVR: have you heard of Trans Am cocktail bar? Me neither, before I moved to #PortTown!)

06-ugm

A powerful memory from 2017 came in June. I went on a hike-in camping trip with the Union Gospel Mission to interview some graduates from their “Expeditions” program. Expeditions uses outdoor adventure as therapy to further participants’ recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Chatting with Tom and Jonas was fascinating. I’m writing about the trip and the program in the Spring 2018 issue of explore.

07-echovalley2

Keeping with my mission to explore my home province more, I headed into BC’s dry Cariboo to visit Echo Valley Ranch & Spa in late-June. I’ll fully admit I was expecting to write a bit of a fluff piece on a luxury spa. What I found was a unique cultural crossroads and a meaty story. The above photo was taken when ranch co-owner Norm Dove took me for a spin in his Cesna on the final day. That’s BC’s Fraser Canyon—from evergreens to near-desert in just a few kilometres! I wrote about this experience in the Fall 2017 issue of British Columbia Magazine.

07-sailinglessons

This image represents some serious travel plans in the making. After years of daydreaming about buying a Catalina 27 and sailing the West Coast of BC, I finally took a tangible step: sailing lessons. This is day one, in early July, when we learned the basics in an boat meant for kids. I’ve actually only been sailing once since completing the program, but 2018 is going to bring more time under the mast. Keep posted for some epic sailing trips in the years to come.

07-treesisland

Tree Island… a.k.a. Sandy Island Marine Provincial Park… now properly known as Jáji7em and Kw’uhl Marine Park… was my stomping grounds as a kid. Some of my most treasured memories are of swimming, exploring and picnicking on its sunny shores. I hadn’t been since I was a teenager—which is, frankly, a crying shame. I spend a July day here, with family and friends. It’s a short boat ride from my family’s property on Vancouver Island, which is another 2018 resolution—spend more time in Deep Bay.

08-one ocean expeditions

When I said I’d be looking for bigger and deeper stories, I meant it. Late July and early August saw me travelling to Nunavut to board a One Ocean Expeditions trip into the High Arctic. For two weeks we sailed north along the coast of Baffin Island and beyond to Devon and Cornwallis islands. Polar bears. Narwhals. Inuit culture. Walruses. Franklin graves. It was a trip to remember. We topped out beyond 74 degrees north. I love Canada’s Arctic. I feel a strong connection to the landscape up there. I’ll return again and again. I wrote about this trip in the Winter 2017 issue of explore—a meaty eight-page feature.

09-italy

If you thought I’d spend all year in Canada, you don’t know me well. Late September and Early October saw my wife and I travelling to the Italian Riviera. Our reason was a family wedding—which was breathtaking—then we tacked on an additional 10 days to roam. We rented a Fiat in Milan, cruised to the coast to explore Zoagli, Portofino, Rapallo and Santa Margherita Ligure. Next stop: Cinque Terre (Vernazza, pictured) for some town-to-town hiking, before driving back to spend three days in Milan. And I haven’t written word about it, until now. I told you 2017 was weird! Look for some Italian road tripping tips to come in 2018.

11-puppy

Meet Chesterman. Named for a beach in Tofino, BC, he’s ushered some big changes for such a small guy. However, I haven’t slowed things down because of this puppy. The puppy is a part of the slow-down. Looking forward to our first camping trip next year.

12-tofino

I will close out the year in Tofino, surrounded by family. The above is a bit of a fabricated memory, as this photo was taken in 2016. You see, I’m in Tofino right now. Doing this. Perhaps exactly here. Although my wife is probably holding a dog leash, not a surfboard. (We can take turns.) Bring it on, 2018.

2017 Travel & Adventure Writing, By the Numbers:

  • 27 articles published in print magazines
  • 52 photos published in print magazines
  • 355,000+ magazine copies with my byline
  • 50 articles posted online
  • 7,066 Facebook likes/shares on the above posts
  • 4 corporate writing gigs
  • 1 downloadable e-book
  • 2 national award nominations

About the author: David Webb is a Vancouver, BC-based travel writer, photographer and magazine editor.

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