What Have I been Up to Since the Pandemic Started?

Travel Uncharted Backpacker 

It has been a long year for everybody and for those who have not been able to travel we have had to adjust from the nomadic life to staying put for the time being. Since February I too have resided to my home base here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. With little hope of traveling anytime soon, it has been a struggle to keep up with my travel blog, not because I do not have lots of stories to tell, but more so because talking about travel only makes me miss it more! Many of my friends have decided to take the plunge and try traveling at this time and I think that is wonderful, but for me staying at home and figuring out life has been a healing, necessary process for me! So, what exactly have I been up to this year? And what are the plans for the future of Uncharted Backpacker? 

The Beginning of 2020

This year in the travel aspect was quite possibly one of the most exciting years I have ever had! Starting out in Brazil I crossed the Amazon Rainforest in search of tribes, wildlife, and adventure! In February I traveled to Argentina and boarded a ship to my last and final continent, Antarctica working closely with Poseidon Expeditions

What Have I been Up to Since the Pandemic Started?
7 of 7 Continents!

Despite 2020 being a year of no travel, I did manage to complete a lifetime goal of wanting to step foot on all corners of this beautiful planet. 

What Have I been Up to Since the Pandemic Started?
Paradise Bay Antarctica

When I arrived back in Brazil from Antarctica is when the pandemic really began to heat up. Canada announced that borders may begin to close and in Brazil, we were advised to leave. I boarded a plane straight home and one week later all the world shut down. 

What Have I been Up to Since the Pandemic Started?
Last Days in Brazil!

Lockdown 2020 

Lockdown here in Canada was difficult, we were told that hiking, visiting nature, or leaving your home for anything other than the essentials was not permitted. With the weather warming and living next to the Canadian Rockies, all I wanted was to get into our nature. This is where I truly saw the effects of how painful it can be seeing others on social media platforms still living their lives while many of us had to stay put. 

I too continued to post on social media but began to not see a point in at anymore. Instead, I decided to leave the travel blogging life for a while and see what other exciting aspects of life waited for me! 

The Spice Merchant

Nine years ago, I started a business here in Canada. I imported spices from all the amazing countries I have visited so that Canadians could taste the incredible cuisines I experienced whilst traveling the world. 

What Have I been Up to Since the Pandemic Started?

Now with travel not being possible and lockdown restrictions beginning to lift, I thought “why not further this business?”. I took the plunge and opened a storefront in Calgary’s Crossroads Market! 

Over the past few months, this business has grown rapidly with me supporting friends who farm spice in over thirty countries! But one product I sell in my store has kept closest to my heart and that is the coffee from the plantations I visited in Yemen two years ago. After talking with the farmers in Yemen I truly realized how my life here in Canada during the pandemic really was not difficult at all. 

The money made from this coffee goes to help the wonderful people in Yemen and I encourage you to purchase some of their delicious coffee and support them in these desperate times.

Here is a link to my store page where you too can get Yemeni Coffee! 

Canadian Travel 2020

To be honest apart from my travels in Antarctica and South America I have barely even left my province in Canada this year! But I do happen to live in one of the most beautiful parts of Canada. 

What Have I been Up to Since the Pandemic Started?
Hiking in Kananaskis

In the summer when restrictions were lifted, I did many hikes in Banff and Jasper National Parks. It was amazing to experience some of my own country and at my own pace. I didn’t post much of this on social media or my blog, because I just wanted to enjoy it for myself for once. 

What Have I been Up to Since the Pandemic Started?
Moraine Lake

What’s Next? Will I Travel?  

The year is coming to an end, but the pandemic is still here, this leaves many of my following asking me “will the uncharted backpacker travel?”. For the time being, I will not be traveling, and this is for two reasons. 

Firstly, Canada has not lifted the 2-week quarantine, financially this makes it very hard to travel as any trip I decide to take means taking another two extra weeks off from work and my business.  

Second, travel right now does not seem appealing to me, shops remain closed, social distancing is in place and most borders are not open to international travel. For me, traveling does not seem fun like it used to be! So, I will continue to wait it out. 

Staying clear of the internet for so long has truly been a healing process and now when travel reopens I feel that I will have a clearer mind and stronger intuition to continue showing what I love most about the cultures, food, and diversity of our planet! 

Stay tuned! The Uncharted Backpacker is still here! 

See my spices at www.thespicemerchant.ca

Stephen Gollan

Uncharted Backpacker is a glimpse at the past eleven years of globetrotting I have done. Now at over ninety countries I share my travel knowledge for you so you too can travel the world and see what wonders it has to offer.

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