Dariece and Nick are the Goats on the Road: travellers, videographers, photographers and writers who founded a blog dedicated to their passion. The adventure-loving Canadian couple have travelled all over the world, and their blog charts everything from saving for your trip to bringing you top experiences and inspiration from on the road. The proactive duo even spent lockdown working on a new website: Into Fly Fishing. We got in touch to find out more.
Q: You are usually based in Grenada (Caribbean) but found yourselves “stuck” in Portugal during the pandemic – do you miss home?
A: Nick and I miss the beautiful island of Grenada and all of our incredible friends and community there. I miss the lush green hills, the turquoise blue water and the bright red flamboyant trees that will be in full bloom right now.
Having said that, and all things considered, we're OK with being "stuck" in Portugal right now — there are definitely worse places to be!
We're world travellers and wanderers at heart. So, while it's been tough to only see our friends in Grenada via WhatsApp chat, we're accustomed to this nomadic way of life.
Not only are we used to travelling around and being in unfamiliar places, but we’ve been making money while travelling since 2012. We're grateful that we're able to work remotely from our laptops, and have our online jobs with us during this unusual time.
Q: Grenada, Portugal and your native Vancouver are all very popular tourist destinations and suffering greatly from the lack of travellers these days. What kind of changes or shifts in mind-set have you experienced during this time?
A: Yes, all three of those destinations rely heavily on tourism, and it will most likely be a slow recovery. As with many cities and countries right now, there's a push for staycations and exploration of your own backyard, while supporting small businesses where possible.
In Grenada, we’ve noticed some promotion to visit the Sister Isle of Carriacou, and there are travel "bubbles" in place with the other low-risk Caribbean countries (CARICOM) to hopefully receive some tourism from the nearby islands.
In Portugal, the border with Spain opened recently as did the "air bridge" with the UK. So, there have been some more international visitors over the past month, which will hopefully help to boost the economy a bit right now.
Portugal has also adopted a "Clean and Safe" seal, which notifies travellers that the accommodation has been properly disinfected. There are also many other safety measures in place, such as wearing masks, disinfecting hands, and maintaining a 2-metre distance between people.
Something that seems to be popular right now in Portugal and Canada is Campervan and RV trips — especially for those who already own a van or some sort of trailer. Not only is this a great way to save money on food and accommodation, but it's a good way to practice social distancing right now, as you're self-contained.
We actually hired a campervan here in Portugal and enjoyed a 10-day trip around the northern and central regions of the country. We loved having our bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and transportation with us at all times!
Overall, I think staycations are a positive thing — for those who have the financial means right now. Many people have recently lost their jobs and are more concerned with putting food on the table than taking a tour or visiting another city while incurring those extra costs.
Q: You’re known in particular for slow travel. Do you think this will become even more popular after the pandemic?
A: While we have gone on trips where we move around somewhat fast, we definitely prefer to travel slow! It's a great way to get under the skin of a destination rather than just passing through and seeing the highlights.
If you're blazing through a city or country, it's hard to take someone up on their offer to come over for dinner, or to figure out how to get to a remote island or have any sort of spontaneity at all. Travelling slowly and not having everything planned and booked in advance makes for more exciting travels.
After the pandemic, I think people will fall into one of two categories: either they'll want to go to one destination and barely move around for fear of getting sick, or, they'll be so anxious and ready for travel that they'll want to move around quickly and see everything!
I know for us, we have a lot of trips we want to do when things get back to normal…
Q: Being restricted in your travel movements is never fun, but you used the time to start a new business “Into Fly Fishing”. What is it all about? Do you think outdoor activities will become more popular in 2021?
A: While on lockdown in Lisbon, rather than focus on the plummeting traffic of our travel websites, we decided to create a new online business based around one of Nick's lifelong passions — fly-fishing.
On the Into Fly Fishing site, we have destination guides to the best fly-fishing spots around North America and Europe, instructional articles and videos on how to tie your own flies, and expert reviews of various gear and equipment.
Not only is this a topic that Nick is knowledgeable and interested in, but outdoor activities are the way to go for 2021 (and now in 2020 as well). Especially a more solo sport like fly-fishing!
Q: You also have another travel website all about Ireland, can you tell us a bit about that?
A: We decided to purchase the “Your Irish Adventure” website just before the pandemic hit! And, as you know, hardly anyone is searching travel right now, so it wasn't exactly the best timing.
We bought the website, booked and paid for our flights to Ireland, planned our first couple of weeks’ stay, and a rental car for a month and had planned to travel around the Emerald Isle for six weeks.
That trip was supposed to be somewhat of a research and content creation trip as we discovered the best places to visit in Ireland, ate the incredible cuisine, explored the historical sites, and of course, interacted with the hospitable people.
Sadly, we had to cancel the entire trip to Ireland!
Luckily, we have a team of writers who either live in Ireland or have travelled extensively through the country who contribute to our website until we're able to visit for ourselves and share our findings.
Q: With your family still in Canada, what are your thoughts on Canadians travelling for the remainder of 2020 and then in 2021?
A: All of the Canadians that we know are planning on staying put for 2020. Any trips that were planned, they cancelled, postponed or returned home early when the Government of Canada called home its citizens.
I think travel in 2021 will depend on whether or not insurance companies will cover travel and Covid-19, and the travel advice and advisories from the Government, which currently states: "Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice".
Q: What are your plans for 2021? Will you stay put in Europe or are you longing to return home to Grenada?
A: Since March when lockdown hit here in Portugal, we've just been taking it one day at a time. Which, to be honest, is frustrating! I like to know what we're doing, or at least have a rough idea. But, I'm going with the flow as much as possible and we're just holding off on any sort of international travel at the moment.
We'll be in Portugal until at least the end of October, and we'll re-evaluate the lockdown/quarantine situation in Grenada at that time. Hopefully, we'll return to our island paradise before the year is up.
Helen worked as a Senior Travel Editor at Rough Guides and Insight Guides, based in the London office. Among her favourite projects to work on are inspirational guides like