It’s taken me quite a few months to get this post out. In fact, I think it’s been brewing in me since Spring. Like most other avid travellers, my life has been turned upside down because of Covid-19 and the fact that we can’t (and shouldn’t) travel like before.
I’ve travelled A LOT since my early 20’s. That’s a whole decade of exploring. Now, everything has changed, and thanks to a pandemic, we’ll have to get used to a whole different world. It’ pains me to even write this (I know, I’m being sentimental), but after all, this is a travel blog which should cover the trend and tendencies of the future as well. Ready for the future of traveling? Let’s go.
A change in our patterns
Picture the Eiffel Tower with masses of tourists in front. The Colosseum in Rome with hundreds of people in line to get in. A heavily packed Alexanderplatz in the heart of Berlin. Over-booked hotels, tourist busses filled to the brim, flight tickets cheaper than one-way bus ticket’s and massive cruise liners queuing up in ports around the world. If it sounds crazy, it’s because it was. Before Covid-19, the world was going mad. Traveling had become everyone’s property and tourism a booming economy. Traveling has been one of my favourite activities since I came out of high school, and like many other people I know, I was looking forward to a good long life of traveling and exploring the world. In other words; the world was my oyster and I didn’t want it any other way.
Then in December 2019, Covid-19 landed. What slowly began in China, spread like a wild fire across all continents. Even to the most remote parts of the world. In the beginning, I was hopeful and confident that “this is just a phase. It’ll pass soon”, but as we’re moving into the final months of the year, something in me has changed. Although still positive about the future (we’re humans, we’ll adapt), my “traveling mind” has been forced to transform into something else. I’ve come to see my reality in a different light – and with that also change the perception of myself. Not an easy thing to do.
Travel will recover. Nobody knows when for sure, but my best answer would be; “in stages”. Sometimes, we’ll be able to travel whereas other times, we’d need to respect the circumstances and restrictions and stay home. While domestic travel will recover sooner, international travel will probably not pick up before 1-2 years from now. That’s my prediction, which is also backed up by other professionals in the industry.
There’ll be a new sense of purpose when it comes to travel. If we choose to go far away, it has to be with good reason – or a purpose. Personally, I’d LOVE to travel to California or South Africa soon (perhaps even more because I can’t?!), but I have no business there, apart from soaking up the sun and feeling the sense of freedom and adventure. In my book, that’s big. Still, it’s not important enough for me to take the risk.
I believe staying home and “going local” is the smartest thing to do for a good long while to come. This blog will be a sweet memory of what was, but also a helping hand for travellers to arrive comfortably in “the new normal”.
I believe countries all over the world will be more careful in opening up the gates, so to speak. Many people who dreamt of getting married at a beach in Bali or under the Tuscan sun in Italy, will have to think in alternatives – or at least accept new terms.
Giving nature a chance to heal
So how will we travel? If not by car, probably by train. Air travel will always be there, but more people have become aware of the risk going to an airport and getting into a plane with hundreds of people onboard. Unfortunately, due to the symptoms of Covid-19, a new social stigma has occurred. When someone sneezes or coughs, we’ll automatically become alert and even run away, leaving the poor person (who might only have a slight cold if anything), feeling unaccepted or, well, stigmatized.
Because of the social stigmatization here, more people will stay home if they feel just a little bit sick. At least, that’s my belief.
The one who benefits most from all this is Mother Nature. I recently read a report from Forbes stating that the decrease in human activity and travel has allowed nature to heal. Have you heard that the water in Venice’s canals are already clearer and less polluted? Or that the air quality in China has improved? If we keep up “the good work” of minimizing our carbon footprint and respecting nature the same way we respect the health of ourselves and loved ones, the future might be bright after all. Mother Earth has been tried and tested in the last century, so this is incredible news and something all of us can only be happy about.
I’m curious; how has the pandemic changed your sense of wanderlust and sense of self? Are you still dreaming of traveling far and wide – or would you rather ‘go local’?