Will you settle for food you could have at home, or dive into something more unique when you next go? Will you put the phone down for a night, so you can actually soak it all in? Should I book that “bucket list” trip now, because I now appreciate how fragile and short life can be?
For the first time since the pandemic started, I’m tapping out of physical travels, for a brief pause. In other words, I won’t be going anywhere for a bit. But that’s not entirely what this is about.
In an honest self assessment, I went from not being worried enough in early spring, to a real sense of unease and worry for mankind in late spring; and now find myself in a comfortably vigilant state today, nestled away quietly with my family.
The covid-19 pandemic has shifted the world in orders of magnitude rarely, if ever seen in a lifetime. Still, with safety in mind, I managed to travel safely throughout 2020, taking every precaution before, during and after travel, including obeying a couple 14 day quarantines.
I had essential travel in May from London to New York, I managed to get away to Greece in mid summer, and I reconnected with family and friends in Los Angeles and New York in October, when things *seemed* static, before it all went South, again.
Ugh. Just wear your masks, please.
Really, with few elements aside, those trips felt equally if not more secure than our already very secure home life, particularly in our first year with our newborn. We don’t really “go out”, we haven’t seen many friends, and if we have, it’s been outdoors, with distance.
When traveling, we’ve stayed in private accommodations or in small hotels, with robust covid-19 protocols. Otherwise, we just wouldn’t bother going right now, at all. For food, we typically ate delivery, takeout, or cooked ourselves. Iconic restaurants doing newly inspired take out service is one of the few side joys of the pandemic, even if born out of necessity.
A Moment Of Pause
But for the first time since the pandemic started, I’m really tapping out of travel, for a brief pause. In other words, I won’t be going anywhere for a bit, nor will my family.
It’s not out of fear, but more because we’re so damn close to a better world, and now that there is real potential to knock this awful nightmare on its head with vaccines, I’m waiting things out a bit, so as to keep my family safe and not add any hassle to health systems.
That does not mean I’ll stop booking future travel though, not even for a second. I booked travel today.
Nor is it passing judgement. That’s just where I am. If you’re not, no worries.
When there was no promise of a vaccine, finding ways to safely navigate an interconnected world despite covid-19 seemed fair enough, and actually important. Safety was always paramount, but the world isn’t about rolling over and giving up. If every precaution was taken, particularly between countries of similar infection rates, travel wouldn’t automatically be any worse than walking around any town.
I found that to be true, and experiencing it reassured me of possibilities in an ever changing world.
In mere weeks, many of the most at risk age groups could be vaccinated in many countries, or well on their way. We can finally start to talk about how to open the world up again by mid spring, and maybe even realize it by summer.
In the beginning of the pandemic, I made around 100 predictions for the future of travel. So far, many have come true. My next prediction isn’t really mine, but I’ll say it anyway. I think travel will be better than ever sometime in the second half of 2021. Is it June or September? Who knows, but each day is a better day.
Better Days Ahead
People are missing the experience in a big way, but without opportunity being waved in our collective faces every few seconds, there’s been time to reflect on what parts of travel are the most meaningful, purposeful and filled with joy. Even business travelers say they’ll never complain again!
I keep telling airlines there’s a whole new market of customers, People taking fewer trips, but trying to make each one more special than ever. There’s a newly invigorated market looking for something better, and as travel rebounds – which it will – it might not look the same, but it may be better in more ways than one.
Will you settle for food you could have at home, or dive into something more unique when you can next go? Will you put the phone down for a night, so you can actually soak it all in? Should I book that “bucket list” trip now, because I now appreciate how fragile and short life can be?
Whether you book flights, hotels or destination experiences for tomorrow, or this time next year, it all helps move the needle for everyone involved. Over 100,000,000 people are employed worldwide in tourism and travel. That’s a lot of people.
So what do I have booked, and what’s changed? We’ve personally moved all major trips back to a start date of April 2021, and moved as many as possible to the second half of 2021, for September, October and November. I have my eyes firmly planted on reconnecting with Japan in October. We’ll see.
There’s been more amazing deals, and availability to use points than ever, and that makes throwing some faith out there and making some bookings easier I booked my latest trip today, and will continue adding future excitement through travel with every great opportunity.
Does anyone else get such a buzzing feeling of happiness and wellbeing when you start dreaming of future trips you have planned?
In the meantime, I’ll be ordering take out from my favorite local restaurants as much as possible. Some a**hole in the comments will inevitably call me a virtue signaler, or a snowflake, but I take pride and passion in trying to source as many things in my life as humanly possible from people and businesses on a small and local level. It’s the same when I travel. I get my coffee from a place that roast beans close enough I can smell them doing so.
As each age and risk group gets vaccinated, risk factors around this awful, truly tragic plague will drop in meaningful ways. Stigmas of fear will begin to go with them, and we can start to look at a better world once again.
It’s not far, it won’t be long, and I really feel that now is the time to take one more last deep breath, have a good pause and plan for 2021 being a year of hope.