As the world begins to come out of its sheltered sleep due to the onset of the novel coronavirus and global borders open themselves up again, the way we travel has changed in more ways than one—and perhaps, that's a good thing. Before covid, lists of the best places to travel to and hot spots for social media fuelled the 2.3 trillion dollar travel industry. Some adopted these lists as personal leisure, some—like myself—turned it into a career, and some sought to visit these places like a personal life to-do. In any case, we were all chasing horizons but were we really considering why?
In the last year and a half, we have all collectively hit pause. We had withdrawn into the home and if we're lucky, had the chance to sit with ourselves and reflect on our lives through the chaos. That time illuminated what was really important: health, security, family, friends, and intimate relationships—essentially all of the foundations of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Moving forward as we book our next trip to a far flung destination, we should consider what we've learnt and move with new precautions.
One of the few silver linings of the time we spent indoors was that mother nature received a much needed and deserved break. Flights stopped taking off and the skies were considerably clearer around the world. Though the departure board is flickering away as it once was, travelling via alternative modes is top of mind more than ever. Thinking sustainably and responsibly is at the fore. Taking the train across the country offers a slower journey but an adventure in itself before arriving at the destination. A ferry connecting two harbours delivers a refreshing breath of air en route. Or packing the car with a partner or friends for the open road promises a myriad of unexpected excitements along the way.
While travelling to exotic destinations will always have its allure, exploring close to home has never been more comforting. Visiting a neighbouring city that’s often overlooked offers us a better understanding of home and how our own cities are connected to one another. A quiet cabin in the woods allows us to re-establish a bond to nature, to ground ourselves in an environment we sometimes neglect. Even packing a bag for a staycation at a boutique hotel in your own city lends you a new perspective in which to view everyday life. Looking at our own backyards reminds us that we don’t have to travel far to travel well.
The main carry-on as we move into a new way of travelling is coming back to the idea that it is the quality of which we travel that matters most. Be it big or small, far or close, making a conscious effort to consider why and how we travel will only lead us to the best experiences.