So, I think it’s safe to say we are all processing what’s happening in our world right now in a lot of different ways. Everyone is asking questions not only about the present but also about the future. And while I’m trying to focus on the present, because truly we don’t know what the future will hold, questions about the future continue to linger in my mind. Their range is broad, and as new ones cross my mind every day, they also seem infinite. But one that I think every traveler, current or aspiring, can relate to, is what will the world look like for us in 3 months? 6 months? 1 year?
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking, mainly worrying to be honest, about this. Will I be able to make it to my best friends’ wedding in England in August? Will they even be able to have it since they will be traveling from Australia? When will be the next time I get to see any of my friends who are scattered across the globe? What will U.S. laws surrounding entry into the country look like after this? What will the rest of the world’s look like, will we see a drastic drop in our ability to discover the amazing places outside our own borders?
Well, I have an optimistic outlook for you on all of this.
It’s true, the world as we know it right now will change. The way we experience and view travel will change. How we get around the world has already changed, and those changes may ultimately become the new normal. But, I have to believe that on the other side of this, while things may look a little different, operate a little differently, people may even interact a little differently, we will see a world emerge from this that is still welcoming and exciting and just waiting to be discovered by you.
The streets of Venice will once again be filled with shop owners and tourists in awe, La Sagrada Familia and The Louvre will once again have mile-long lines to enter, sports arenas will be filled with exuberant fans, the pubs of Dublin will flock to celebrate their beloved St. Patty’s Day and you, yes you, will be right back in the heart of it all.
Or, maybe for some of you, it wouldn’t be ‘back’ in the heart of it all, maybe it would be just the beginning. I was talking to a friend the other day who has always wanted to travel and often considers joining me on my adventures, but hasn’t yet had the chance. Talking about this very topic, she joked, “I’m not sure I want to visit the rest of the world anymore.” She laughed and we continued talking, but a little voice in the back of mind kept saying, what if this really does scare people away from wanting to travel the world?
But you can’t let that happen. You can’t let fear win. There’s too much beauty in this world just waiting to be discovered.
See, I told you, I have that optimistic outlook for you! Now, being honest with you guys, the realist in me has been raring her head a lot through all of this. Dare I say even that little pessimistic voice, the one I typically don’t even register, has even made a peep here and there. I know that it’s not all going to be easy and perfect and just that simple when this is all over. We are all going to have a lot of adjusting and adapting to do just to get back into our routines as they once were, let alone starting to think about jumping on a plane to take on these unknown adventures. (Heck, we’re all going to have to get used to just having a morning commute again!)
There’s no doubt we will all come out of this time with a slightly different view of our world, and it’s okay to come out of this feeling a little more cautious than we once were.
But, instead of letting what we’re going through now determine our future through a lens of fear and uncertainty, let’s take this experience and let it motivate us to think, ‘once this is over, I’m never going to skip an opportunity to see the world again.’
It’s easy to be deterred by the reminders of borders closing and airlines all but shutting down, but let’s take this time to be thankful for what of the world we have seen, no matter where that’s been. Right now, we’re all living a temporary new normal of social distancing and quarantining, but it’s important to remember, it’s not forever. I think one of the greatest things we can do for ourselves during this time is to look to the future, as uncertain as it may be, and promise ourselves that once we’re on the other side, we won’t give into the fear. We’ll embrace it, jump on that plane and continue (or start!) to see this beautiful one-of-kind world we are so fortunate to get to call home.
I encourage you all to grab your journal, a notebook or even a post-it note, and write down something you’re looking forward to doing once your world starts returning to normal. Then, promise yourself you’ll do it. It doesn’t even have to be travel related, just make it something you’re excited about!
Until next time searchers.