Will We Travel Differently After Coronavirus?

I have developed a routine during lockdown. My state allowed, once per day walk has become my thinking time. I pop on some headphones, and walk with purpose. Mostly I listen to beautiful music, (Ludovico Einaudi Seven Days Walking has been my go to lately, no irony intended). Sometimes I listen to a podcast. Always, without exception, I observe and appreciate the surroundings, (especially the tree blossom) around me. I find that this mindful walking, surrounded by nature, allows my head to clear, and clarity to come to the forefront. My latest thoughts the last few days have been towards travel. I am pondering the question of whether we will travel differently after this crazy time ends. Will we travel with purpose and appreciation more? I am hoping so!

Will we travel differently after coronavirus?
I have a blossom obsession

There is a culture at the moment, of rushing through the world. There is almost a competitive edge to it. How many countries can you cross off. How many places can you travel to in a two week period. How many sights can you tick off within those destinations. It feel’s like it has become so far removed from what travel should perhaps be about. I have even seen arguments arise on Twitter over how long you have to be set foot in a country to consider it visited, (they were talking hours, not days). It has gotten a little bonkers.

But, for many, there may be an enforced change to how we travel. We are being told that the price of travel could increase considerably after this world pandemic passes.

The travel industry has been one of the hardest hit industries, so it will need to do some rebuilding. For those of us that love to travel, this initially sounded like a toll of doom. Despite being a travel writer, (and contrary to what some people assume), I pay for 99.9% of our own travel. So, like the majority of us, these higher costs are going to affect us too. Trust me, Nik and I have made the most of the cheap airline flights many times to utilise his 6 weekly shift breaks and my self employed person flexibility! We have also become used to things like AirBnB and sporadic special offers on sites like Booking.com. This has meant that affordable accommodation could be found. Now, we are being told all this could change and for us as travel lovers, if I am honest, it felt a bit crappy!

Air BnB in Wales we stayed in last year

Will this make us all travel differently?

However, my mind has now changed on how I view this possible development. I am now thinking that this could offer the opportunity to change how we travel. To travel differently and with more purpose. To rewind a little and go back to travel being an absorption in the culture and full appreciation that we are able to visit these places. Not taking the freedom and ability to travel for granted. It could kick start the movement to travel more mindfully. Do you think so too??

Speaking from my own circumstances, our travel planning was fairly off the cuff. Never planned that far in advance, and often on a whim. Nik does a job that means every 6 weeks, he gets 16 days off. Also, I am self employed, so I am lucky to have the freedom to also take time off when I want to. Nik’s shift breaks are when we schedule any trips for. So, like most travel obsessives, we have a huge ongoing list of places we fancy visiting. (I know you have a list too travel lovers….)

In the past, our next trip destination was usually decided by sitting on airline websites and seeing what flights came up the least expensive on our desired dates. However, this random method had started changing. We had already started to move towards change in how we travel over the last year or so. These changes are inline with our desire to live a more responsible and sustainable life. But, we do still plan trips by almost sticking a pin in a map!

Travel with purpose

My mind is already moving away from that. I am already thinking that my travel will be waaaay more mindful when we are able to move around the world freely again. Travel for all of us will likely be more expensive. The likelihood is that our trips will be less frequent for a while. This will lead to us considering where our next trip will be far more carefully. Really questioning if it is somewhere we have longed to go to. Giving thought to whether that destination is where we want to spend our hard earned cash. Do you see what I mean?

Without a doubt, Nik and I plan on more Uk travel initially. Even though I am itching to be getting overseas again! I just feel it is very important to support the tourism industry within our own countries for a while too. They have all taken such a battering! Our Cotswolds trip that got cancelled in April will be very, very welcomed (hopefully in Autumn…or am I being too optimistic there)?? I also have a dream of staying in a castle in Scotland this year. Ok, ok I confess, since my stay in Hever Castle I have become a little obsessed with that royal-esque life…….

Joking aside, not only where we travel to, but where we stay will be more considered. We are not really into huge chain type hotels anyway, but that will be even more the case. The small independent hotels. Family owned or boutique style accomodation. Small chain or privately owned accommodation. Sustainable hotels (like Longueville Manor in Jersey), that have low eco impact and support their local communities and areas. These will be the things I look for even more thoroughly in my places to stay. I am actually looking forward to the challenge of researching and finding these kinds of places! Already I am excited about the thoughts and ideas to travel differently!

Appreciation for travel

I know without doubt, that lots of us are missing travel so badly! Conversations I have had with others has told me we are all in the same boat. So, I’m wondering if we will all emerge from this madness with more appreciation for travel? Not just saying the words because it is how we feel now, but truly appreciating our privilege to travel.

During my walks, I have been casting my mind back to the trip that really sparked my obsession with travel. I was 18, had packed all my belongings I needed into a brown and blue back pack, and set off across the world. I wasn’t really sure how long I would be gone, I just knew with certainty that I was the luckiest girl alive. I was off on the trip of a lifetime, going wherever the wind blew me.

We all know I am old, so it is no surprise that this was in the time before mobile phones, FaceTime, Skype or any other of the technological ways we can keep in touch now. You literally went off grid. My parents sometimes did not hear from me for a couple of weeks, sometimes months at a time. I used to write them letters every week, (and keep a journal), but if we were in the middle of the Australian outback for a while, there was no post office. The letters would be sent when we headed to the next town.

The lack of technology was a blessing and a curse. It was tough not being able to pick up the phone to my family when I was feeling homesick. It was also hard not to have those instant photos to email home to assure your family all was well. But, it also meant there was no facebook, Instagram or any other social media. No one knew where you were travelling or what you were doing unless you, (or your family) told them. There was no pressure to get curated and posed photos “for the gram”. There was no rushing to “the ten most Instagrammable places in …”. There was no competitiveness to get “that shot” or to tick off “that Country”.

It was just travel. It was just absorbing yourself in the culture and the country. It was just appreciating and acknowledging the privilege we had to experience it all. The absolute honour it was to travel. We drank it in with unquenchable thirst. I can remember sitting on a beach in Bali. (Bali was a life changing experience for me). I was with a little old lady with no teeth left in her mouth. She was twisting beads into the bottom of my dreadlocked hair, sharing her paper wrapped fresh fruit with me. We could not talk each others language, but her toothless grin and my grateful one, meant that we conversed of sorts. (plus, she kept trying to kiss Nik’s cheek which I found hilarious)…

Sitting on that beach, gazing out a the sea, was one of the happiest times of my life. Even now, I remember how truly, truly, heartfelt happy I was.

That is the travel I want to get back to. Simple travel. Appreciated travel. Life affirming travel. Fleeting meeting of souls. Slow travel. Does that even exist anymore? Maybe after Coronavirus? Maybe if we remember the lessons we are being shown now? Perhaps it could exist again?

Could we step back to travel differently?

I remember having a conversation with the amazing Ellie from The Wandering Quinn. She was about to embark on a huge world trip, (which she is still on), and we were discussing travel as it was, and is now. I will always remember her saying to me that she was envious that I did my “big” travelling when I did. None of the social media showcasing and pressure. Just travel for the love of travel. I think she was right you know. It is there for the taking if that is how we choose to travel. Do you think we could travel differently and take a little step back??? Maybe……

I would love to hear what you think. Do you feel any differently about the way you travel? Have you found an even greater appreciation of it? Has it made you reassess how and where you want to travel to? Do you feel the restrictions on travel during the pandemic have taught you anything? I would absolutely love to hear how your feeling. Let me know xx

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13 Comments

  1. April 14, 2020 / 6:45 pm

    Great post Kerry. Wow, it is such madness at the moment I am quite fearful for the travel industry as I don’t think it will just bounce back from this. The longer the pandemic goes on more airlines will run out of money and already many low cost e.g Germanwings may fold/ or looking to closedown and sadly I think more will follow. I think you’re absolutely right prices will go up and the days of a 9.99 flight to Spain will be gone. For a while anyway. hopefully the airlines will hang in there. The week before lockdown here in Spain anyway, we were in the UK as Mark had an interview to go back to BA. We’re pretty sure he got the job, but obviously all recruitment has been put on hold now and even though they’re not making any staff redundant at the moment, who knows what the future will hold. I think big airlines will be ok but low cost not to sure. I must admit until there’s a vaccination I’m gonna be very reluctant to get back on an aircraft! But once all this has passed, which it will, I will look forward to travelling again. We want to explore more locally to us in Spain which we’re lucky we can jump in the car to do that, after lockdown obvs lol… I’ve said to Mark about I wonder if mother nature is trying to teach us all a lesson to just stop and slow and stop ruining this beautiful planet! I think she is! When we do get the chance to travel internationally again I will make sure I take it all in and capture the moment without the phone and social media. Marks always telling me get off the phone (when we’ve been places) and just take it in and he’s right. So many photos are just for social media these days and not about the memory. Taking the picture should be so you can look back on it in years to come and remember that memory and be transported back to that moment….. Sorry I’ve rambled on a bit lol! Castle in Scotland that’d be fab! Marks also applied for a job in Scotland, Lossiemouth and it looks beautiful up there! Even if he get’s the jobs sadly I don’t think we’ll be able to leave Spain anytime soon lol… xxx

    • April 14, 2020 / 9:17 pm

      It is an incredibly sad situation Heather isn’t it. Like you say, so scary and far more devastating for the industry than we perhaps realise. However, I do think we are great at responding when the chips are down, so we will come through the other side. I just think it will take time and patience. I have become so aware over the last couple of years of how many people are observing life through the lens of a phone. You see it when you are away on trips. You can be in a stunning location, yet see people getting that perfect insta shot, the dashing off to the next insta worthy place for the next photo. It really has become a madness. Hopefully we will all learn a lesson and take a few steps back. The dream! I hope whatever job Mark secures is perfect for you both. Scotland is so stunning…..slightly different temperature to Spain haha! You never have to apologise for rambling here lovely, you ramble away xx I appreciate you reading and telling me your thoughts. Stay well xxx

  2. April 14, 2020 / 8:39 pm

    I also think travel will be more expensive (although I don’t think it’s been cheap lately! can be because of the places I go to, there are no direct flights etc). I’ve never been a traveller as you probably know, I’ve mainly just wanted to go to the places I love or have some kind of connection to. I’m even less of a traveller now when I live in Ireland because I want to stay here! However there are two important trips I want to do, first to Sweden to see my parents, then to Italy to see our friends there.
    Other than that my plan is to see more of Ireland, and even just around in West Cork, to support local businesses.
    Travelling in UK sounds lovely to me, there are so many beautiful places there, and WOW about staying in a Scottish castle!

    • April 14, 2020 / 9:23 pm

      I think we will all feel the pinch for a while. There will be an eventual light at the end of the tunnel though. I have total faith. Ohhh Ireland is beautiful! I do not blame you for wanting to see more of it. Nik and I had planned a road trip there this year, to visit our friends and do some sightseeing. That will happen next year I am sure. I am excited to see more of the UK. We made a pledge to explore more of our home country a couple of years back, and it has been amazing. I hope you get to see your parents this year, and of course Italy. they too need our tourism xx Thank you for reading xx

  3. April 15, 2020 / 4:52 pm

    I literally started writing in my ‘blog diary’ a few days ago a post I’m going to publish which is similar. I think Travel will definitely slow down A LOT because even when this is over, there’ll be a lingering strain. Think Zika virus – till date, pregnant women are warned not to go to countries which had any zika even though, there haven’t been any reports for the last 2 years! I also think people will be more inclined to visit already visited places instead of countries they’ve never been to. Rather go to the known than unknown! And yes to more UK travel – this will most likely be the norm for a few months.

    I really wonder when I’d feel alright to travel overseas again as we had booked Italy for our anniversary in June. I feel sorry that their tourism will be massively affected as well. Oh well, let’s see what happens as we take each day as it comes. Stay safe x

    • April 15, 2020 / 9:51 pm

      Bugo I think that this is all we can do. Day by day, week by week. I worry that as soon as life starts to get back to some kind of normality, we have short memories and all start dashing around the world again! I would really love to see everyone just slow down! It feels a little surreal still don’t you think? Like a weird alternative universe haha. Who could have ever guessed we would be living this way! I am so excited to explore the UK more though. get me to that Scottish castle……lol

  4. April 17, 2020 / 1:45 pm

    Reading this brought back my old travel memories – and it’s interesting how Ellie says that we just enjoyed travel for what it was without the pressure of having to document it. Well, she’s right in terms of social media, but I recall writing a diary of my travels while I was away and it’s sitting somewhere in the loft ready to be dug out and read one day. I, like you, love travelling and discovering new places, new people and having new adventures. We had a few trips planned over the Easter break and the summer which we’ll now have to cancel, but I think given the amount of people that are itching to get out there, the travel industry is resilient enough to bounce back from this. But yes, I think people will definitely think about how they travel in the future. x

    • April 17, 2020 / 2:22 pm

      It was such an interesting conversation Lauretta. We had both experienced travel in a digital and non digital time. I kept travel diaries too, but by choice and for nostalgia, not to feel validated or for a job. There was no pressure.I think cost will be the determining factor don’t yu. If the prices are as high as they are predicting that they could be, it could take a little longer to get the momentum back. I agree with you though, many of us are born to travel and will not stay put for too long haha! xx

  5. April 17, 2020 / 2:45 pm

    Yes, the price question is interesting as companies need to keep prices enticing enough to want to make people book. It’s certainly not going to affect discerning clients looking for that extra luxury, particularly if the pandemic has made no difference to their financial future – what a place to be in eh?! Only time will tell I guess…..

  6. April 20, 2020 / 2:20 pm

    I’ve been wanting to go to Cornwall and the Scilly Iles for a couple of years now. Who’d have thought this time last year we would all be prisoners now? You just wouldn’t have believed it would you xx

    • April 20, 2020 / 2:32 pm

      Ohhh both amazing choices Laurie. I have never been to Scilly Iles but would love to go. It really does feel a little surreal doesn’t it. I keep forgetting that I cant just pop to the shops and things!

  7. Midlife and Beyond
    May 2, 2020 / 4:43 pm

    I started to think of our holidays and travels reading this – which we love. We travelled to Thailand for the first time in January (just as all of this was starting). We never thought that this may be the end of our travels for a good while. We still talk a lot about travelling as we have two big birthdays this year, and going on a new adventure was going to be the aim. Looks like we may have to wait a while for this to happen, plus, the price will shoot through the roof. We mostly travel on a budget – so will take it hard if the prices skyrocket. x

    • May 2, 2020 / 8:49 pm

      Ohhh I feel you totally! My husband has a big birthday next month and we were supposed to be on a dream trip. It is disappointing isn’t it! I think cost will very much feature in our future travels. We travel on a budget too. I do think it will make us more selective though. I think we will see changes in how most people travel. It is surreal isn’t it! Thank you so much for reading xxx

I love reading your comments x

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