What Covid-19 Has Taught Me About Travel

This pandemic has been all sorts of things, we all know that. It has affected everyone in some way or another. For me, much of it has been a time of reflection and thought. And as it has progressed over time I have come to a few realizations. In regards to travel, there are two things that have become clear to me. They are quite simple really, yet their importance resounds incredibly loud to my inner voice and my identity as a traveler.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com
    I never thought travel could actually become more important to me than it already is. For as long as I could remember I have been intrigued by world destinations. At age 21 I backpacked Europe for a summer. I then started dreaming of travelling for a year; I didn’t plan for it but I kept dreaming. My (first) chosen career was in the travel industry so that I could start going on trips. I did, taking advantage of visiting all sorts of locales. As time progressed, I found myself unemployed and moved across the country. I went back to school in my 30s and didn’t travel for 7 years as I studied and built my second career. I did not travel at this time but it was MY choice. In all truthfulness, it would have been foolish for me to travel at that time, for a variety of reasons, but I still dreamt of it. Soon, I learned about Couchsurfing and met people from all over the world, right here in Vancouver. The then thriving Couchsurfing social scene stoked the fires of my travel flame. Along with being self-employed and able to set my own vacation times, I began to realize that I could travel more often than ever before. So I did. And I didn’t stop. Until Covid-19 reared its ugly head, that is. Stupid virus. Choosing not to travel is one thing. Not being able to is another. I do know that travel is a privilege and I am one of those lucky ones. I count myself so very fortunate and blessed to have been see all the places I have to date. When the pandemic is over and we can take to the world once more I know I will see it as an even bigger blessing and honour. That is what this screeching halt has shown me. I’m so lucky to have this privilege. It’s more valuable and important to me now.
    This pandemic and subsequent grounding has also solidified that I want to travel to destinations that appeal to me, not just to go somewhere for the sake of being away. Yes, there often is a part of me that wants to just “get away” or have a change of scenery yet, I have realized it truly is more about discovering new-to-me places, to explore the world spots that have caught my attention. During my past travels I had generally selected destinations that appealed to me, however, I have on occasion gone to a place simply because the airfare was cheap or on a whim. In a few cases it was a lovely surprise, such as my time in Bratislava and in Ljubljana. Other times, it was disappointing (I’m looking at you Tenerife)! Still, being grounded and even at times not allowed to travel within my province made me realize that I travel not simply to escape but to explore. To see how different and wonderful this blue marble of ours is. The history (good or bad), stunning nature, compelling architecture, beautiful cultures, incredible food, and the kindness of people are what really captivate me. That is what compels me and I intend to plan my future travels around that; to have reason and purpose in my wanderings.

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