By Guest Contributor Milly Tamati @dancebarefootagainFor so many of us, travel was our life. We sacrificed the luxuries of day to day living so that we could afford a plane ticket. We worked two jobs then quit them both so that our feet could walk a little further into the unknown. We gave up relationships and put friendships on hold for the chance to meet new people. We left behind the comfort of our Friday night pizza and a stable Netflix connection for the chance to see the earth with new eyes and discover who we were along the way. Seemingly overnight, the carpet was ripped out from under us and the constant movement that we had all come to know and love, stopped.
My friends, travel is not dead. It's just sleeping.
A caterpillar is a fascinating being in and of itself. It increases its body size by 1000 times or more throughout its lifetime. The tiny caterpillar you see in the larval stage will eventually grow, transform and completely reinvent itself to become a spectacular butterfly. One is not better than the other, they're simply just different.
My friends, travel is not dead. It's just in metamorphosis.
It would be naive to think that once Covid-19 restrictions finally relax everywhere that the world will fall back to it's usual pace. Accelerated, demanding, unconscious. The ingenuity that have arisen from lockdown has been inspiring. Business have pivoted to the online space, reducing the need for long commutes and expensive offices. Parents are spending more time with their children than ever before. Relationships may have deepened or they may have shown the cracks that were always there, advancing an inevitable ending. Gratitude is at an all-time high. As we see our friends for the first time in months, we are present. Savouring that first hug, shared beer and laugh. The world is the exact same and yet completely different.
Travel is no exception. There's no denying the impact that travel has on the environment; it's enormous. What if we could recreate what the travel industry looks like? To move through the world more aware of our impact on the people and places around us. This is our chance, and perhaps the only one we will ever get. To begin with let's explore our backyards. The rivers, lakes, mountains and deserts that we always say we will check out 'one day'. Let's eat local. Try that bakery a few streets over or treat your family to a dinner at your local Italian restaurant. Actually give a shit about where you spend your money. The winery who hand makes their own wines every single year will appreciate the few dollars you gave to them instead of feeding into the huge corporations. Choose businesses who are making the world a better place, even slightly. Anyone can make a quick profit but not everyone has purpose.
Travel will return but it will not be the same, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. If it means we explore our world in a way that sustains it for our children's children, it's a bloody brilliant thing.
For now, fall in love with your own lands. The rest of the world will be ready, she just needs time to rest.