They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. It couldn’t be more true right now as we realise the small things in life that we take for granted every day like catching up with friends, going to a nice restaurant (to eat in!) or how about international travel! I have been lucky to grow up in a family that loves to travel and prefers enriching experiences over material things.
Just this past January, my family and some of our closest friends were skiing every day and enjoying happy at hour at restaurants in the snow in Canada. But now, sitting inside every day, only seeing my close family members and distinctly lacking the human connection with my friends (other than group Facetime sessions) I am starting to realise just how much we took for granted.
Travel enriches us in ways that you just can’t get from staying inside. It’s learning about a new culture, looking at the way consumers interact with brands and products in other markets, experiencing the beauty of new landscapes and cityscapes. But it’s also being able to stand in the the middle of a crowd, letting the locals walk past you and taking in the feeling of being somewhere completely new and different.
When we start to recover, the first thing many people will want to do is go out and travel. But should we be supporting domestic travel first? Getting out to regional communities that have been affected by not only the bushfires, droughts and floods that we experienced earlier this year but then also the extreme lack of visitors due to the national lockdown?
New Zealand may be one of the first countries that opens its borders to Australian tourists. This could reignite the cross-tourism between NZ and AU and provide a rich opportunity for Australians to experience a new country and culture that is just a 4 hour plane ride away.
There are also the thousands of people with trips across the world that had to be canceled and rescheduled due to the global restrictions. The influx in travelers to these destinations will provide much-needed support for these local economies especially ones that rely on tourism for their main income such as Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
So keep your travel dreams alive, become an armchair traveller – taking time to sit and learn a new language, research a culture, watch a documentary. Keep your mind inspired and take time to appreciate the beauty of travel and get excited for when we can do it again.