Times of uncertainty have brought about a new kind of travel – travel that values the best about our planet and the people within it.
As we slowly wake up to the “new normal” of the world around us, hotels are pulling back curtains, opening their doors and welcoming visitors again. There’s no denying that it all looks a bit different now, and a bit more complex.
We’ve found ourselves in a world that’s hyperconnected to information and data, yet disconnected from each other and ourselves. There’s never been a greater need to feel immersed in nature; to find time away from the four walls of your home and embrace a different scenery. New experiences await, without digital distraction and with the people you’ve missed most. It’s not just a pandemic, but also technology that has the power to isolate us. Now is the time to reclaim the humanity we’ve lost along the way.
Now more than ever, travel must have meaning, more depth than just simply its landscape. Embarking on journeys outside of our home enhances our world-view, challenges our perspectives, and provides endless sensations and enjoyment along the way. For us, travel has always been about real- world interaction. It’s about connecting: communities, individuals, and perhaps most importantly, with ourselves. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we must look forward, but also learn what we’ve lost along the way.
Looking back at a bygone era, when the road really was less travelled, there are lessons to be learnt. One book comes to mind of Roald Dahl’s travels as a youth in Boy when he starts a new life in Africa. This was a time when there was virtually no air travel; when a trip to Kenya meant two weeks by boat; when adventure was as much part of travelling as the destination. “These were distant and magic lands and nobody went to them just for a holiday,” writes Dahl. “Nowadays you can go anywhere in the world in a few hours and nothing is fabulous anymore.”
There’s no doubt technology has opened up the opportunity to see cultures, regions and environments that we would never otherwise have seen. With this speed and convenience comes a double-edged sword. You can now travel from London to Singapore without speaking to a single human being. And you can book airline tickets at the click of a button without talking to someone who really knows the country. We’ve made life easier and faster, but what for? Are we really living it?
It’s important we don’t forget the deeper connection found through slow travel. A slow paddle in a mokoro canoe through the Okavango Delta, with no phone reception, just wilderness and wildlife. The iconic view of Rome when you ditch public transport for a 10k running tour with an ex-Olympian. Filling the lungs with clean, fresh air, clearing the mind of stress, and driving forward anew with positivity. Every moment our foot lands on new soil should be treasured.
Revisiting the past has also taught us the true value of human interaction. Nothing beats a conversation with a stranger and finding shared experiences with people you wouldn’t meet in your everyday life. In fact, research shows that moving beyond your social comfort zone helps to build a strong sense of self. Embarking on a safari with an all-female guiding team, for example, can empower other women to achieve beyond society’s expectations. Or attending a festival with a local who has access to private cultural traditions can broaden your horizons with new knowledge. You won’t find these deeply human experiences from a quick Google search – these are experiences of the heart, of passion and emotion that you will treasure more than any souvenir.
From the anticipation of a new trip, to the moment you feel the sand between your toes, so many people from behind the scenes help you on a journey. They are the people to support you through uncertainty or last-minute changes. Free yourself of planning responsibilities and trust the experts who can get you the best results. With their skill comes resourcefulness, creativity, empathy, honesty and flexibility – that’s why the future of travel is one that’s human.
As entry requirements, airport procedures and resort closures become more intricate, it's likely you’re going to need more help and expertise than ever before to guide you. Travel corridors and social distancing may provide obstacles for some, but through human ingenuity, deep personal relationships and a culture driven by how we make people feel, the people at Carrier can find private, safer options that are full of stimulating experiences and meaningful connections.
The world needs change just as much as you. There are places that rely heavily on tourism to support ecosystems and cultures. Critically endangered species in Cambodia have been threatened by poachers and areas of Africa have seen an increase in illegal hunting due to a lack of visitors to the region. Choose places that are focused on putting your money into the community to protect local livelihoods, and get hands-on with exciting initiatives that immerse you in rich traditions. Travel brings with it an opportunity to give back to others, whilst providing a sense of purpose, happiness, confidence, and contentment. It could be just the wellbeing fix we all need.
One of the most important things we’ve learnt over the past few months, is that we should look after ourselves. Many of us spent time focusing on our physical and mental health. Joe Wicks had every person from great-grandmas to toddlers exercising in their living rooms and Captain Tom proved that 100 wasn’t an age at which to slow down. And at the peak of lockdown, people came to appreciate the incredible value of outside space and the freedom of travel; the feeling of being in wide open paddy fields in Sri Lanka, or in the cool mountains of St Moritz.
The opportunity to find thrills, adventure, calm, and serenity through a hike, an extreme sport or meditation can give us all a renewed and invigorated approach to our health. Not only does it have healing, powerful effects on the body and mind, it opens our eyes to some of the most inspiring views this planet has to offer.
Think of the person you’ve missed most through all of this. Think of the landscapes you would love to immerse yourself in. Think of the healing therapies that can nurture your soul. When you’re ready, we can help plan your purpose. Expert insight, compassion and honesty will help shape your views and decisions, and make your next trip more meaningful and more pleasurable.