A New World To Discover

A New World to Discover A New World to Discover
“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.”

– Arundhati Roy

When I took my first international trip in two years, it changed my perspective on the world. I always learn new things on any trip. But this was my first trip since the arrival of Covid, so the effect was much stronger.

I have a theory that the extreme circumstances of the last two years have changed our world profoundly, but we aren’t aware of it yet because we haven’t been out in the world. I am looking forward to getting out and seeing it.

In response to the pandemic, people have learned new ways to do things, new ways to live. Many have changed jobs, locations. I know that many others have, as I have, learned to better appreciate things we may have taken for granted before.

A New World to DiscoverWe’ve all had to change our lives in ways that have sometimes been uncomfortable and difficult. But the other side of that coin is that positive change is only possible when you get out of your comfort zone.

Businesses have had to find new ways to operate. Everyone has been forced to be resourceful and inventive. This has happened on a broad scale, and we will be seeing the results virtually everywhere.

The world we experience when we get out there again will be the sum total of all the changes in the lives of billions of individuals over the last two years. There’s a new world out there waiting for us to discover it.

I am feeling very positive about those changes now because we’ve already endured the conditions of the pandemic. What we see now will increasingly be the innovations and adaptations that have emerged in response to it. I’m looking forward to seeing and experiencing these innovations.

Covid has pushed change in many ways, some obvious, such as the growth of remote working, Zoom calls and home delivery retail. Public health practices have been advanced not only to protect us against Covid, but also against other viruses in the future, and to stop their spread before they become pandemics. The progress in these areas is impressive.

Because mobility is essential to the functioning of our civilization, a lot of creative energy has been put into making it safe to travel. When we travel we will be the beneficiaries of all that research and innovation.

Gloria Guevara, former head of the World Travel & Tourism Council, said, “The digital agenda has been accelerated. There are some solutions that you will see implemented in airports in terms of biometrics that were planned to be implemented in three, four or five years that you will see this year. We will see solutions in airports to check your temperature. Those are not going to go away after COVID. They will be used to prevent another situation similar to this.”

While change has happened more swiftly and broadly than any other two-year period, it’s reassuring to also see how much has stayed the same.

One thing that has not changed is that the great tourism destinations are still there, as beautiful and amazing as ever. I am hearing that they are less crowded than they’ve been in years. That is not likely to continue long, but it’s a benefit to enjoy for now.

When I traveled it was reassuring to see how conscientiously the safety measures were followed at the airports and hotels I visited. It was strikingly different to me from the way I experienced those places in the past. We’re going to be living with Covid for a while, but what I saw was evidence that the travel world has adapted and learned how to function more safely.

But since I only traveled once, I wasn’t sure if my experience was representative of the travel world in general. I took that question to a friend whose business has required him to travel throughout the Covid period. He had already traveled ten times in Europe and the Caribbean since Covid came on the scene.

I asked him if he had felt safe and enjoyed his trips. Feeling safe, he said, is a personal thing, depending on one’s own ideas of what constitutes safety and comfort. He hesitated to give advice to others. However, he said, “I have never felt unsafe in any of my travels in the Covid world.” He said that he felt a sense of security from the diligence with which the cleaning practices, mask practices and so forth are being followed.

“Whatever the specific step is,” he said, “I have never been in a place and felt, ‘Oh my goodness, these people are not on top of this,’ from the airplane to the hotel to the restaurants, etc.”

I asked him what he would say to people who are considering whether or not to travel. He said, “We are coexisting with Covid, and everyone has to make a personal decision, as we do with any travel: ‘Do I feel comfortable going?’ What I will say is, for those who do make that leap of faith and do feel safe, it is a wonderful experience.”

One striking highlight, he said, is the degree to which people along the way made travelers feel welcome.

“The desire of the people in the hospitality sector to welcome folks, to treat them well, to give them a fantastic experience has not abated,” he said. “If anything, it’s more magnified than ever.”

The stakes are high for those people at their destinations, he said, so they really do go the extra mile to make sure their guests are safe. For people looking for advice, he suggested speaking to people who have been traveling.

“Sometimes you read these entry requirements and your eyes roll into the back of your head,” he said “You feel that if you fill out one line of a form wrong, you’re going to be stuck in quarantine or in customs or something for the rest of your life. But for people who travel, it’s fairly straightforward. It’s like it was before, but there are PCR tests, proof of vaccination and some mask wearing. The travel world has adjusted. They are coexisting with Covid and you can travel. There are some things that are affected, but overall it’s much more similar to what you’ve experienced in the past than you would think.”

The fact that the world has changed adds an extra layer of adventure and exploration to travel, an extra layer of novelty for us to experience. How has the world coped with Covid? How have people compensated and adapted? What innovations have come out of the trials of the last two years?

I do think that we as a world culture have matured from this. When you go through hard times, you gain insight and wisdom. I think we’ve learned some hard lessons about the fragility of some of the things we love or depend on. These lessons will benefit us in the future.

For myself, I feel that I’ve learned a lot about what is really important in life. And I can’t think of a better lesson to learn. Now that I have begun to venture out again, I am fascinated to think of what I will discover as the result of billions of people changing their minds.

Your humble reporter,

Colin Treadwell

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