Travel is almost back. We don’t have a fixed time when we know that borders will reopen, but with a light at the end of the tunnel of this pandemic, we know that a return for travel is getting closer by the day. Therefore, it’s time to start a countdown to travel.
Now, why a countdown? Well, a countdown shows that something is coming. If you’re counting down the days to Christmas, or to your birthday, or to the arrival of an anticipated movie or sports match, it means you’re excited. Everyone who has travelled before has counted down the days to their upcoming vacation. Unfortunately, the pandemic has reset the countdown and frozen the clock. But it’s time to start it back up.
We know travel is coming back. It’s time to get excited and start counting down the days and taking practical steps to prepare for the moment when restrictions are lifted, safety is restored, and we can hop on a plane and explore the rest of the world.
Countdown to Newness
Most days during this pandemic have felt the same. One of the best things about travel is that no two days feel the same. You can spend a week in one place, but in my experience, that doesn’t mean that you’re ever going to do the same thing twice. There are always new things to discover, new alleyways to wander down, new restaurants to eat at, new historic buildings and art galleries and charming hideaways to see with your own two eyes.
It’s time to once again count down to new experiences. Enough with simply passing through today. It’s time to plan for tomorrow. Travel is the ultimate bringer of the new: new countries, new cultures, new peoples, new ways of seeing the world and experiencing the ordinary. The beauty of travel is that it lets you see the world through the eyes of others and, thus, it transforms those ordinary things about life—walking down the street, sharing a meal, passing an evening—into the extraordinary.
Countdown to Wonder
I like discovering little corners of the world that don’t have the tourist crowds, but when I get back out there travelling when the pandemic is over, I won’t mind the crowds. I am going to enjoy those quiet discoveries still, but I’m going to relish the famous spots more than ever. I’ve never been to the Serengeti or the Masai Mara or seen the Taj Mahal or watched the traffic at Picadilly or seen the sun set over the pyramids or cruised the waters of Sydney Harbour. There is so much to see and being forced to spend time at home has made me all the more eager to get out there and see the great wonders of the world.
I don’t mean this as a trite bucket list comment. We all have things we want to see and accomplish before our time is up. That has never changed. But this past year where travel has been on pause has made me reflect on how easy it is for us to pass up wonder due to arbitrary restrictions we set on ourselves. When I was in Peru a few years back, I didn’t have extra time to go see Vinicunca, the Rainbow Mountain. I was recovering from a cold and it would’ve been nearly impossible to squeeze into my itinerary. The next time I head on a vacation, I’m not going to accept “I have no time” as an answer. I’m going to make time. I’m going to book a few more days, pay the extra dollars, take the extra time off work, and make it happen. There are too many wonders to see in the world and travel is the only way I’m going to see them. My countdown to see these travel wonders is on. I hope yours is too.
Countdown to Flavour
I fancy myself a talented home cook, but even I get sick of home cooked meals. And while takeout is a great way to support the neighbourhood restaurants I care about, it’s not the same as discovering a bistro on some quiet street of Paris that blows you away with its dishes. So much of what I love about travel is the food. Food has a way of capturing the history and traditions of a land and a people in a way that’s completely unique. It’s not that a building or a beautiful natural landmark doesn’t embody the essence of a land or a people, but you get to engage with food in a way that you cannot with other cultural artifacts. By eating a dish, you’re not only enjoying its flavours and its nutrients, but you’re interacting with every person that helped develop that flavour, every person and story that influenced the cook that made it, and every tradition and historical event that made that combination of flavours possible.
Travel has broadened my palette and brought so much culinary joy to my life. It has influenced what I cook at home and which restaurants I seek out. But there’s nothing like the experience of finding new restaurants on the other side of the world. I fondly recall the treasured culinary moments I’ve experienced when travelling. I remember when I had world-class spicy miso ramen at Kikanbo in Tokyo, feasted on melt-in-your-mouth beef tenderloin at Isolina Taberna in Lima, enjoyed one of the best steaks of my life at the Restaurant Victor Hugo in Paris, and acquired a taste for pho at a small restaurant outside Dalat that I’ve never lost. Travel made these memories possible and expanded my appreciation of the flavours of the world. I can’t wait for it to do so again.
Countdown to Nature
The more time I spend in my one-bedroom apartment, the more I long to hike the great outdoors and take advantage of the wide open spaces of the world. I hiked 16km of the Inca Trail back in 2018 and have been dreaming about similar experiences ever since. When I went to Iceland six months before the pandemic, I felt completely at peace on the windswept plains, volcanic, craggy coastlines, and rocky outcrops overlooking waterfalls and glaciers. It was a wild landscape, but one that felt in balance and in control. I had no effect over its power and that humbled me and left me feeling calm and in awe of nature. I want to experience that again.
I also want to see animals. I was hoping to head on a grand natural vacation last year, either on safari or to Costa Rica or the Galapagos—to spot lions, sloths, or penguins. I have loved penguins since I was a young child. They fill me with a joy that’s hard to explain, but is familiar to anyone who has a favourite animal. I’ve seen them in zoos, but I’ve never seen them in their natural habitat. I always dream about heading on the ultimate adventure to Antarctica to follow in the footsteps of Shackleton and see the Emperor Penguins in the frozen expanses of the South Pole. It’s always been something of a daydream, but this past year has made me want to turn it into a plan. I want to start a countdown to Antarctica. That way, it becomes something I know is coming, and something I can work towards, instead of simply a thing I dream of.
I invite you to start a countdown to travel with us. At Goway, we’re taking stock of the past, shoring up the present, and ready to move forward in the future. We’re counting down the days until border restrictions are lifted, airlines add more flight routes, and the majority of people start taking advantage of the modern wonders of technology to see the globe again. We know it’s coming. We sure have missed the world outside our doors. And we’re getting excited and planning. We can start to make travel arrangements, inquire about new destinations to travel to, and figure out the details of finally seeing those travel wonders we’ve dreamed about our whole lives.
So let’s get excited for the future together. Start your countdown to travel and let’s manifest that dream vacation just around the corner. Because before you know it, travel will be here.
9 Feb 2021, 7:55 p.m.