A Whole New Dawn

Post lock-down is going to look like a completely new world to many, and for those of us who love to travel, nothing can be further from the truth. The newest of daily habits have changed the way we go on our adventures. Where the adventure used to be going somewhere we’d always dreamed about, the adventure now seems to be “making it back home alive”.

travel has not been cancelled, just changed.

I’m actually looking at is a positive change in some respects.

Travelling had become stressful – tiring – cumbersome, and I dare say a little bit “routine”. Routine in the fact that we always knew what to expect. We knew there were going to thousands of people to mingle with. We knew ninety (90) percent of the time we were going to be travelling with gaggles of families listening to their screaming children and unhinged parents. We knew getting to wherever we had chosen was not going to be a simple on-off plane ride.

... and then came Covid-19

Yes, the virus shook the world and threw society as we knew it hurling head on into the rotor-blades of a prop-plane, throwing the travel industry into a disastrous free-fall. I dont have to tell you, EVERY aspect of travel has been affected and suspended .. but as of this writing, travel is NOT dead and buried. There is still hope.

Personally … I see this “burp” in our humanity as a learning experience.

We were getting too comfortable and feeling too privileged on a planet we call home but is really not ours to wipe our growing carbon foot-print on. This slap on the wrist has made us realize we must change.

… so too must travelling.

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While at first I was “upset”, “terrified” and “numb” to the fact that something had taken away all “MY” plans to vacation, month later I came to the conclusion that maybe I was thinking ahead of time when I came up with my blog title “of-age-traveller”. It’s taken a little time, but now I’m comfortable getting back to the keyboard and discussing the numerous pro’s of travelling that may slow us down a little, but at the same time make the experience(s) all the more appealing.

Notably, the most obvious change at this time is the number of people who are travelling. This stems from numerous reasons … (i) world-wide lock-downs and border closures, (ii) travel companies, especially cruise-lines cancelling itineraries, (iii) world wide economic crash making people prioritize their spending a little more (iv) an outright fear.

(i) EVENTUALLY, lock-downs and border crossings will open up.

(ii) Travel companies and cruise-lines will bounce back into operations, though there may be fewer to chose from.

(iii) The economy will very slowing get better, but those who saved prior will be able to still get out and away.

(iv) FEAR will be replaced with a new understanding.

… personally

We had to cancel three cruises that were to take place in 2020. While we had always wanted to sail the western shore of Europe from Copenhagen to Barcelona, too many risks this early in “post Covid” kept hopping up and instead of finding possible solutions, sometimes, it’s easier to just give in to the fact that “now is not the time”. The other two cruises were Singapore to Tokyo, and Toyko to Alaska. This cancellation was purely a geographical decision to try again at a later date (though in all honesty, I “really” wasn’t looking forward to so many days at sea on the third cruise).

I’ve always HATED crowds, so for now, travelling in the post-Covid age is my nirvana. Planes are less crowded (for now) and airlines are mandated to make more space between passengers when booking seats. It’ll almost be like flying first-class (without the price or the extra leg-room). Most flights now, in an effort to reduce person-person contact have given up food and beverage services, and ALL FLIGHTS are trying to enforce the “passengers must wear masks at all times” (which I have absolutely no qualms about).

Cruising is the industry where you will see the most drastic of changes, but again — I’m looking to the less people on-board concept. I know this could mean higher prices, which “could” mean more choices when booking — but AT THE SAME TIME, you must act fast when booking. Most people now, given recent documented experiences, few people want an inside cabin, so staterooms with balconies are going fast. As an example — when I booked our December 2021 cruise to Curacao, I had a choice of three (3) balcony staterooms/suites (and this is on the Odyssey of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean’s largest and newest ships).

With new “social distancing” mandates, many features we were once used to have changed or in some cases disappeared for the time being.

Remember those days of fighting the crowds to get the pool lounger? That may get a little more competitive. You will no longer see lounge chairs locked together right on top of one another with the recommended three (3) foot spacing. The bonus … you’ll now have space to put your drink between seats … AND you don’t have to crawl up onto the lounge to get a seat. I still probably wont go pool side … I like my private balcony with lounger(s). Depending on where our suite is, I can still hear the music from the pool party, but I don’t have to put up with all those intoxicated individuals.

BUFFETS are thing of the past. They are not shuttered, just reconfigured. Think of them as a less-formal dining room experience when it comes time to eat. Again, personally …. I find this to be a better-health decision in the long-run. People often eat less when they have to order instead of “piling it on” at a buffet station.

Whether we like it or not, life has changed. With minimal changes it’s going to continue. I think I can wear a face mask when needed, and continually wash/sanitize my hands to make my ambitious travel bucket-list a new reality. ■

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