Life After The Pandemic
This pandemic has changed everything for me. I lost my job and a security blanket that I've had for so many years, and at first, it was honestly scary. With time I started to feel liberated, and it ultimately lit a spark in me to become more self-sufficient. Having all this free time has definitely forced me to take a look at myself and the mental patterns that have held me back for too many years... the fear of loss being a huge one.
Financial security makes us feel safe and protected. These are big human motivators, and as people, we often do a lot of things we don't necessarily want to in order to feel that sense of “security.” Going through all the fears and emotions of not having that anymore made me realize it's actually not that bad. I believe all the time we’ve had to think will make many people more resilient and bolder in their decisions; it definitely has for me. We can lose everything in one second, so don't hesitate to do the things you want to do now.
Some of my biggest challenges during the world shutting down were mental health struggles and resurfacing emotions, namely the return of depression and anxiety, which I hadn’t experienced in years. Coming out of all of that now, I see the positives effects of that "time off" and I'm grateful for that reflection period and what it's given me. Its allowed me to utilize the tools I’ve learned throughout my life, which have helped bring me out of that sadness once before; but this time it put emphasis on the importance of reaching out to those around me.
The pandemic pushed me to dedicate more time and energy to what I know now to be essential; the emotional, the spiritual, and the internal. With all the running around, filling our schedules, and spending money unnecessarily (something we all do) - I now see I'm completely fine with spending days in, watching strings of movies, reading books, watering the plants, and putting away my coin for an adventure later on down the road.
~ Kel Henderson ~
I'm grateful that I was able to adjust quickly during the pandemic and found ways to enjoy my time being at home. For the first time, in a long time, I was able to live a slower, and simpler life which led me to start capitalizing on the newfound time I now had. I picked up on home workouts, cooking creative meals, reconnecting with friends and family, and simply just relaxing and letting my mind recharge for once.
My struggles during this time were mostly associated with being surrounded by the negative energy of others around me and the constant battle of not letting that affect me or my mental well-being. I believe the quarantine period stirred up a lot of suppressed emotions for many people because "getting away" or traveling may have been their method of "escapism" from their every day lifestyle.
So did the pandemic change my outlook on travelling? Absolutely not. I still intend to get out there and see every part of this planet that I possibly can. I don't feel as though I have taken anything for granted, and this can sound as nice or as dark as you take it, but nothing lasts forever. Everything has a duration. Emotions, people, viruses... none of that can go on indefinitely.
I have used this opportunity to explore my home grounds a little more in-depth and made it my mission to roam the places I hadn't tread before, and I must say, I've been pleasantly surprised with the outcome. My biggest challenge being quarantined at home was without question the lack of social contact and freedom of movement. You can only keep yourself busy with what is in your home for so long before you need some other mental and physical stimulation.
~ Josh Spillett ~
Never in a million years would I have thought the privilege to travel the world could be revoked in an instant. Covid made me realize how much I took that for granted prior to all of this and for me, it redefined the meaning of freedom. Being stuck in my house drove me crazy! Although I was able to work from home, some days were just harder than others. Sometimes I had so much free time it honestly made me feel uncomfortable. I would just think to myself “how did we get here…?”
The pandemic made me understand the importance of self-care and having a healthy work-life balance. I realized how much I needed to take a step back and refocus on the things that actually made me happy. One of the biggest lessons I took from this experience is that nothing is promised, being able to travel is a privilege, and money is definitely not the only tool that creates opportunities or happiness. When the world fully re-opens, I'm excited to explore it even further, visiting friends and family along the way. First stop, Madrid Spain!
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
I quickly realized that before Covid-19, I had absolutely taken the privilege to travel the world for granted. In my time of isolation, I realized how complacent I felt at home and with my social circle to whom I could always return too. This led to the reminder that I am in charge of my everyday life choices and what I make out of them. I have taken this time to no longer make excuses for working out, reading books, and spending quality time with those I love.
I do feel that the pandemic in many ways has helped people realize not so much the freedom of traveling but the advantage of being a part of a “society.” Not everyone is happy with the different ways each government handled the whole situation, and that's understandable. I firmly believe that the number 1 thing to do in these situations is to ask yourself: “What can I do in my position to make for a domino effect for positive change?”.
~ Ludvig Joleson ~
Being quarantined these past two years has been a crazy ride for me. I was living in Australia when the news of Covid-19 started circulating around the world. What's crazy is.. I actually had an intense gut feeling telling me that I needed to go home before the pandemic even surfaced. I vividly remember sitting on the beach expressing to my boyfriend these unshakable feelings that were telling me, almost screaming even.. “Lauren! You NEED to go home!”
My intuition ended up being spot on, and I left Australia and flew back to Indiana, where within two weeks of returning, I was now a part of a mandatory stay-at-home lockdown order. It’s just crazy how your entire life can do a complete 180 overnight. I went from traveling the globe, spending each day with friends from different corners of the world, eating out, constantly catching busses/planes/trains, you name it; living my life with complete freedom - to the greatest extent of the meaning, to then, suddenly, I was limited to the walls of my own home.
~ Lauren Popcheff ~
Given the pandemic, I've definitely learned to appreciate travel more, as you never know when that privilege can be taken right away. My biggest challenge about being quarantined at home was that I had to find new ways to take care of my mental health without access to many people in the process. For me, this was difficult, because human contact has always kept me so grounded.
I did notice, however, that although I lost some social aspects of my life, I did start to look after my body more, and in a way, the pandemic brought out some other positive new habits as well. I think Covid-19 has given many people time to think about what the next chapter of their life could really look like. I also believe that fluidity in terms of your career is important as well!
~ Connor Babic ~
First off, I want to say that I’m very grateful and lucky that I had the opportunity to travel the world for six months and experience pure freedom right before the start of the pandemic. It certainly helped me get through that unprecedented time that we're now starting to resurface from. When the news first came of the virus and the world completely stopped, I didn't feel trapped or like I was missing out on anything.
That extraordinary past parenthesis in my life gave me the necessary tools and courage I needed to go through these unforeseen changes and to be able to process and adapt to this new life the best way I could. The journey, the people, and all those experiences gave me the resilience to go back to my daily life, but in a way where I faced and saw everything differently.
The pandemic taught me that you shouldn't take anything for granted, especially not your freedom. Traveling is precious, and we should cherish every opportunity to discover the world and the people living in it. I don't see the next trip as a “next destination.” I prefer to ask myself what kind of experience I am seeking now. And what is it that I want to feel?
Like most people in the world, my travel plans for 2020-2021 were entirely affected by the pandemic. I canceled a trip I had made to South America, a continent I've always wanted to explore; before then, I never really thought about my past travels as a privilege, right, etc. I thought of it as an opportunity to grow as a person both mentally and spiritually, and although I was unemployed for a little, I really enjoyed my time off, spending days reflecting on life by the lake.
I'm still taking this time to work on my career, and I have recently signed up for an IT course as I’m looking to completely change my profession when the job market reopens. Yes, this entire Covid situation sucked, but looking at the big picture, it will only be a part of our lives, and I have no doubt we'll come out of this stronger as people.
~ Zachary Mack ~
Because of the pandemic, I think many of us appreciate more than ever the freedom to travel and be with our family and friends whenever we please. I definitely think I took it for granted because I never imagined something like this could happen, where the whole world could stop and all of us be affected by it.
I think the hardest part of quarantine was finding a new routine that worked for me, and also being stuck in one house with the same people. At times it felt great to sleep in and rest my body, but after one month, I was over it! I missed the little things, like going out to a simple lunch, traveling, treating & seeing patients, all of it!
I actually got laid off from my job because of the pandemic. However, since I graduated, I’ve been throwing around the idea of opening up my own practice, which has been a massive dream of mine, but I never felt quite ready. I think this certain situation has opened my eyes to the positives on building my own practice sooner rather than later.
~ Mahta Haririnia ~
I have built so much of my identity as a semi-nomadic world wanderer. During the third month of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had a colossal and complete mental breakdown. I barely slept, could not keep food down, and cried more than all other instances in my entire life combined. I was unable to cope with the idea of an uncertain future that was not catered to my own specific plans.
Fortunately, I was able to snap out of my depression by capitalizing on the things I still did have: access to friends, family, my teaching job, and the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii, on which I live. In my heart, I believe the pandemic was the world telling our species to take a seat and acknowledge that on this planet, we’re not always in control, and we are far from the top.
Human globalization is indeed a privilege and should always be respected as such. With this in mind, I do have a newfound philosophy on traveling when it’s safe to return to doing so. I genuinely believe we can travel the world more sustainably and this time with greater purpose.
~ Anthony Casciano ~
New York, USA
To say I took traveling for granted before the pandemic would be an absolute UNDERSTATEMENT! I realize now that I waited a long time before exploring the world the way I wanted to because I thought my financial situation would prevent me from doing so. Since I have both a Canadian and French passport, I believed the world was always right at my fingertips, just a vacation or flight away. What's crazy is that it's the main reason I postponed my travels for so long. But now I know I was waiting for the wrong reasons.
It’s easy to overthink about "the perfect" travel buddy, is the timing right? and of course, “ what’s the best financial budget for this adventure? When I started traveling, I realized how much I needed that time off to take a real break from my own reality. To step back and enjoy the world but also enjoy time with myself for once. There's never perfect timing or that "perfect" budget...or travel buddy. Now I realize from now on, if you want it, DO NOT WAIT FOR IT! EVER!
~ Lydia Ziani ~
This is probably the best chance anyone has ever had to change things in their life they’re unhappy with. This pandemic hasn’t changed my view on that as I believe your happiness is way more valuable than any job out there. Money will come and go, but you only have one life as far as we know.
Time away from that 9-5 grind to actually think is something rare. But I believe traveling is an opportunity anyone can have if they really want it. It’s just like living at home but better. Go out and do what you do here, but somewhere else in the world, and this time make it exactly what “YOU” want!
~ Max Hayhurst ~
Within the first few months of the pandemic, I would definitely say that I felt a shift within myself as i had been quarantined with my immediate family, including my parents and my three younger sisters. While travel has always been such an important thing for me, I really enjoyed that time I spent at home with nowhere else to go.
I have always been close with my family, but now, spending so much time has bonded us in a whole new way. I have also had much more time to focus on creative projects that I otherwise would’ve put off, considering I worked full-time before the pandemic hit. It is a strange time we live in, but somehow, I think we will grow and expand from it. As far as travel goes, I don’t think I necessarily took it for granted before, but I do look at it in a new light, and I think I will appreciate travel even more now that this is all over.
~ Alanna Murphy ~
I was putting a new business together before covid-19, but this unprecedented time has made me think more about how I can make it recession-proof in case a situation like this ever happened again. I have many friends who lost their jobs, so I feel fortunate that I’ve been an entrepreneur for years. I think it’s all about having the right balance with a profession that you enjoy working in and making sure to include plenty of time for new adventures and discoveries along the way
Since the pandemic, I have further come to appreciate all the traveling I've done over the past decade. Thankfully I’ve taken this time to enjoy where I was prior and where I am now, and with that, I have focused my energy on building a business and planning the next chapter of my life. I do well on my own anyway, so having that extra time to work on my goals was great for me.
~ Justin Banz ~
I have given everything a lot of thought since the start of the pandemic. Of course, like everyone else, my plans were immediately affected, but being on lockdown also opened up many opportunities for reflection. With all the uncertainty around, a lot of questions arose. It became pretty clear that it would take a while for us to go back to traveling in the way we once used to. I even asked myself if travel would ever be the same again. I don't think I ever took it for granted, but this time definitely amplified my gratitude to roam this world freely.
The pandemic was a huge mix bag for me. The first lockdown was somewhat refreshing, as it was new and people were motivated to pull through together, and there was a sense of cohesion and team spirit in a way. Everything and everyone slowed down, and it felt like a long-needed reset from our fast-paced lifestyles. I took time to reflect, meditate, do a lot of yoga, and spent a lot of time in nature.
I feel that my uncontrollable fear of being complacent forces my drive to move around as much as I do. This can be probably backed up by the number of random long-term moves I've made throughout the years that started at such a young age. I'm ready to move again now that this pandemic has started to cease, with countries now opening back up every day. Next stop: Greenwich!
My current job, teaching tennis privately, wasn't entirely affected. I was working with people in their homes, which, unless there is a world war 3 or something along those lines (not far from reality), I don't see any reason I couldn't make my own space from this passion. I think everyone learned something from this experience, at least I hope, as it's up to us as individuals to choose what we take away from this and bring with us into the future.
~ Vuk Velickovic ~
Banovo Brdo, Belgrade, Serbia
I'm grateful to have traveled as much as I have throughout my lifetime; but still... I feel it sad knowing what potentially lies ahead regarding the travel experience feeling different and possibly being more complex moving forward. Part of me hopes that it will become more difficult so that only those who genuinely want to explore this beautiful world will do so. I don't know why, but I find that could be a significant advantage to both the ecosystem's recovery and the mindset of tourists as a whole.
I told a friend the other day that if I knew what these past couple of years were going to be like, I would have turned back time and booked a one-way ticket to New Zealand HAHA. I think this pandemic is a lot of things, and for me, it allowed me to slow down my lifestyle and be ok with where I am currently at. This duration has helped me sit still and remember why I’m not traveling the world 365 days a year and how important it is to balance that while maintaining the great relationships that I have in New York City.
~ Min Lin ~
New York, USA
To say I took traveling for granted before the pandemic would be an understatement! Not that I hate my life, quite the contrary, I live in Miami, and I love it! But there is something so special about working a little extra to compensate for time off to travel, make plans, see friends, and all the excitement of not knowing where you are going or whom you will meet along the way.
I know it sounds crazy but being outside my comfort zone is my favorite hobby! It stimulating for me to learn new things and really feel that growth within myself when I do. I hated being stuck at home, hated it! I felt trapped, especially working from home, and being there 24 hours of the day was just untolerable… I definitely had a couple of mental breakdowns (and forever thankful for my BF / now-husband for his patience :).
~ Anais Diaz ~
I'm very grateful that I was able to travel the world extensively before it all shut down. I was planning on staying in Germany for a while to finish my studies, so the lockdown didn’t affect my plans too much, but I can also say that I never took traveling for granted either.
The majority of the world's population can’t even dream about exploring the globe, and I understand that. So, for now, I am only traveling in Europe and am hoping that Covid has settled when I’ve graduated so I can see even more of this beautiful world when the time is right.
~ Joshua Wiegand ~
Australia's reopening has been such a breath of fresh air and well deserved, especially in Melbourne, where not so long ago, we experienced a nine-month mandatory lockdown and couldn't travel 5km past our home. I am so grateful to have taken advantage of exploring the world before all of this happened. During the height of the pandemic, I became more aware of these privileges and I began to reflect upon my life experiences pre-covid.
There were many challenges I went through during this time, but the most predominant was not being able to go home and visit family and friends of my own will. I find it very challenging not to think about traveling when it's who you are at heart. Currently, my mindset around travel has changed from a global approach to more domestic and internal. I now find myself wanting to explore my own backyard more, and so far I'm glad to say I have been pleasantly surprised by the local hidden gems and sights that I never knew were always around me.
~ Sarah Brown ~
I never realized how much I took traveling for granted until the pandemic hit the world. In the summer of 2019, I came home after a year of living in Australia. My initial plan was to return home to the Netherlands for 2-3 months before heading back to Oz for a more extended period of time. Once I got back to family and friends, I got way too comfortable and felt like staying there just a little bit longer then planned.
At the time, I assumed I could just fly back to Australia whenever I wanted, so I thought to myself, why not wait a little? Once the new reality hit, I was quickly faced with the question of when Australia will re-open (2+ years later) and under what conditions, as Australia is one of the strictest countries in the world in terms of border control.