The earth is still spinning on its axis, the sun continues to rise, shine and set. Animals roam free, and humans are ordered to find sanctuary in their homes. The only light that shines in through the windows and the daily quota on fresh air is obtained by the limited opportunity to explore our perimeter once a day. Times have changed. However, the universe continues to breathe. The air is fresher than ever before, the flowers bloom brighter and the clouds have dispersed.
Travel has come to a complete standstill. Airlines are folding. Hotels and restaurants are closing. Tourism plummets and those who rely on advertising their country as an exotic destination to visit, struggle. Struggle in a way that isn’t known to most of the first world community, as we gaze out of our smog-ridden windows wishing to gleefully skip down the street. The same struggle that many citizens around the world face day to day.
As a traveller, this short hiatus from travel has given me a whole new outlook on why I travel. I’ve shared it through various blog posts and even dedicated a whole post to it too. But, I’ve seen it in a new light now. I have been fortunate enough to have money in my bank, a passport to hand and a suitcase filled with clothes ready to embark on a whole new adventure. Today is no different. I still have all that, yet I feel a major loss. Many would disagree – all of the above are reasons to feel fulfilled. However, the reality is freedom is a high-level privilege I never recognised as one. The ability to make decisions to visit a new country, book a ticket, board a plane and be open to new cultures and sights of the world, and above all, doing it without objection. It’s the freedom and the end-to-end life-changing experiences that make me feel truly fulfilled. I get to help tell a story for those who can’t speak, or whose voice doesn’t project thousands of miles across the globe. I am their voice. I ensure food reaches their table, and their economy booms, tourism has a steady flow, shops stay open, restaurants keep serving local cuisine and travellers gain the same fulfilment I do.
While the streets are barren, and voices of happiness can’t be heard, the world is grieving. Grieving their loss. Loss of jobs. Loss of money. Loss of family and friends. Loss of life. Loss of freedom. I can’t speak for everyone, but I definitely feel a sense of loss and helplessness. As a travel writer and globetrotter, I get to contribute my part to an ever-growing industry and inspire those around me too. Now, those who once spent their days building a bank of wanderlust, can’t bear to read the words about destinations they long to visit without feeling a sense of heartache. Hospitality professionals and tourism specialists reach out in a sense of sorrow as they mourn their livelihoods.
We have to find the silver lining in every situation. Faith is the biggest contender in these situations. For faith is having the belief that something that hasn’t yet materialised will soon become a reality. We too will come out the other end of this. We will bring a buzz back to airports, aeroplanes will take to the skies, travellers will embrace the courage to keep discovering their planet once again, and the sweet sound of joy will soon return.
If there is one lesson we can learn from all of this, it is to never take anything we have day to day for granted. Freedom is a massive privilege, and the sun, moon, seas and earth are mother nature’s gift to us – we are their guests, not their masters. As the saying goes, ‘never look a gift horse in the mouth’.
Until next time… X