The Future of Solo Travel, Post-Coronavirus
Will the world of travel look drastically different once we've overcome COVID-19?
✈️ Will flights be even more pricey, or super cheap?
🙋🏻♀️ Will countries welcome tourists with open arms, or will memories of rapid disease-spreading make them hesitant to risk it?
🎒Will there be tons more digital nomads bc more people can work remote, or way fewer because it carries more perceived risk?
Of course, there are no answers yet. It’s all just speculation.
But I can tell you one thing for sure: Solo travel will EXPLODE IN POPULARITY after we’ve overcome this global-health crisis and it's safe to take trips again.
Why? Because this pandemic has slapped us all in the face with new perspectives on a lot of things. For example...
Travel is a privilege, not a right.
Putting off seeing the world just because your friend keeps flaking or no one wants to go to the same places as you...it used to just be a shame.
Now it's downright wasteful.
After this pandemic has ended, more and more people will think, "What the hell was I waiting around for?!" and book a ticket, whether they'll be splitting the cab to the airport with someone or not.
There's a new urgency, an even-stronger pull now to travel far and wide while we can. The delicious ability to book a flight tonight and be headed somewhere new tomorrow is never guaranteed. Exploring new places is a gift, but a gift that can be taken away in extreme circumstances like this one.
So, after this: If you have the means to travel, you have the responsibility to travel. We gotta see as much of this incredible place while we're able to. There's no time to waste.
The annoying parts of travel don't seem so annoying anymore.
What I wouldn't give to have an inconsiderate dude hogging my airplane-seat armrest right now.
How I WISH I could be waiting in line in immigration at this moment, with the opportunity to feast my eyes on a million things I've never seen waiting, just steps away.
I would love it if I could be holding on for dear life on the back of a motorcycle in Vietnam this afternoon, or sweaty and lost in the streets of Bangkok.
I'd be thrilled to be embarrassing myself trying out a local language right now, or shyly, awkwardly bartering and ending up overpaying for a t-shirt or a tour.
It would bring me GREAT JOY to spend the next 8 hours on a cramped overnight bus so I could wake up in a completely new place.
It's like how in a rom-com, when a couple breaks up, they'll say dumb sh*t like "I miss how she snorts when she laughs" or "I miss how he'd steal the blankets," or whatever formerly annoying thing that now seems desirable. When you love something like we travel women love exploring the world...you're willing to take it all. Good, bad, and ugly. That's unconditional love, baby!
So maybe sometimes, in the past, we'd get caught up in the frustrating details or the annoying things that come with the territory. But now, we miss even these formerly irritating things. We miss what they represent. Now, we realize how they're all pieces of the experience—because they mean we're out there living life and not wasting any time.
Being unable to comfortably spend time alone—that's a problem.
I hate when people dump on introverts. There are gajillions of articles that talk about tips for how introverts can act more extroverted and outgoing. But where are the advice columns about how extroverts can chill out and learn to be comfortable with nothing more than their own company?!! 📣 BOTH SKILLS ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT. 📣 Quarantine, social distancing, self-isolation...these things have made many people (extroverts especially) suddenly realize that they don't know how to spend time alone. → And I suspect this is the secret motivation behind many of the fRuStRaTiNg HuMaNs that are still crowding in parks and throwing parties, or even just going to the grocery store too often. I suspect that many of them rush to instantly cure the discomfort they feel at being by themselves, which, in this case, ends up exacerbating and prolonging a global pandemic. 🤦🏻♀️ Listen: The only person we can be SURE will always be there through thick and thin is OURSELVES. Times where we have no choice but to spend time solo will pop up in life for all of us (though hopefully, they won't come with circumstances as extreme as these). If being alone with our thoughts makes us uncomfortable or bored or afraid, that’s something we need to remedy. And, as it happens, solo travel is the most fun way to do that.
But also, human connection is a real, deep need for all of us
Yes, the world would probably be a better place if more of us could learn to be truly comfortable spending time on our own.
BUT, we all still have this deeply rooted need for authentically connecting with others now and again. You need food, water, sunlight, fresh air, and...some good old-fashioned conversation regularly to keep you sane.
And this pandemic has shown us just how much we took human interaction and true connection for granted. I nearly cried laughing at the video below that my friend sent me the other day, because it's so damn relatable right now. A bit less so for us introverts, I think, but it still touches on a point that's very human. We need someone to share our thoughts with sometimes—and if people aren't around, we'll try the next best thing!
(It's such a universal need that, even if you don't speak Spanish, you'll still relate to this video on a deep level. #justhumanthings) 👇
What does this have to do with traveling alone? As a solo traveler, you’re more approachable, and you’re more likely to approach others to make friends. This has been my experience time and time again—even though I'm (have I mentioned???) an introvert.
In fact, 99% of the deepest, most beautiful soul connections of my life have found me when I was traveling alone. So I believe that, post-coronavirus, people will recognize the opportunity solo travel presents to connect with others around the world in a special way. I think people will start to understand that solo travel—paradoxical though it may seem—is one of the best ways on the planet to get your fix of meaningful human connection.
Deeply, viscerally compelled
I listened to a podcast this week about a guy who was wrongfully accused of a murder, and spent 12 years in prison before they made things right. A completely innocent dude was behind bars from age 24-36, if you can even imagine. And in his post-release interview, he said "I was late to this interview because I couldn't find my car keys. And I was so happy, I just marveled, like, I have car keys!! I have a car!! What a blessing!" 🔑
I predict, and I hope, that we'll all have this kind of reaction once we can resume our world travels. I hope that one beautiful outcome of this terrible event in history will be that more people are drawn to exploring the world solo. Not waiting around, not fearing time spent alone, not getting bogged down by the annoying details.
When the world opens its doors to you again, I pray that you'll lean into the feeling of being deeply, viscerally compelled to go out and explore it on your own terms.