Along with fellow adventurers, clients and colleagues alike, I’m sorely overdue for long haul takeoffs to distant lands. I most miss reconnecting with faraway loved ones, in the US and beyond, with whom memories were due to be created. If you’re like me, born to wander, this hiatus has been a rudely unwelcome interruption. Where to from here?
Goes without saying – we’re not exactly where we expected to be. After shutting down, self-sequestering, forgoing social contact, masking, sanitizing, weathering the multi seasonal impact of COVID on our job, families, and mental health for months, this nasty virus is still largely dictating daily life. The economic impact has been overwhelmingly devastating, affecting not just small and large businesses within and beyond the travel industry, but all of us humans who make the wheels turn. Along with you, I’m ready to tear 2020 off the calendar and look ahead to a more uplifting time.
Imagining future travel helps maintain a healthy perspective. While my daily reads include destination cyber searching, I fall back on bygone explorers whose tales still generate excitement. Ever in the hunt for writing inspiration, I summon literary giants I’ve long admired. At the plate: Mark Twain, whose Explore. Dream. Discover. quote became a travel mantra of mine. We’re definitely in a dream stage right now, pondering, planning, marinating on options, perhaps expanding our horizons. Finding new, curiously wonderful destinations boosts spirits and engenders an uplifting mood.
Good news is there are places with open spaces which geographically provide natural social distancing. Consider Costa Rica, which just reopened its borders November 1st. Diving deep into 2021 research for several clients, I’ve virtually discovered its spectrum of enchantments, from its rain forest jungles to panoramic coastline, each region offering stunning scenery with indigenous cuisines to delight the senses. Ecotourism dominates the myriad of vacation packages offered. Humans and nature easily harmonize here; its biodiversity entices visitors worldwide. And the activities! Hiking, surfing, ziplining, fishing, yoga, nature walks, bird watching, from zen to zest, mass appeal. Social distancing by Mother Nature. A jewel on the map.
When flights resume regularity and Canada becomes accessible again, I’m headed North. History and modern life seamlessly merge in Montreal, Quebec, the only French speaking province, with a plethora of well situated boutique hotels, charming inns, as well as high rise grand resorts. Ski areas are within a 1-2 hour drive of YUL/Trudeau airport. Fessing up: while I’ve booked countless urban and ski trips over the years, I’ve enjoyed true French hospitality offered by my sweet cousins since I was a petit enfant; my mom was born in Montreal. From Vieux Ville (Old City) to trendy hamlets, Montreal is actually a collection of lively neighborhoods, cities within the city, smartly connected by a wide web Metro system which extends beyond its limits. Cushy VIA Rail efficiently links Quebec City, Toronto, Ottawa, all points East to West with overnight services to Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. VIA Rail’s cuisine is superbe; I’ve never had better food on a train!
Dreaming and discovering now, the exploration will materialize when time is right. Onto F. Scott Fitzgerald. While some would say his last line from The Great Gatsby conjures dire images, I find these words inspire courage and resolve in times of stress and seemingly relentless adversity:
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Love this imagery, exertion framed by an endless ocean, with its powers both tempestuous and tranquil. We’ve certainly experienced turbulence. Given the COVID climate mutually endured this year, what else to do but summon our joint resolve, forge ahead with a shared goal of slaying this dragon? Drawing from past triumphs, using our collective resources, wits, talents, we can turn the tide. Returning to some level of normalcy is achievable. Patience and consideration required.
Let’s keep in mind it’s for now, not forever. This storm will eventually run out of rain. We’ll all be primed for takeoff when it does.