Travelling, from the Heart

It’s March 31, 2021 and we started building a sustainable house on an acreage a little over two years ago. Taking on this magnificent challenge I worried how difficult the job might be, but you can never see the real future.

I thought that I’d be able to keep running a travel business while helping to manage building contractors and trades, and doing a fair share of the work with our own labour. It should have worked. It would have worked, but we all know what’s been happening over the last 13 months. That’s reality.

Like almost everyone else, it has been well over a year since I’ve travelled anywhere. Well any where except to see an elderly loved one and to try and find building supplies and appliances that have become strangely scarce in our region. It’s been a year of obsessing about daily case numbers and the nagging worry over when and where and even if people will travel again. I’ve been heartbroken by the immense hardships that a worldwide shutdown of tourism and sickness has had on people in countries like Peru, Brazil and Mexico. People with few options to manage through a problem not of their making. Their resilience is amazing as is their creativity. That in it self speaks of hope, maybe even hope for a better after.

I can hardly wait myself to get travelling again but I have the same concerns as everyone else over the uncertainties. I’ve closely observed what is going on in travel and thought I’d share some of what I know, and what I don’t, and what my best guesses are.

  1. According to my friends in Mexico and Costa Rica, Americans are on the move. Even as Canadians have been blocked by air travel bans on our own carriers, Americans have been freer to travel away. My friends also say that tourists don’t seem to be following the same precautions as they would at home.
  2. Cuba, with one of the lowest Covid rates in the world, is open to Canadian tourists. But visits to Cuba have has fallen by 95% while daily new cases since December have sky rocketed. At this time the American Senate is moving to liberalize travel for Americans to Cuba.
  3. Most Caribbean countries are open.
  4. Domestic destinations are being promoted to Canadians, but travel in Canada is still highly inconvenient with mandatory isolation periods in place in all provinces. Even family travel is restricted.
  5. No one knows what effect vaccinations will make on travel restrictions. At the moment, none. You still have to comply with all measures in place.
  6. There are lowest of low prices for future travel if booked now. Most vacation tour operators are maintaining very attractive advanced booking terms, some even have the cost of Covid travel coverage included.
  7. People are getting outdoors more and so visits to national parks, game preserves and other natural treasures are on the rise. Rarely travelled destinations are now more visible on the market, hoping to attract the new mindset traveller. Examples: 10 day self guided driving tour of Namibia ($1100 pp US) or 8 days walking and canoe safaris on the Zambezi river(from $2679 pp).
  8. Small group tours, independent and custom independent tours are the new normal for touring.
  9. Iconic destinations like Machu Picchu and Sacred Valley sites are open but with reduced daily capacity.
  10. Family holidays are being booked with whole house and villa stays.

So, what do I make of this?

If I look back to 9/11 when the world also shut down, I was already booked on a big trip to Costa Rica. I could have cancelled but it was probably the best decision I made to not cancel. The country was all but deserted. We were treated like very special guests. You simply cannot imagine what it was like to be walking along a wild beach in Corcovado National Park and only the scarlet macaws flying around, checking us out. Climbing an observation tower to the rain forest canopy and staring out across the endless leafy rooftop to the crashing Pacific coastline. That was then.

I think right now, if you have a bucket list experience that’s calling, pay some attention to the call. It might be time to look ahead and take a step to let that dream become reality. If there is one thing that travelling now with Covid is teaching me it’s that the future is unclear but with careful considerations, you can plan a future trip without a lot of risk to your money.

I have a huge resource of information about travel costs, rules and destinations. Feel free to pick my brain if you want to do some planning.

Photo Courtesy of Hanover Holidays.

Where am I planning to travel? Look at the photo on this post and write your guess on my Facebook page. (This post is there too.) Here’s a hint, it’s an island where French is commonly spoken.

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