Recently both G-Adventures and Intrepid Travel have implemented the necessary measures to ensure absolute safety in all of their trips in order to inspire confidence to future travellers and re-start an industry that has been so far taking a very hard hit from the pandemic.
I urge anyone interested in booking a trip to visit their websites and check the extent of what’s been done to achieve the “Covid-19 Safe Stamp”.
I know that there’s a lot of people that will feel better after reading this and pack a bag and go.
And I’ll be one of them as soon as the Australian international borders will be open again.
For now, I just look at photos from past travels and dream…
In the early morning of the 18th of August 2005 I was strolling around the hutongs in Yandaixie, Beijing, with a cheap compact camera from Sony.
I hadn’t had much luck that morning and so I hailed down a cab to head to a different area of the capital.
The exact moment I opened the door to the cab I turned around and saw a girl carrying food in two baskets on a stick balanced on her shoulders. When she saw me pointing the camera at her and looking quizzically at her to ask for permission she tucked her hair behind her ear in such a lovely way that it reminded me of any other girl or woman I’ve ever met. I immediately pressed the shutter and immortalised that moment.
To this day, whenever someone asks me why I love travelling so much I show them this photo. I know that it’s not self-explanatory, at least not to everyone, but that photo marks the moment in which I understood how wonderful humankind can be. And for the following 15 years I’ve dedicated all my travels to find that inner beauty over and over again.
In the smiles of children jumping into the Chao Praya during the monsoon, in the glistening eyes of women brushing their gorgeous long hair in Nepal, in the deep frown of concentration of worshippers in a Hindu Temple in Bali, in the pride of a First Nation woman showing me her work of art in New Mexico and in the charismatic gaze of a hunter from a secluded tribe in Botswana.
Time and time again I’m reminded that life always finds a way and that most of the time it’s a magnificent way.
No matter where I go I’m welcomed with beauty and it’s the kind of beauty that makes you humble but at the same time proud of having the courage to pack your bag and go exploring.
Does it always go the way you plan it? Of course not!
No thing and no one is perfect and for each and every time I felt like giving up, there has always been someone that took my hand and helped me out.
The reason why I’m saying all this is because I firmly believe that travelling gives us the possibility to become better human beings.
Understanding and appreciating foreign cultures makes us kind and compassionate.
And while I fully agree that safety should always come first in anything we do, I can’t help but wonder what the future will look like after so many months of closure, isolation and distancing.
I have no doubt that we will one day be able to travel again, but I worry that it’ll become more and more difficult to encounter that spark of life I’ve sought and found in so many unthinkable places.
I know that social distancing now is necessary, but is it sustainable? And for how long?
Will we still be allowed to share food from the same plate in India?
And what about exchanging greetings with 3 kisses in the Netherlands?
What about hugging each other?
What about holding someone’s hand and help them stand up after they fall?
Every day we hear different news about new countries re-opening their borders to visitors, but the essence of travel is so much more than just entering a country.
I may have forgotten the name of the village in Sicily where my car broke down, but I’ll never forget that 5 perfect strangers dropped everything they were doing to come to my rescue and help me push it.
And I may never remember the name of the noodles I had for breakfast in Luang Prabang, but I can always picture the amazing skills of the man that was cooking them for me.
I can’t wait to experience these adventures again and to those of you who are finally setting sail… have a wonderful and safe time!