Wanderlust: Strong longing for, or impulse towards, wandering. Wandering: Aimless movement away from the usual course or place (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
There is no doubt that humans need to travel. That will not end. We, as a society have been pushed and pulled, to and from many different places in the world, and either virtually or physically, we have made it there. We are drawn to places for their rich cultural heritage, picturesque landscapes, lush wildlife, or exciting nightlife. We are fueled by our desire to connect with others, experience nature, do business, and see famous landmarks–we all have a little bit of wanderlust.
From adventuring across the world with only a backpack to detailing an extensive vacay itinerary, that sense of wanderlust has always been at the forefront of travel. Now, everything has come to a halt.
Since COVID-19 has put the world on pause–closing many borders– the tourism and hospitality industry has not only been put on stand-still but has sparked new trends and precedents for future travel.
With the mandatory global break from travel, a growing number of people have become concerned, and aware of global warming and the environmental impact of tourism. For instance, Nature Climate Change reports that tourism accounts for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, people are second-guessing their travel choices.
People are simply more reluctant to travel since the global pandemic struck. With concerns about hygiene, wanting to stay closer to home (even when travel restrictions are lifted) and a general desire to continue a slower, less stressful pace of living (rather than a fast pace, high-stress lifestyle of constant travel) people are increasingly drawn to “stay-cations.” Ikea is one brand that has promoted this idea, advertising their outdoor items to “transform your home into a vacation destination” when the option of traveling abroad isn’t there.
The earth has already begun to benefit from this travel-break: “Major cities that suffer from the world’s worst air pollution have seen reductions of deadly particulate matter by up to 60% from the previous year, during [the] three-week lockdown period,” Helen Regan of CNN.
Wanderlust seems to be moving to a term of the past. In a post-COVID world, we will be seeing trends of people “exploring the world with intention, experiencing its intensity and protecting its integrity,” as opposed to aimless “wandering” travel. More and more people are becoming drawn to traveling with a purpose. This can include trips that benefit communities (such as volunteering abroad), gearing towards activities that are environmentally- and wildlife-friendly while preserving heritage sites, and reduce our overall carbon footprint.
So by staying at home or deciding to travel purposefully, we will all be helping the health of our planet and the integrity of our people. Are you ready to say goodbye to wanderlust and hello to intent?