Where will your 'revenge travel' take you?

The growing impatience to travel after the pandemic threatens to aggravate the climate crisis.

Headlines are important. Last night, when I had finished that long article about a range of topics that were impossible to capture in one title, I had to choose between the themes' bucket list' or 'cicadas' to convince you that the blog was worth reading. Those who made it to the end will now understand the full circle of my thoughts, worldwide travel, and historical anecdotes that connected the themes. However, those who had to decide in a fraction of a second if they would click to open the article may have read the two possible titles as either an article about travel and adventure (bucket list) or one about nature and insects (cicadas). I thought the latter was closer to the theme of this newsletter, and it also corresponded with the drawing of the cicada that was visible on social media. 

Bucket list

But let's go back to that bucket list theme. Today, I asked in a tweet to name your top-three on your post-covid bucket list. What will you do once the pandemic is over? I know that I want to travel, but I was still somewhat surprised that all reactions but one involved travel. I applaud the one response that mentioned hugs, museums, and music/theater. Think about this: we haven't been able to hug our dearest friends and family for a year, and still, those that reacted mention travel 12 times more than hugs. I have to formulate that more honestly; many of those that said they wanted to travel added that they wanted to see their children, parents, or best friends. I suppose this means a package deal on the bucket list: you first travel to your parents and then hug them. And I should also mention the one that started her list with kisses before she said travel, which makes sense for many of us who give a good-bye kiss before leaving the house.

Revenge travel

It seems we all dream about travel while we can't leave during the pandemic. I recently noted an increase in the buzzing of travel vibes in social media. And so do the travel agencies. It is not the first time this happens. Last summer, when the covid numbers were low, there was already a lot of talk about 'revenge travel.' It then faded for a while with the onset of winter and the steep rise of the second wave. But now, third wave or no third wave, it seems that the feeling of spring and the hope for getting vaccinated has driven the dreams about revenge travel to new heights.

I don't know who coined this sinister term for an explosion in the travel of a restless world wanting to catch up on missed dream holidays. Any marketeer working for the travel industry would have done a better job with practically any other term. The Washington Post suggested the term's origin may be related to 'revenge spending,' a phrase that emerged in China in the 1980s when consumer demand boomed after the dark days of poverty during the Cultural Revolution. 

I fear that the world has forgotten that the most significant challenge that we face is just as urgent. The planetary crisis of climate change and the loss of nature will be far more impactful, and we have not a day to lose to take action. Remember how we have graciously supported our airlines with our taxpayer's money because they are essential to rebuilding the economy. Those airlines will soon fill their planes with people that want to celebrate their newfound freedom on their pre-covid holiday locations with beach beds in the sun. The celebration of the end of the first crisis will aggravate the next one that is already taking place. The revenge for the choices that we now collectively make might come in due time from nature.

The North-American and European travel industry will carefully follow how travel and tourism rebounded in the countries that got the pandemic better under control at an earlier stage. But the people in those countries, like New Zealand, had hardly any place to go and were not keen to go through quarantine weeks when coming back. Another indicator for the revenge travelers' mood is the rise in early bookings. From what I read, the trend seems to be to play it safe by going to outdoor places where you don't have to wear a mask. That can be anything between a typical beach and sun holiday or an adventurous outdoor experience. 

My thoughts for a mostly post-covid summer: travel to see family and friends, hug them, spend time on the beach, and go for long walks in nature. It seems that I fit perfectly in the broader picture. What's on your post-covid bucket list?


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