Hey, you. Yes, you. Dear backpackers of yesteryears, there was a time when the world is your oyster; when you can do everything your heart desires, go anywhere your feet and money will take you, and hug strangers without a care in the world. Do you remember when you partied all night in a bar in Bali that overlooks the ocean? How about that time you woke up on a beach in Ibiza without memory of what transpired the night before? Then, there was a time you spend a week with your co-workers to attend a conference in Tokyo. Do you remember how you all got lost in Shibuya?
But those days are behind you now. You can’t imagine yourself camping in the mountains of Nepal or asking a local to take you in for the night because it got too windy that it feels like your tent is going to rip in half. Dear backpacker, at first you couldn’t believe you’ve actually lived long enough to see another pandemic. You tried to deny that coronavirus exists until someone you know got sick, and you had to say goodbye on FaceTime. Ah, there was a time you can hug strangers because your favorite basketball team won. You high-fived bartenders, and you ate meals with locals you meet along the way.
How you wish those days are still with you now. Fortunately, life is still pretty awesome that somehow, the genius over at the pharmaceutical companies found a vaccine that will give you hope. Yes, hope that life can be back to normal or at least a semblance of normal. Some countries have now announced that there’s no need for quarantine for travelers as long as they are vaccinated and are from countries with few COVID-19 cases. Alas, things are looking up again.
Ease Into It
Understandably, you’re in a precarious position about traveling the world again. You’ve seen the devastation brought about by this virus, so you aren’t taking things lightly even if you are vaccinated. Don’t force yourself to do pre-pandemic things unless you are confident and comfortable. Ease into traveling by doing something you’re only mildly uncomfortable with, such as getting a facial treatment.
You are not too fond of having someone prick your face not only because it’s painful but also because you have to be face-to-face with your therapist. But this is a small step to take if you eventually want to travel the world and experience new adventures. Not only do you have to face your fears, but you also have to start taking better care of yourself again after the year that has been.
Originally, backpackers would book flights months in advance to get the best deals. This might not be the best idea right now. Or, if you do, make sure that you are flexible with your dates, itinerary, and other details of the flights. Remember that things are still very fluid right now, which means that your flights might get canceled because of COVID-19 surges in your destination. You may want to delay these flights when your country of destination is experiencing thousands of cases a day.
Since the world is not completely over the pandemic yet, expect your plans to change unexpectedly. While you want to go back to your glory days as a backpacker, this is not the best time yet to insist on what you want. Expect the unexpected when traveling these days. You don’t always need to have it your way.
Pay More (For Now)
In the past, you slept in trailer camps, tents, hostels, Airbnb, and many other unusual and cheap accommodations. The pandemic will push you to spend more on safer accommodations. Unlike before, it is not advisable to share a room with a stranger. You need to make sure the hotel has safety approval from that country’s tourism department or ministry. The safety seal means the rooms are properly sanitized.
Accept That it Won’t Be the Same for Now
The truth is that the world is not the same as you found it when you were a doe-eyed teenager who stepped foot in a new country. You have to accept that it might not be back to pre-pandemic levels of safety. The world that you long to experience is not going to magically return to normal. Those days might be on the horizon, but they’re definitely not soon.
Dear backpacker, you might be itching to experience the world again. Everyone does. You are in the same boat as everyone else. Go and search the internet for great deals. Life is too short not to see whatever place you can right now. But remember that it isn’t the same as before, and that’s the first thing you need to admit before you embark on your journey again.