[Updated 14 September 2020]
For many of us, COVID-19 has been a pretty surreal situation ever since it properly struck the world in early 2020. Who knew when we kicked off the year that the world would be facing a pandemic that would not only affect our shores but also our daily lives so drastically?
Terms and phrases that were once foreign to us like 'social distancing', 'self-quarantine' and 'don't forget to wear your mask' have become part of casual conversation, and we are bombarded with neverending updates on social media and news platforms.
It feels like the world is in a travel lockdown...
Given the current situation of the world, travelling is on the back burner for most people right now - our priority at the moment is to help stem the further outbreak of the virus. That includes staying home when necessary, practising good hygiene and being considerate of others, especially our medical workers and frontliners as well as those more vulnerable within our society. (P.S. Boost your immunity during this time with these easy tips!)
Many people have also had to cancel or defer their travel plans, which is understandably disappointing, but necessary at this point in time. As avid travellers ourselves, we feel you! We also recognise that it's probably hard to even think about future travel plans right now, given the uncertainties that loom before us, and the 'what ifs' that hover and change with each passing day.
...but that doesn't mean you shouldn't dream about your next adventure
We truly, genuinely believe that you shouldn't stop dreaming about that next place you want to explore. Not being able to travel now shouldn't equate to not thinking about travel at all. Because like all things, this too shall pass, and when that time comes, travellers will go out into the world seeking new places and experiences, as we've always done.
Not being able to travel has been a great reminder of how blessed and privileged we are to be able to do so in normal circumstances, and that its importance can't be understated. Travel is fundamental, not just to broaden our individual horizons and perspectives, but also as a force for peace. And in the face of the COVID-19 situation that has had the unfortunate side-impact of making some people say or do things that are divisive, racially-biased or just plain mean, it becomes all the more crucial to help break down barriers and foster understanding.
In addition, in times like these, the impact and scale of the travel industry become super apparent, not just for the global economy but also the everyday livelihood of many. From airlines and tour operators to restaurants and small businesses, so many people have had their operations and therefore incomes suddenly and severely disrupted by these events. So when the time is right to start travelling again, the ringgit and dollars that we spend become more impactful than ever to help revive the tourism industry and its consequent ripple effects down the line to various businesses.
So what does this all mean? Well, what we at HHWT hope is for everyone to keep your wanderlust alive. We invite you to think about the next place you want to check off your bucket list, the epic experiences you'd like to accumulate, and things you want to go out and do. You can also continue to immerse and learn about foreign places even if you're not physically there - whether you choose to read an article about someone's travel experiences, read books, watch movies or look at stunning photos from beautiful destinations, resources are aplenty to help transport your mind to new places, even when your body can't go there.
We asked on Traveler Thursday (our weekly survey on our Instagram stories where we find out more about our readers!) where everyone would want to travel to first when it's safe to do so again, and the answers were inspiring. From people who want to go perform their umrah to those who want to go to South Korea and Japan, visit East Malaysia for the first time, or simply take a quick vacay to Langkawi, it's clear that the spirit and desire to travel remains steadfast.
Our commitment to helping you travel
On our part, the team here at HHWT remains committed to our mission to help you travel better. We will continue to publish travel articles that will hopefully be helpful for your travels for when the time is right. It's worth noting that as we publish travel content in these current times, we understand that now is not the best time to travel and that many people (ourselves included!) are staying put. Instead, it's meant to inspire and also help you plan for your trip when circumstances are suitable for travel again. As always, it's important to stay informed on the latest developments and take all factors into consideration, including your social responsibility, when you make your travel plans.
Travelling after COVID-19
It's easy to gravitate towards the negative effects surrounding the situation, but stepping back to see the bigger picture helps us see that it's not all doom and gloom. One side effect of fewer people travelling has been a positive impact on the environment - air pollution in places like China and Italy have dropped drastically, while the waters of Venice are reported to be clear for the first time in ages. When the time is right to travel again, destinations will be cleaner than ever and we’ll definitely learn a lot from this whole situation to help keep them clean moving forward. But besides cleaner destinations, when we start exploring the world again, we hope that all of us come to better appreciate each and every moment we have exploring this amazing earth and go about our travels with gratitude, care, and wide-eyed wonder.
As we go through these coming days that may seem scary and uncertain, we pray that everyone stays safe and healthy, are mindful of one another and know that we'll get through this together. And when we do come out on the other side InsyaAllah, our adventures will be waiting ❤️
P.S. Have any thoughts you want to share, be it about your future travel desires, your favourite past travel experiences, or your experiences travelling within this period? We're all ears! Feel free to share in the comments, reach out to us on Facebook or Instagram, or email us.