COVID 19. It came out out of the blue, and it is a crisis that none of us have ever encountered before. Governments, businesses, health institutions, and many other sectors of society were caught completely unprepared, having the rug figuratively pulled out from under their feet. The plague of the coronavirus seemingly turned society—and the things we take for granted—upside down.
To protect their citizens, governments all over the world have imposed strict quarantines. There’s no unauthorized travel. Everyone who is not a frontliner is locked down in their houses. Cities have become ghost towns. Businesses have closed down, some permanently.
But we all know we can’t stay like this forever. What will travel and adventuring be after the quarantines and lockdowns are lifted? Here is our personal take on the matter.
1. Traveling outside our countries of origin may become more restricted.
The coronavirus knows no boundaries. It is known that travelers from a high-risk city are suspected carriers of the disease. That’s why governments are forced to close airports and seaports around the world to reduce the importation of the virus.
All travelers are itching to visit their dream destinations. But once the ports of entry are opened, it is most likely that stricter measures will be implemented, even in domestic destinations. For example, the number of airline passengers may be limited, so we may have to wait in a queue. We may have to undergo medical tests and quarantines at the destination. Children, senior citizens, and those with pre-existing conditions may not be allowed to travel. We may need to wear face masks. Yes, these measures will be inconvenient and difficult, but we have to remember that all of these are for the greater good.
2. We may need to bring certain documents, mostly regarding our health, to travel.
Normally, when we travel, we just need to bring some kind of documents. Government IDs or passports are normally enough to permit travel to domestic or non-visa destinations. Visas and a few more documents may be required for some countries or other travel purposes.
When the highways, sea lanes, and skyways open, we would probably need some sort of health-related document that pertains to our health. That requirement is understandable. The local government and the citizens in our destinations would want to make sure that visitors in their place are not COVID-19 carriers. As such, we may need to bring medical records, a COVID test report, or a doctor’s certificate to show authorities that we have a clean bill of health.
3. We will have more personal space.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, we used to be relatively comfortable with people close to us. No, we don’t mean family, colleagues, and friends. We’re referring to fellow travelers and passengers who sit right beside us on a bus or plane. It might be inconvenient, but we don’t really mind being in a tight squeeze with strangers. Even luxury travelers who value personal space would mingle around with co-passengers in cruise ships, yachts, and first-class aircraft cabins.
After the lockdown, social distancing—maintaining a physical distance from other people to prevent virus transmission—will be the new norm. Most likely, we may have to sit one seat apart from other passengers in aircraft, buses, fast crafts, and other public transportation. No more standing in the aisle as well. We may have to sleep one bunk apart in inter-island ships.
But look on the bright side. Personal space, which we have long desired, may become ours at last!
4. Social distancing will force public transportation and tour operators to limit passengers and guests, respectively.
Unless an effective vaccine or treatment is found, social distancing will be the new norm. Buses, aircraft, trains, and ships will mostly be half-filled; you will be seated one seat apart from each other. That may also mean that they will be fully booked more often as they are only filled to half capacity. Better reserve your tickets, boys and girls.
The same goes for group tours. Tour operators and adventure outfitters may have to drastically limit their guests. But we view this as a huge positive. That means less mass tourism. No more crowded tourist attractions. Finally, with a limited number of guests, outdoor adventures may become more manageable and actually safer.
5. Foodies may need to be careful when eating exotic food.
According to scientists and researchers, the COVID 19 coronavirus most likely originated from bats and/or pangolins sold in a Wuhan wet market. This particular wet market specializes in the sale and consumption of wildlife.
Now, all wild animals carry viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens as a natural way to defend themselves. But when and if these pathogens infect humans, they’ll turn deadly. Why? Because humans don’t have the antibodies to effectively combat these pathogens quickly.
As travelers and adventurers, sampling exotic food is among our must-do activities when we visit a place. However, with the threat of being infected with a pathogen we have no defense against, it may be best to tone down that foodie adventure a bit. Sure, we can still eat local dishes. But we may want to stay away from any meal made of wildlife or animals that are generally considered non-food (e.g. rats, insects, worms, etc.).
6. Visiting and staying in popular destinations may become shorter in duration.
Scientists have found out that the virus lingers in the air for a few minutes before it falls to the ground. Even then, the coronavirus continues to linger on surfaces; how long depends on what type of surface it landed on.
Because popular tourist destinations are crowded, there’s a chance that the longer you stay in one place other than your home, the more exposed you will be to the virus.
We may have to rethink the way we travel and explore a destination. Personally, we love to stay, linger, explore, and learn more about a place. But until this virus is wiped out, we may have to shorten our visiting hours.
7. It would be a great opportunity to travel locally.
Although airlines and shipping vessels will open their routes soon, it’s likely that they won’t open all available routes, especially in areas where there are a lot of COVID 19 cases. Or perhaps, there will be limited seats due to the implementation of social distancing, which means flights and floats will be full.
However, it is very likely that you’ll still be able to travel around your own country. We’re pretty sure you haven’t been to all 80 provinces of the Philippines or the 50 states of the United States.
Pause your plans to go abroad, and give yourself a chance to explore the land of your birth.
8. It would be a perfect time to explore destinations and adventures in your immediate area.
Not being able to travel out of your own province or country actually opens up a golden opportunity. That is, you can use that time to explore local destinations! Believe us, you just barely scratched the surface in your local area. Use this time to discover new adventures, places, and even mini-cultures within your place.
For example, are you living in Cebu? Contact Sir Jing of Warrior Pilgrimage and hike the Cebu Highlands Trail. Are you residing in Samar? Sir Joni fo Trexplore PH is your guide in caving, canyoning, and touring around Samar, Leyte, and Biliran.
Trust us: you can never 100% fully explore your locality in your lifetime!
9. We may start visiting less popular or relatively unknown destinations.
Most “mass travelers” only focus on visiting popular tourist destinations. However, looking at a place—and travel in general—in a bigger perspective, you will realize that tourist spots are just a minuscule part of a destination. And in the era of COVID 19, it’s best to stay away from crowded places.
The biggest and most exciting adventures are actually right in front of your eyes: it’s experiencing the real culture of a place. Walking around a rural town, helping local farmers plant crops, sailing with a fisherman at dawn, playing with the local kids, visiting where locals go for an afternoon stroll—these are things that will let you experience the REAL essence, the REAL story of a place.
10. Adventures that don’t require large groups will become popular.
We usually don’t join packaged tours. That’s because we aren’t exactly fond of traveling or adventuring with lots of people. We also want to have complete control of our schedule and our preferences on places to eat, places to buy stuff, or adventures to experience. We cannot do this in a packaged tour because all schedules and destinations are already fixed.
Do you prefer to explore a destination yourself and not be constrained with group schedules or itineraries? Then you may very likely experience the joy of having absolute control over your trip with the new post-COVID normal. Large group tours will probably be discouraged due to the risk of having asymptomatic infect someone.
11. Reefs, mountains, and other natural destinations will become more beautiful.
The pandemic hasn’t been friendly to human beings and human society. However, it has given Mother Nature a much-needed break. Without humans in the way, Mother Nature started healing herself. Barren mountains become lush, and coral reefs begin teeming with life again. Once more, birds start to soar over the sky. And in news all over the world, even wildlife has started reclaiming their land.
The change is palpable in the air. The sky seems bluer, and the air seems fresher. For the first time in many years, majestic mountains are now visible from the screen of thick smog.
When we come back and visit these places, they will definitely become more magnificent than ever! We just hope that at the sight of these naturally healed places, we will realize that we have a responsibility to protect and preserve their beauty.
The world has had its share of deadly maladies—the Black Plague, the 1900s cholera pandemic, the 2004 Asian Avian Flu, and many others. Yet, humans survived all of this, a proof of our indomitable spirit.
In the movie Matrix Revolutions, the Oracle told Neo, “Everything that has a beginning has an end.” The COVID 19 pandemic will surely end. And when it does, travel and adventure will be better and more exciting than ever!
PS: We do hope you, dear readers, will forgive us for not posting often. Just like everyone else in the world, we are affected by the COVID 19 pandemic, and we may be posting less frequently than usual. Rest assured though that Team Sweetie/Adrenaline Romance will be back to our regular exciting weekly tales of adventure once this crisis has passed. In the meantime, go back in time and check out our past adventures!