Cleared to take off: put the element back on the pleasure of traveling

Washington:

Travelers tend to be both restless and self-protective, and while some historically tend to be adventurous, others have sought relaxation and a pleasant change of pace. It is generally safer to stay at home, but that security can feel overwhelming. Suspicious after a year of dealing with an airborne virus, many are wondering when it will be possible to plan a week in Paris or the Caribbean without worrying about whether the pandemic will eclipse the fun.

Will a cruise ship look like a pleasure craft again rather than a death trap? Most potential adult travelers to the United States enjoy relative privileges and have access to the vaccine, and although herd immunity remains elusive in the country as a whole, it is highest among the most socio-advantaged populations. -economic and, perhaps, among travelers, despite anti-vaccines.

The modernization cycle dictates that new dangers emerge in one area while new safety measures emerge in another: cars are faster, but they have seat belts; more people visit the Grand Canyon, but there are railings where visitors congregate. Are we going to continue to wear masks at 5,000 feet? Given the number of common colds I have contracted after flights in the past, the thought of exposing myself to shared, recycled compressed air has become unpleasant for reasons of general hygiene rather than for deadly terror. , although most airlines use advanced filtration systems. pandemic is better controlled in developed regions than in developing regions. This is not only a moral outrage, but also a problem for less wealthy countries where local economies depend on tourism.

Americans who fear COVID may prioritize travel to Britain or Europe. But what will they find there? COVID has closed restaurants and museums, and they are only reopening very gradually, even in London, Vienna and Prague. Latin America and the Middle East are taken for granted.

Decisions must be taken country by country. Over the years, many travelers have evaluated reports of possible unrest or questioned whether particular places were welcoming to women, LGBTQIA people, members of religious minorities. We will continue to track these COVID numbers as if they are both revealing and predictive.

It is heartwarming to be vaccinated and to go where everyone else is vaccinated too; but there are ways to regulate travel to places where vaccines are less available and to stay safe while being careful not to become a super-spreader yourself. Travelers can avoid crowded places, wear masks, and dine in places where the climate allows them to do so.

The question of travel is not just a question of pleasure. Travel is an integral part of our continuing education. Nineteenth-century naturalist Alexander von Humboldt wrote: “There is no view of the world as dangerous as the view of the world of those who have not seen the world. Just as the boundaries of our bubbles drove many of us a little crazy in our 40s, being locked in our own country has been devastating for many of us. The success of each country depends on the curiosity of its citizens. If we lose this, we lose our moral compass. Travel is a two-way street, and hopefully it will soon be bumper to bumper in both directions


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Clint Love

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