The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us of this like nothing else in our lifetimes. In some ways, it has served to accentuate many things we have always known and done, for better or worse. It has intensified, once could say, how we protect our gift of health. We have always refrained from hugging Aunt Pat when experiencing the sniffles; now we avoid visiting her altogether. We always washed our hands when returning from our weekly shopping; now many of us wash the groceries themselves. We always respected others’ personal space (at least in North America!); now we protect six feet of their personal space.
The ill-effects of remaining hunkered down are surfacing in various ways never seen. One need not be a psychiatrist or sociologist to understand the statistical and anecdotal evidence now emerging. The health benefits of feeding our social nature as humans is proving irrefutable. The need to see people, connect with people, and meet new people is real, universal, and very, very healthy. And here is the great news: we are not faced with an either / or. It is not one or the other! Getting out, stretching our legs, seeing new places and meeting new people – in a word, traveling – is not simply something we do despite our health. We do it in support of our health.
Travelers are traveling today in ways that are responsible, safe, and very healthy. Airlines have been serving people for many months with precautions that make flying no less safe than any other part of our daily life. Hotels and resorts throughout the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean have in place protocols that are undeniably rigorous and effective. Hawaii has been open for a month with great success. Even places farther afield like the Maldives, Tahiti, and the Seychelles have been welcoming people safely for many months. The health benefits are enormous.
We are emerging back into the world in a way that is not only safe, but healthy. The next time we are asked, “Is it safe to travel?”, our response might be, “Is it safe not to travel?”