I bet you’ve caught yourself day dreaming about sitting on a beach with a cocktail in hand or reaching the top of a trail that reveals the most breath-taking view of nature’s masterpiece.  You soon snap out of it and realize that you’re still in the reality of being in lockdown with your kids screaming, the dogs begging to go outside, and your partner napping on the couch.

Maybe you had to cancel a vacation or you returned home from one sooner than you planned before COVID-19 hit or maybe you had travel goals in mind for the year that went down the drain.

Regardless of when you were going to travel or where you were going to, it’s the ‘why’ that I want to talk about. I recently heard a quote from Caroline Strachan, Managing Partner with Festive Road, where she said “they say you don’t truly know the value of something until it’s no longer there. Well, the ability to travel is currently gone. So now is the time to assess its true value”.

As humans, we are innate travelers. Travel has always been a key piece to our life and wellbeing.  Over the years, travel was molded into something that was desired by many but valued subconsciously. When you think about why the majority of people traveled, it was to have a quick get-away, to have an escape from our daily life, for work purposes, or to distract ourselves from our internal problems and stresses without acknowledgment.  Travel then took shape into something that people were “inspired” to do by influencers posing in lavish dresses in an unrealistic travel scene or because our friends were going on luxurious get-aways that we needed to have as well.  People were so quick to avoid any planning responsibilities or to hand over complete control of our experiences to someone else.  This limited our potential for wellbeing and personal benefits and added upon the idea that travel is too complex and expensive.

What happened to identifying our true desire for travel? Travel was something that was very available, easy, and accessible before, making it underappreciated and undervalued.  Now thanks to this pandemic, travel is unavailable to us all.  You miss it, don’t you?

Take a minute to think about what is causing you to daydream about your next adventure or vacation.  I bet it has a much deeper purpose than “keeping up with the joneses” on Instagram or because your friend Sally-Sue showed off her fancy weekend get-away. 

There is almost always a much deeper reason for our travels but we often failed to recognize or acknowledge it.  We traveled to heal from a traumatic life event, a death of a loved one, a terrible breakup, a divorce, or to heal our mind, body, and soul in some way.  We traveled to strengthen  our marriage or relationships, to deepen our bond with our children or friends, to soul search and find ourselves, to spend time alone to self-reflect, to feel challenged and independent, to find answers to unformed life questions, to learn new skills, to learn what we want out of life or who we want to be as people, to meet new and interesting people, to have human connection, to engage in other ways of life and cultures, to create life-long memories, to see and do things that change who we are and how we think, to deepen our compassion, empathy, character, and perspectives, or a million other reasons why we truly travel.

You can relate to one or many of those can’t you? What did you do about it at the time? Did you ignore where this desire to travel was stemming from and wound up missing huge opportunities to find answers, heal, transform your mind or body, make necessary changes in your life upon return, or use what you experienced and learned during your trip to better your personal and work-life or your overall wellbeing? You’re not alone.

The reason why we are daydreaming right now about traveling, despite still having reasonable fears and uncertainties about traveling when it’s deemed okay again, is because travel fuels us.  It feeds our soul.  It nourishes our minds and bodies.  It gives us life. Our desire for travel is resilient.

There have been decades of research proving the mental health, physical health, and overall wellbeing benefits that travel provides.  We all have experienced some sort of benefit from travel in our lives.  I guarantee that benefit, whatever it was, greatly influenced your next trip, and the next, and your future travel plans. 

Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Trade Marketing for Carnival Cruises, Adolfo M. Perez said in a recent article talking to travel advisors, “after being pent up at home for months, it is my belief that your clients will return to you with a new appetite for family travel, longer vacations, and a desire to experience new destinations”. People will want more indepth and meaningful experiences from travel advisors and travel coaches.

The new face of travel involves recognizing, identifying and transforming.  When travel is safe and responsible to resume, it’s important that we shift our traveler mindset and travel with purpose and intention.  With many people finding themselves in an internal battle with their mental health or forced to sit and think about our direction in life and our true happiness and goals, travel is essential for our path moving forward when this pandemic unfolds and the new normal for life carries on.

As a travel coach, it is my passion to inspire people to use travel as a tool for improving their wellbeing and helping them thrive in life and business.  Travel is meaningful, make it intentional. 

Recognize what is driving you to want to get away.   Where are your stresses, worries, obstacles, or struggles stemming from? When you can recognize the source, or sources, for your current mindset and state of being, you can better decide on the experiences that you need to have to improve, cope, change, or manage them. 

Now, identify what your ideal lifestyle or outcomes look like upon returning.  Most people are not nomads who travel for months at a time.  Therefore, it is important to use the time that you do have traveling to help you shape the life that you desire and the mind and soul that makes you happy.  Ask yourself what needs to happen on your trip to obtain that lifestyle or frame of mind.  Do you need to work on having a stronger relationship with a partner or a loved one? Do you want clarity on your purpose and passions in life and which path to pursue? Do you want to feel well-rested, rejuvenated, inspired, and mentally free? How do you want to feel? What does your ideal life look like?

Lastly, use those experiences, learned skills, memories, relationships, ideas, or whichever else you gained from your trip to transform you in some way, whether that is mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, professionally, in your home-life, personal life, or work-life.  In order to have transformative experiences you must first recognize and identify before you can successful transform. 

With the absence of travel due to the COVID-19 crisis, we all miss it for different reasons.  Along with the old way of how we saw or undervalued traveling, leave that in the dust as we prepare and get inspired for our new way of how and why we travel.  What does travel really mean to you? What value does it hold in your life?  Let’s reintroduce our innate reasons for travel as we repurpose the travel industry.