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Dreaming of travel, but grounded by covid

Hannah Cochrane/YJI

Macclesfield, UK – Before the outbreak of covid-19 – and depending on your passport and bank account – you could go anywhere in the world.

But the coronavirus pandemic has affected all of us. No matter where we live, no matter what our job is, no matter who we are – all of us have faced lockdown.

There are many questions speculating about what the ‘new normal’ might be, and one of these questions is surrounding travel.

The last time I went abroad was in February of 2019, well before coronavirus was even around.

I went to Nice in the South of France on a languages trip with my school. The weather was gorgeous – glorious blue skies and sunshine all week long. Little did I know that this one-week trip would be the last that I would take abroad for a long while.

I have no idea when I will be traveling abroad again, though I am certain that it won’t be until the end of this year.

Hannah Cochrane/YJI

Post-lockdown will be an entirely new world, with the prospect of our social habits being drastically altered, and new measures put in place for what used to be simple things, such as going to a restaurant or hopping on the bus to travel across town.

Travel is one of the main things that will be adapted and tailored to the ‘new normal.’

And travel itself will be one of the last areas of life to return to normalcy, what with the need for other countries to reopen their borders to tourists, airlines to relaunch flights, and needing the Foreign Office to lift its absolute warning against all non-essential overseas travel.

With non-essential travel still being warned against, and with many airports still closed, it is unlikely that many of us will be able to travel abroad for a summer holiday.

After travelling abroad, upon arriving back in the UK, people who have been abroad will be expected to self-quarantine for 14 days, to ensure that they haven’t contracted coronavirus, to avoid spreading it.

Ever since the outbreak of coronavirus, the UK government has worked on getting Britons stuck abroad back home to the UK – and these have been a few of the flights that have been allowed to take place.

On the other hand, the extreme decrease in travel has let the natural world flourish. With carbon emissions cut down, natural life has been allowed to catch a break. Air quality improved in some places.

We can’t go on forever without international travel, that is undeniable. One reason is that many communities depend on tourism, and without it, some local and regional economies can really be hurt.

One thing is certain: travel will change. It is extremely uncertain, however, when we will be able to make non-essential trips abroad. It seems blatantly obvious that travel won’t return to normal for a long while.

Hannah Cochrane is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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