I work in travel, but I see a silver lining to coronavirus.

“The beauty and the tragedy of the modern world is that it eliminates many situations that require people to demonstrate a commitment to the collective good.” ― Sebastian Junger, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

My heart is torn. 

First, I’m absolutely heartbroken for travel as a whole – travelers, local guides, companies like my employer Indagare Travel, hotels, airlines, everyone who shares their culture and helps others broaden their perspectives. For anyone who knows me, they know that travel is not just a hobby or job; it’s core to my identity. And to lose what I value the most in life -my freedom- shakes me. Who am I without travel? How does this new normal for now redefine me? 

On the other hand, I wonder if this quarantine is exactly what the world needed to come together, united as one under this shared experience. I’ve worked more closely with my colleagues now than I ever have. I am more in touch with my friends through virtual happy hours and group texts sharing the latest coronavirus news and memes. When I climbed Kilimanjaro last year, it profoundly changed me because for the first time in as long as I can remember, I experienced seven full days without distraction. Seven days to be with myself. And perhaps this social distancing forces us to take stock of what really matters in life – to slow down, to stop watching our lives pass us by, and to fully connect with our friends and family without all the noise. It might not be freedom, but it is a liberating feeling to not know where we’ll all be in a few months. We are all facing the unknown and uncertainty. We are all in it together. 

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