Greetings from Connemara, Ireland!
Last week we kicked off the first part of our Trip Inspiration 2024 Questionnaire, so we can get the pulse of the community and put together the kinds of experiences we want to do together.
Thanks ever so much for sharing your thoughts! Part II is on potential destinations for future LiveAways and is in my blog below (or you can access the questionnaire directly here).
Before we get to that however, I wanted to share some of the perspectives from the community on the first question from Part I, on how the pandemic has changed (or not) feelings toward travel within our community.
While there were of course views across the entire spectrum, a few sentiments came up again and again - as one might expect from a community of likeminded travellers 😉
1. Many have gained an awareness of what was lost, and what that means.
Many of you noted the loss of two years of the opportunity to travel, and how significant this was. Plans disrupted, dreams postponed...we've all got limited time in this dimension, and time is one thing we can't purchase more of.
This is not to say there was a lot of moaning going on - rather it was a renewed perspective of the value of travel, informed by what was lost.
"I lost two years of travel due to the pandemic which I can never get back. I don't plan on waiting to start travel again. Since air travel has become more difficult, I will travel to regions and stay longer."
"The pandemic has made me realize to go out there and see the world life’s too short. I’m more interested in seeing how people in different countries live rather than just the touristy locations."
"The pandemic has been a reminder that life is short - go now and see what I want, do what I want, and stay as long as I want, while I can."
I agree with what's been expressed here - looking for the good in any situation to me is a key part of a healthy and happy life! It's much better to focus on what we've all gained - a re-focus on what really matters.
2. Destinations matter
A second sentiment that was widely shared - every trip matters, and a feeling that the stakes are higher than before:
"Less inclined to want to travel because of the crowds at the airports. More inclined to want to travel to less touristed places."
"I consider my destinations more carefully. I want to avoid big crowds of people. I do like to explore new locales but will be more selective in my choices of travel type and experiences. Safety is very important, but learning and enjoying are important too."
"Having lost almost 2 1/2 years of travel and not getting any younger, I feel pressure to do more travel in the following years than I did before. I have always tried to give the more difficult trips priority, presuming that a time will come when I can no longer do these trips. However, this approach does not preclude doing easier trips if they come along."
I think the feeling of pressure some feel comes from a recognition that our purpose in travelling is not just to explore, but also to enjoy ourselves, and with years gone and costs increasing, the ante has been raised for every trip.
The key is to not allow that pressure to be the focus, but rather what it directs our attention to - more conscious choices of our trips, and more present-ism when we are travelling!
3. A heightened awareness of risk mitigation and a cautiousness toward crowds.
Having been all over Europe really since the fall last year, there is a wide variance in how different societies feel toward masks and other measures, and I think it's fair to consider this in making your travel choices
"As long as there are effective ways to mitigate the risk (such as proven vaccinations as we have now against Covid), we remain interested and willing to travel. I expect we will focus our travel toward countries with a more available and reasonably up-to-date medical medical system, which unfortunately means perhaps less travel to third world countries."
"We have started to travel again, but are careful, cautious and keep aware of the uptick of the pandemic."
"Yes, I look at Covid stats and how Countries managed through the pandemic. I pick destinations that appeared to be responsible and had good protocols in place."
All very wise in the grand scheme of things, and it definitely plays a role in which trips we put together, as much as is possible planning something a year or more away. The weakening strains are encouraging and I hope that trend continues.
On our end here at Wheel & Anchor, we will remain vigilant of the situation in our chosen destinations, and we will continue to keep in place our vaccine requirement for travel with us for the time being.
4. Generally a 'no' to cruising and a 'yes' to smaller groups
Perhaps unsurprisingly given point #3 here, many members of our community are now out, are further out, or remain fully out, on the idea of cruising:
"I am less interested in crowded situations. Small groups in the off season appeal to me. I have never been a huge cruise fan but I would assess any cruises stringently."
"I would definitely be more cautious and vigilant and I would not go on a cruise."
"We’re reluctant to go on any cruises until this pandemic is almost eradicated — too many people in a confined space."
If you've been with us for a while, you may have been privy to one of my rants about cruising. I'll spare you how I really feel, but let's just say what you gain in convenience, you lose in flexibility and time spent in the most interesting places, to say nothing of the chance to dine at local restaurants vs endless buffets.
This is true of the lovely Scandinavian capitals, the Greek islands, and places like the Amalfi Coast (newly launched below!), among others - a few hours off a boat or coach doesn't even approach a satisfactory experience.
That said - there are exceptions to every rule and there are some great cruising experiences to be had, provided you know where to look, and some places where a cruise is the best experience of the destination.
In these cases, small ships, privately chartered is the ideal - and this is how we will continue to approach cruises here at Wheel & Anchor.
5. And for some, nothing really changed
And of course for some, nothing has really changed in terms of travel - just keen to get back to doing it again!
"Its time to go out and explore the world. I am tired of being locked up."
"Nothing really changed. Looking forward to resuming travel as soon as possible."
"We are continuing to plan on LOTS MORE travel in 2023 and 2024. Already fully booked through February 2023 with international destinations."
Thanks once again for your indulgence, and if you're interested in LiveAways and willing to take a look at our selection of 2024 potential destinations, you can do so here in Part II of our Questionnaire.
This has been a long read, so I'll just quickly note that our Amalfi LiveAway itinerary is below for your perusal should you be so inclined. Sicily Part II: Cefalu is coming next 🙂
Founder, Wheel & Anchor
P.S. If you missed completing Part I of the Questionnaire, I'd still love to hear your thoughts. You can find it here.