Next stop, everywhere

Renowned industry experts weigh in on the million dollar (travel) question: where to next…

“Hearts are wild creatures, that’s why our ribs are cages.” (Elalusz)

I’ve always loved this quote and somehow it feels all the more relatable in 2020, the year our freedom was compromised, our loved ones were kept at a distance, and we were confined to the walls of our own homes. Caged hearts and caged souls.

But not for long. The pause button will soon be released and a whole new (and hopefully far more appreciated) world will once again open up to us and we’ll be free to explore, learn, love and rediscover what is important to us.

As a travel writer and happiest-when-I’m-travelling suitcase gypsy (currently lamenting my 122nd day indoors I might add), I decided to reach out to some of my fellow travel-addicted and wildlife-loving friends. Likeminded free spirits, I wanted to know how lockdown has affected them and what sort of travel state of mind they are in:

Where do you plan to travel first, once global travel resumes?

What have you missed the most during lockdown?

Two simple questions. Twelve very different answers. Yet one glaringly obvious underlying theme: we all miss the freedom, spontaneity and connection of travel. As our ‘cages’ safely open, may we all appreciate and value the gift of travel once it resumes. Bon (almost) voyage!

Brooke Saward
Travel Writer
@worldwanderlust

“I will first travel to New York as I had a trip there booked in April that was cancelled because of COVID-19. My flight has been credited, so I have an outstanding ticket.”

“I’ve mostly missed the sense of discovery that comes with travel. Finding new places, meeting new people, diving into a bowl of pasta in Italy. Now that I think of it, I’ve just missed leaving the house!”

Lauren Ho
Travel Editor at Wallpaper* | Freelance Travel Writer
@laurenhotravels

“I was supposed to spend a month in the Maldives in March, just as the UK lockdown happened, so I am really hoping to pick up on that trip again as soon as possible. If that can’t happen, then I am desperate to get back to South Africa (to see my family) and Africa in general. Maybe in spring, as I am really not a fan of South African winters.”

“My freedom!”

Shannon Wild
Wildlife Filmmaker
@shannon__wild

“For me it’s likely to be the US to resume my National Geographic speaking tour in January. Then I’m headed to Spain and Canada, both firsts for me, so I’m really excited about that.”

“I’ve been so fortunate to be in lockdown at home in a wildlife estate, which means wild animals roam freely in the bush around me, so I wake up to giraffe and zebra outside my bedroom. It’s been a forced slow-down for me, which was much needed as I’m still managing health challenges. But it’s allowed me to focus on building my jewellery brand, Wild In Africa.”

Russell MacLaughlin
Wildlife Filmmaker
@russ_wildlife

“My first travel destination will hands down be anywhere where I can go diving and be close to the sea. I have had this craving to get back out to Mozambique lately, even though it’s close by, I really want to get back out there. There is just something about it — tropical, yet it’s still part of Africa.”

“What I’ve missed most during the lockdown — without a doubt — is being on the road. I love long drives to new places and living in South Africa is the perfect spot for that, whether it’s visiting friends in Botswana and Zimbabwe, or road-tripping though Namibia.”

The Bucket List Family
Family Travel Journalists
@thebucketlistfamily

“Our two answers are the same. We miss our family and friends so much!! At the top of our travel list is anywhere we can go together with family and friends. That’s one of our favourite benefits of travel, not just the adventure and exploration, but the quality time with people we love!”

Lucia Ferigutti
Luxury Editor | Boat International
@lucia_frg

“It keeps changing, but I have been really longing to go to New York and Rome. And I am also desperate for nature! I have never been to Botswana and that’s at the top of my list.”

“Travelling and being able get anywhere at the drop of a hat. But also going to the theatre or the opera — we are so lucky to have amazing productions in London and lockdown made me realise I never made the most of it. Oh, and hugging people hello. Who knew?”

Jane Broughton
Travel Journalist
@janehbroughton

“Definitely somewhere easily accessible, but remote, like Sossusvlei in Namibia or Benguerra Island off the coast of Mozambique. The drawcards? Isolation, space, privacy and peace.”

“Besides a trip to the Serengeti and not being able to enjoy the best (wind-free) months of the year on our local beach in Cape Town, I have not missed much about so-called normal life — proof that I’m probably more anti-social than I’d care to admit.”

Jared Ruttenberg
Travel Journalist
@jaredincpt

“Definitely to the South African bush! To hear the piercing cries of the grey lourie. To wrap my arms around the ancient baobabs who’ve witnessed millennia of secrets. To scan the crisp evening for the nocturnal scurry of the serval. To sit in the sand with trackers as they discreetly read the dust. With such a proud and varied wildlife heritage waiting to be rediscovered, I simply cannot wait to get back into the bush.”

“I’ve sorely missed the physicality of social connection. As a raging extrovert, being denied the very experience of human presence that makes me come alive, has been unbelievably difficult. There’s only so far that connecting over a screen can take you. Almost three months later, I still catch myself deep in thought — planning the next dinner party or gathering of friends — and then suddenly the penny drops and a tear or two remind me that unfortunately I’ll have to wait a bit longer.”

Shaaz Jung
Wildlife Photographer
@shaazjung

“Once the storm passes, I would love to go back to the East African bush, where I can wake up every morning to the sounds of the first fowls calling. Being indoors makes me miss the rhythm of Africa, where I feel truly unbounded and lifted.”

“I’ve missed my freedom to travel and explore. As a wildlife photographer, I would spend most of the year travelling, in search of the perfect photograph. As we emerge from this pandemic, it’s going to be a lot harder to manoeuvre the world and maybe that will force us to explore our own surroundings more.”

Nicole Isaacs
Content Creator/Influencer
@nicoleisaacs

“I have no travel confirmed as of right now, but for the past few years I’ve always spent my summers in Europe, which I’m really missing right now. I’m dreaming about places like Italy, Croatia and the south of Spain. Honestly, at this point I would be ecstatic to go anywhere in the world, I miss travelling so much! The first opportunity that comes my way and when the time is right, I’ll be on the first plane out.”

“I miss hanging freely with my family and loved ones. Sometimes you take for granted the very simple things like having an intimate dinner with family or close friends. We now live in a world where we have to think about our every move and who we can spend time with because we don’t want to put ourselves or others at risk. Crazy times! I also really miss travelling and exploring. It’s such a huge part of who I am, and I’m not good at being still for too long. I am my best self when I’m experiencing new things in a new surrounding, and my soul definitely misses that. I’m so grateful to have my health and my home, but I hope things get back to normal sooner or later so I can be Dora the Explorer again.”

Chris & Debra Fox
Owners & Founders | Fox Browne Creative
@foxbrowne_creative

“It’s been totally strange (but also lovely) for us not to be jumping on a plane every five minutes! When it’s possible, we will be off to central London to a building site we have been managing remotely with 3D scanners, video and zoom! And then from there, we’ll be off to the west coast of Ireland to see family, friends and a possible business venture.”

“Besides champagne, which we managed to finish in the first three (!) days of lockdown, we have missed the freedom of being able to travel, move around and meet up with friends. But work-wise, we got organised quickly and have managed to stay connected and productive throughout.”

Lizzie Pook
Freelance Writer & Editor
@lizziepook

“I’m yearning for safari, so it’ll probably be Botswana. I’m desperate to see the Delta in full bloom — elephants wading through the water with raised trunks, wild dogs hunting with military precision. It’s my favourite place to be. If I have the time, I might hire a truck and overland from Namibia, stopping by Sossusvlei and the eerie Skeleton Coast on the way.”

“Undoubtedly it’s been wide, open, unexplored places. Being confined to the house not only stifles the body, but the mind too, and I’ve missed seeing the ocean, hiking through green landscapes and casting my eyes across vast expanses of desert. I miss space! Oh, and pub gardens. I really miss pub gardens.”

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