What if we are unable to travel for the next decade?

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In light of Covid-19, it feels like people are holding on to the pipe-dream it will all be over in 2021. Given how optimistic the press is surrounding vaccine trials, there is no reason to think otherwise. The consequence is that with hope, people are just “holding themselves over” until the good news. The statistician in me, however, can’t help but to think this as folly. The likely outcome is that the vaccines will require two or three years to perfect, with a further three or four years to fully distribute worldwide. That is probably an ideal case. Playing devil’s advocate, normality with respect to travel will be a decade away. If this happened to be the accepted narrative, how would our behaviours change?

I imagine that part of the motivation to work is to be able to travel. After providing for oneself and for family, a big part of working is so that life can be enjoyed. Travelling was and is the primary outlet for this, but with that now being effectively taken away, I imagine the need to work relaxes a little bit. There is still domestic tourism, but holidays domestically are cents to the dollar to international holidays. I imagine those that can, will take a step back from work, and opt for more free time. While the allure of new things is always there, I don’t think it be as big a factor as the opportunity to travel. The former is short-lived while the latter is much more heavily romanticised.

I think, perhaps naïvely, that people will be much happier. Having the decision of whether or not to travel or move abroad taken away from you makes life pretty simple. The potential anxiety or stress of weighing up things like that is simply cast away, and I imagine people would be grateful for it. I definitely am. Covid-19 struck at a crossroads for me, and if anything, it is extending the runway for me to decide what I want to do next. The pressure to find a job either here or abroad has vanished on account of the how poor the economy is, and it is become in my best interest to enjoy this time as much as one can.

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