Travel And Its Benefits. Hello everyone, I hope you are well. In today’s post, I will be sharing a guest post from Mark Bibby Jackson, founder and group editor of websites Travel Begins at 40 and London Begins at 40. Mark will be sharing travel and its benefits with us, including the health benefits, giving you a fresh perspective and a strong positive impact on local communities.
Travel And Its Benefits
The thing I missed most during lockdown was travelling. I am sure that I am not alone in feeling this way. The rush for people to book holidays abroad as soon as rules allowed and the explosion in staycations demonstrate just how important a role going on holiday plays in our well-being.
Regardless of how long the break is or how far you travel. Simply getting away from your daily routine (especially work) allows us to slow down a bit. Suddenly all those concerns that have been bugging us over the past months seem pretty inconsequential as we recharge our perspective as well as our batteries.
Travelling Gives You a Fresh Perspective
I count myself fortunate to have travelled so much. My first major trip—to Asia and beyond—was in 1994. Travelling has changed my life and given me a fresh perspective.
Now, while I don’t necessarily advocate you give up your job to go off travelling and even live in another country (as I did), I recommend you start travelling again when rules allow.
Southeast Asia is a region I know well, having lived there for the best part of a decade, developing many good friends along the way. It has changed how I view life and given me a greater perspective on how people live worldwide. I genuinely believe that if more people travelled further, many of the world’s problems would disappear as we better understand other communities and realise how much we share.
Naturally, there is travelling and travelling. On my only trip to Cuba at the end of the 1990s, I went on a package trip with a group of fellow travellers from the UK. They stayed in the not-so-luxury resort while my partner and I explored both the capital Havana and other parts of the country. When we met up back at our hotel at the end of the week, the other passengers complained about the service, the beach, the food, etc., while we talked about our fantastic experiences.
Travel Is Vital for Local Communities
The closer you get to your host community and the more time you spend with them, the more you will gain from your Travel. I am a strong advocate of slow travel. The benefits of immersing yourself in your host community’s culture and food are enormous. By going on a whistle-stop tour of a country or region, or even worse, never leaving your luxury all-inclusive resort, you are denying yourself great opportunities to enrich your experience. It is a bit like going on a cruise and never leaving the ship.
And it is not just you who will benefit from your Travel.
While the latter half of the last decade saw many people complain about the effects of over-tourism and point out the natural environmental consequences of Travel and its contribution to climate change. Covid has shown us how the absence of Travel can have catastrophic impacts on both economies and communities.
When a friend of mine posted on LinkedIn to mark the 500th day of travel restrictions in Cambodia, I stopped to think about that for a moment. That is 500 days cut off from your market. Another friend who runs an ethical travel company in Southeast Asia informed me that they fully expect to go two years without income when travel restrictions are fully lifted.
These are not major tour operators and international hotel chains. They are relatively small-scale entrepreneurs who employ many local staff who, in turn, feed their families. The economic consequences of Covid will be around for many years to come. I recently received a post on Facebook from a tuk-tuk driver I use in Cambodia who complained about his lack of income due to the absence of tourism. It simply said, “What can I do?”
Travel Back Better
At the moment, travel rules are still … flexible. Would you please check how safe it is to visit the destination you have in mind? Cambodia, for instance, has the second most advanced vaccination programme in Southeast Asia, after Singapore. The adult population in the capital of Phnom Penh is now fully vaccinated. More than 70% of the adult population nationwide have had their first jab, and nearly 50% have had the second jab.
When it is safe to travel, I urge you to consider doing so in a better way than before Covid.
Various surveys have indicated people want their Travel to be more sustainable and to have a more significant benefit for the local community. However, there is little alternative to flying to long haul destinations. We can at least offset our carbon footprint through schemes such as Trees4Travel, which invests travellers’ money in reforestation and conservation projects.
We can also ensure that our Travel has a more significant benefit for our host community through choosing ethical travel companies, such as Intrepid or Khiri, that have sustainability wired into the DNA of their business models.
By slowing down our Travel and spending more time with communities, we will benefit from a far more enriching experience, and the local communities will benefit from us. Don’t be like my fellow travellers to Cuba two decades ago and limit your travel experience. Instead, go out and explore. You never know. It might change your perception of life.
I hope you enjoyed that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Bibby Jackson is passionate about Traveling and sharing the joys of visiting new places and people. He is the founder and group editor of websites Travel Begins at 40 and London Begins at 40, as well as the award-winning author of three thrillers set in Cambodia. He is the former editor of AsiaLIFE Cambodia, ASEAN Forum and Horizon Thailand magazines.
Facebook / Instagram: @TravelBeginsat40
Interesting article. I live in SEA, it’s very easy to see that people are suffering from the lack of tourists. Hopefully, recovery will happen soon and all that cash that has been saved over the last couple of years can bring forth great experiences for folks!