As COVID-19 disrupts lives and shatters norms, we all are having to make changes to adapt and stay healthy. Lives have been lost, travel plans shattered, and for many of us, our sources of income have been disrupted. I’m fortunate as my day job still exists, though my husband’s does not, so our income is reduced. I am able to keep blogging and working on some side projects, despite disruptions to others. I have shelter, food, and clean water. Fundamentally, I cannot complain, though I fear for friends and family in areas where leadership is behaving in ways that indicate their primary concern is the economy and not public health.
We exist now in isolated bubbles, connected only by the internet. It is the opposite the sort of adventurous wandering that inspires this blog and I can’t help but wonder how everyone is doing and how you are all coping. Not just physically, though of course I hope you all can shelter safely, but psychologically and emotionally as we all struggle through isolation and uncertainty.
I am a travel writer because I love travel and aspire to visit everywhere I can, but I am not a travel writer because I frequently travel. My goals of changing that have been disrupted, but any petty inconveniences I am experiencing are superseded by both my anxiety and concern for the present and my hope for the opportunities presented by the future.
As we witness the changes to our world from our computers and televisions, take note that we are presented with an extraordinary opportunity to reshape a new normal. To demand a better life for ourselves, our children, and ultimately for our species. It should be abundantly clear at this moment that societal values that overweight the contributions of the extraordinarily wealthy are both incorrect and damaging. Society is built upon the backs of our essential workers, who are now sacrificing their own safety and well-being to provide us services we have long undervalued. Our air is cleaner, our streets quieter, the birdsong more vibrant, and many of us had some much-needed time to reflect. Life has been reset and while the circumstances that wrought these changes and wholly undesirable, that does not mean that we should not seize upon the positive aspects of our current condition and recognize that opportunity exists in the face of crisis and despair.
Established power does not readily yield and societal change can be unnervingly and frustratingly glacial. Yet, some change cannot wait. Our climate issues truly must be addressed immediately, and such a problem requires planetary collaboration to resolve, not isolationist nationalist policies currently favored by certain governments. If we are to continue to live the lives of adventure and travel we all desire, we are not immune from these concerns and must acknowledge the innovation needed to reduce our own personal contributions to the problem.
I do not personally have a way to influence decision makers on my own. A single fist shaking into the void changes nothing, but economies don’t restart without us. The veil has been lifted and we should recognize our importance even if those who rely upon us do not. Are you willing to put your safety on the line without having your demands met? I’m not. It’s time we collectively recognize our own value and treat ourselves to the self-worth we deserve. We matter and in our collective action there is hope. Let us all shake our fists at those who would have our return to normalcy be one of servitude that devalues our lives. Clog their phone lines, their inboxes, and their snail mailboxes. We have the time to time, so let’s use it to create a future that works for all of us.