“Wanderlust” Becomes “Wanderfear”: Will You Be Afraid to Travel?

“I don’t know why you worry so much, by June everything will go back to normal. Okay, maybe July. Well, people lost their jobs during lock-downs, so they will not have money to travel in August, but don’t worry, by September everything will be as it was last year. October, my last verdict.”

Sounds familiar? Maybe I exaggerated a little bit but this is more or less how I would summarize any prediction of “travel experts” about the recovery of travel industry if and after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. At this point, with so many uncertainties, it’s quite possible that even a daily horoscope could have some lucky guesses.

Welcome to Monday Report – every Monday, this spring, we discuss one of the topics related to the current crisis of the travel industry. For the moment, all guided tours are cancelled, but Rilak’s Zagreb Guide is continuing online. Stay safe, stay healthy and check our April 2020 online sections!

mona lisa with face mask
Photo by cottonbro

I guess, mathematically, when all of this is over and you have the exact numbers, you could even calculate the time the travel industry needs to recover and when we could have the same numbers of travelers like we had for example in December 2019. You just take the average number of travelers in December 2019, their average wages, calculate how many people lost their wages now, how much time they will need to recover, maybe compare it with the economic crisis of 2008-09, see the rates of recovery back then, etc., etc. I’m not a mathematician, but I am sure that there are many ways to believably calculate the outcome. Unfortunately, I’m not sure you can mathematically calculate one factor: human psychology.

woman wearing face mask on mountain
Photo by Anna Shvets

In the last ten years, we have seen a significant rise in the number of travelers. Everybody had wanderlust: a strong desire to travel and explore the world. What will happen now, even when the pandemic is over? Imagine for a second a scenario where people have all the money in the world, they can book any plane, cruise ship, hotel, trip – will people still want to travel after this worldwide health crisis? Will people avoid traveling because they’re afraid? Instead of pursuing their “wanderlust” dreams to explore the world, will people have “wanderfears” and avoid the world around them as much as possible.

white ceramic sculpture with black face mask
Photo by cottonbro

There are currently so many opinions about this question. Out of many, I chose one very recent, that summarizes how people might think about their “desires to travel”. It comes from an Australian site, Travel Monitor:

Remember … we’re only mere weeks into living like this. What will the psychology look like after three months, six months, longer? When we spend every waking moment in a small nuclear family situation, we become used to that set-up. Early days hurdles soon give way to familiar routines. The longer we self-isolate, the longer we are accustomed to social distancing, the easier it is to become fearful and suspicious of anyone outside our small tribe. When, and if, we are granted a passport to a small order of social freedom, will we embrace it? Perhaps for a split second, and then will we retreat back into the safety of our ‘known’ tribe?

The original article “The Plain Truth – Why International Travel Won’t Resurrect Any Time Soon”, was written by Christine Kane. This is just a small part, the article continues in further detail about the situation in Australia. You can check it here!

This both confirms and denies my previous thoughts expressed here in Monday Report, that when all of this is over, people will “want” to travel. Yes, people will still want to travel, but they will probably limit their “wanderlust” – desire to explore the world to “local-lust“, desire to explore things that are closer to them. In case of any danger, they can quickly arrive home.

But, again, given so many unknowns about the virus right now, who knows what the future is for travel industry. With so many possible predictions, reading a horoscope seems a good idea as any other…

Many of my regular readers are also regular travelers. Try to answer honestly – if a cure is found tomorrow and everything returns to normal – will you continue with your travels around the world as planned? Will you change your travel habits?

For the moment, all guided tours are cancelled, but Rilak’s Zagreb Guide is continuing online. Stay safe, stay healthy and check our April 2020 online sections!


kravata zagreb

5 thoughts on ““Wanderlust” Becomes “Wanderfear”: Will You Be Afraid to Travel?

  1. I think once a vaccine is found, it will be like the flu, and seem like an acceptable risk. I know that I, for one, am looking forward to being able to travel internationally again.

    Liked by 2 people

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