The Top 6 Things We Miss About Travelling
23 Sep 2020

Amanda Chan, Guest Contributor

A year has passed since countries around the world first closed its borders to short-term leisure travellers to keep Covid-19 at bay.

Gone are the days we took multiple trips a year in a futile attempt to quench our insatiable wanderlust. Having stayed in the same country for the last 12 months, we are so deprived of a holiday that even the misery of sitting through a flight with a crying baby in the cabin is worth putting up with, if it meant we could travel again. As the artificially-imposed travel-drought continues, we look back at 6 things that we enjoyed (and now miss) the most about travelling.

“Sorry, I can’t come to the phone right now. I’m too busy hanging off a tree.”

Image credits: Crown & Champa Resorts, Maldives

1. Going off the grid and disconnecting from real life

Covid-19 has single-handedly driven the exponential adoption of video conferencing tools, and face-to-face meetings almost feel like something of a distant past. We can now jump on a call from anywhere with an internet connection without the physical constraints of a meeting venue. As a result, the line that separated work and life is but a blur.

This blurring of lines has driven so much nostalgia and desire to travel overseas, where we can finally have a legitimate reason to not jump on a call at a moment’s notice. Going off the grid for a nice, long digital cleanse right now sounds like paradise!

“Remember that time we nearly drowned in a herd of sheep?”

Image credits: James White

2. Creating new memories with friends and loved ones

Be it a short weekend getaway to the pristine beaches of Phuket or a month-long tour of the many countries that make up Europe, travelling in the company of friends and loved ones is the best way to create memories that you will remember for a lifetime. Planning for trips when your travel partners have different preferences could sometimes drive you to the edge of sanity, but it all becomes worth it when everyone has the time of their lives on the trip you planned.

Even more so when something unexpected happens! It could be a last-minute change in itinerary because of a flight delay, or an unexpected roadblock because a flock of sheep is taking its time to cross the road you are on; the best travel stories are often about events that didn’t quite go according to plan. The feeling of spontaneity and possibilities that travelling evokes makes it is the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth – it makes us feel young and free again.

“One of everything, please!”

Image credits: Tripoto

3. Basking in the culture of a foreign land

Ah, how we miss the blinding neon signs on the streets of Mongkok (Hong Kong), the satisfaction of haggling for the best possible deal in Chatuchak (Bangkok), the smells of spices at Khari Baoli (Delhi), and the caffeine-induced high after a day of café-hopping in Melbourne! There is nothing quite as exciting as the first encounter you have with a new culture and way of living, where every turn you take could lead to a new adventure, and every person you meet a fleeting yet captivating moment.

More importantly, travelling opens our Khari Baoli hearts and minds to the many cultures and ways of living in different parts of the world, which helps to foster a deeper understanding of the similarities we share as co-habitants of Planet Earth, even if the differences we have seemed more apparent at first glance.

“One of everything, please!”

Image credits: Daegu Chimac Festival

4. Authentic local food

No list of the things we miss about travelling is complete without mention of food.

Food is oftentimes the most effective and enjoyable way of experiencing a country’s culture and history. While there may be similarities between countries where there were shared history, differences have still formed that makes each country (and even regions in the same country) distinct and unique to their respective lived histories. The perennial battle between Malaysia and Singapore on whose chicken rice / char kway teow / laksa is better is one such example.

Sure, globalization has made many popular cuisines readily available in most modern cities, but nothing beats the freshness and affordability of the omakase experiences in Tokyo, the sweetness of mango stick rice from Mae-vareei n Bangkok, and the fun of the authentic Chimaek experience in Seoul.

“Finally! I’m back on a plane!”

Image credits: Singapore Airlines

5. Both the good and the not-so-good flying experiences

Do you remember a time when we, plebeians in the Economy class, got excited about sitting in a row with an unoccupied middle seat? With social distancing measures likely to be in place for the foreseeable future, sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with a stranger might be one thing we won’t get to fret over in the years to come.

Not forgetting the sound of air stewards and stewardesses coming down the aisle and hearing them ask“chicken or beef?” for the n-th time while we excitedly wait for our turn. Singaporeans, in particular, must really miss this experience so much, considering tickets to Singapore Airline’s A380 restaurant was sold out in just 30 minutes!

“Where’re we going next?”

Image credits: CAG

6. The feeling of coming home… and pining for the next vacation!

As a Singaporean, landing in the World’s Best Airport after a well-deserved break is always a bittersweet moment– it is good to be home, but the humidity and heat of our dear island nation is certainly not something we missed.

Of course, by the time we breeze through immigration (and secretly marvel at how quick the entire process is), most of us would have started scouring the web for the best travel deals for our next trip. We aren’t the most vacation deprived country in the world for nothing!

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of any agency, organization, employer, or company.