Off the beaten track, in the wilderness and a world apart
Katie Fox looks at how lockdown has stirred in her a greater appreciation of England’s natural beauty
The tourism industry, pre corona crisis, accounted for 10% of GDP. In 2018, there were 1.4bn international tourist arrivals (although this does include individuals making multiple trips within the year). In 2020, with travel restrictions and lockdowns in place across the world, it is evident that this number will plummet.
Before my year abroad, solo travelling was a scary prospect. It was daunting thinking about how to make friends, experience different cultural norms and getting by in a foreign place. But thankfully in the end, I came out with a great sense of appreciation and pride for overcoming these challenges, having made some great memories and learnt new skills. I have newfound confidence and independence and was looking forward to a summer of solo travelling and exploration. Of course, this was cut short early by the current Corona crisis.
However, being stuck at home with my family, and losing the majority of my independence has pushed me to take up activities that I would never have done otherwise. Going further into the woodlands just outside my house while dog walking or going for runs has been a saviour for my mental and physical health while the world is on lockdown. Getting out into nature and away from the people I spend 24 hours a day with has given me a deeper appreciation for fresh air and my own company.
It is easy to resent the fact that I am missing the normal routine of my young adult life – meeting up with friends, going to concerts, and escaping on hot summer holidays by the beach. A lot of my friends are looking forward to next summer, making the most of (hopefully by then) the freedom to resume normal summer holiday routines, and I have to admit, I originally was desperate to plan a trip somewhere very far away, to explore somewhere completely new. But after more time in lockdown, I have found myself looking forward to adventuring a bit closer to home.
But after more time in lockdown, I have found myself looking forward to adventuring a bit closer to home.
I have not actually travelled much in England. I live within an hour of beaches that I have never been to, woodlands I haven’t hiked through, and lakes I haven’t dipped my toes into. When travel is accessible to us, I want to spend my time exploring the wonders that England has to offer.
A trip to the lake district, camping with friends and enjoying the scenery, beautiful views and tranquillity. Or maybe some day-trips to my nearest beaches. I want to get to know England and what it has to offer and make the most of my newfound enjoyment for long walks or hikes in the forest, wild swimming in peaceful lakes and running through rolling hills.
Iceland is taking the lead, in efforts to spur domestic travel they are offering a ~€35 domestic travel voucher to all citizens over the age of 18. Designed to be spent within the country, to support local businesses that have suffered during the crisis due to a lack of tourists. Not only would an increase in domestic travel aid the economy, it is also beneficial for the environment. Co2 levels have dropped massively due to fewer people travelling for obvious reasons. Flights usually account for 2 per cent of the world’s global carbon emissions, according to the International Air Transport Association.
Not only would an increase in domestic travel aid the economy, it is also beneficial for the environment.
It is clear that domestic travel boosts our currently suffering economy and is a bit more environmentally sustainable than jetting off to Bali. So, when this is all over, you will be able to find me exploring the Lake District or braving the cool waters of West Wittering.