April 30, 2020 | Outpost Co-founder David Abraham
It’s now Theseday, Februember 34th. The pressure of uncertainty melts days together to an unrecognizable “Groundhog Day.” Some are using this forced time to develop a skill. Do that if you have the need to or the luxury to put aside everything. But few learn well under uncertainty, especially with organizations or families to head. Instead, I’m focused on building two traits: compassion and empathy.
As someone with the privilege to travel, I’m experiencing the unsettling feeling of being overwhelmed by circumstances beyond my control. Indeed, my lockdown is cushy. I’m not short of food. I have Singapore’s Grabfood.
I’m reminded that modern nomadism is a gift; and this lockdown, a reflection point: a reminder to show more compassion and empathy for billions in far more dire personal and communal situations. Many with as much control over their fate as they had with their birth.
At a moment of crisis without a sense of time, we’ve recoiled. We’ve become inward-focused, isolated in isolation. Paradoxically, our hunger for connection is stronger than ever. We must remember our values – exploration, growth and connection – endure without travel. Nomadism is a cultural mindset, not an itinerary.
These times will challenge an itinerant lifestyle. But as global contours evolve in this crisis and work continues to become divorced from locations, nomadism can fill a unique role: a source of unity, resolve and purpose. And we want to inform that narrative.
What To Expect
Swab tests are the new metal detectors. Expect more than 9/11-type changes to transport and new fees from airlines and airports.
Travel clothes. Changes in airline apparel wont be limited to staff, expect an evolution for passenger fashion and gadgetry.
Weather reports. More than temp and air quality, expect health advisories.
Lexicon. Terms like R0 will become as commonly spoken as ‘meme.’
Local travel. Domestic travel makes a comeback. Think upstate NY, the Midlands or Canberra (Ok, maybe not Canberra).
Community. Paradoxically, expect connections to be centered around physical spaces as people crave face-to-face connections even at a social distance, and with smaller crowds.
What I'm Observing
Singapore. Despite massive headline number growth in Covid19 cases in Singapore stemming from those living in dorms, the impacts appear less severe in intensity than in the USA. (Death rate: Singapore: .09% USA: 5.7%) Why are case counts taking off in Singapore dorms, but not dorms in Bangladesh or India? How does this result affect hostel travel?
Beyond biological influences. Indeed weather, obesity, other health factors, and immunizations play a critical role in Covid19’s spread. But cultural factors like proclivity toward physical contact, isolation and time spent indoors may tell us more about what travel will look like in the next year.
- Instability. Food riots in Lebanon and Nigeria only five weeks into the crisis is worrisome. The longer the crisis continues, weak governments and those reliant on oil revenue and imported food face existential threats. Changes in government are set to shutter some nomad hotspots, or conversely open others up.
Co-founder at Outpost
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