When the new year of 2020 came about a few months ago, many of us were filled with joy, hope, and optimism. Many of us had life changing plans which we were to act upon this year and perhaps even modify our lives drastically. I was one of those – filled with new plans and dreams for a new year ahead with new possibilities and even more incredible and unique travel experiences. Then the world started to stop. Countries were shut down, travel became restricted, airlines suspended operations, people haven’t left their homes, and worst of all, so many have lost their lives. Not one of us expected that we would be in the situation we are currently in.
Travel is the only thing that could never be taken away from me (or so I thought). It is the thing that keeps me going all day and every day – the thing that makes me joyful to wake up early and go to bed late, it is and has always been my life. There’s just no other way to put it – travel, experiences, trips, cultures, airlines, flying, miles, points, lounges, etc. are my life and there is absolutely nothing else in this world that I desire more. During my time at university, I certainly wasn’t your average student – I’d schedule most of my classes for the middle of the week so I could have extended weekends and on those I’d embark on yet another adventure somewhere incredible. While I truly enjoyed what I studied, I don’t see myself working for a large I.T. corporation and leading the “typical” lifestyle (there’s nothing wrong with that, of course), but the whole “house/car/dog/marriage/kids/’real’ job” scenario just isn’t for me (at least not at this point and not for the next couple of years). I am most excited, energetic, and at my best when I’m on the road – taking in new sights and cultures or revisiting places around the world which have a special place in my heart.
I’ve been travelling almost exclusively nonstop for the past three years ever since graduating university. I’ve split my time into three – Seattle (where I grew up), Poland (where my family is), and the world. You could say I spend a third of my time in each of those places throughout the year. Now what? What does one do when literally over the course of a few weeks you can’t live your normal life that you love so much and would never give up? It certainly hasn’t been easy and the media isn’t making anything look optimistic. I’ve exclusively been in Seattle since the beginning of March and seeing how there’s no end in sight to the current situation, who knows when I’ll be able to see my family in Poland again (considering all of the travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines, and border closures). It hasn’t been easy – from constantly staying indoors to not being able to see my family or friends to the travel industry being put completely on hold – literally my entire life has been taken away from me.
My primary focus over the past few years (besides travelling nonstop) has been BoundlessMiles, my award travel consulting service, where I’ve worked with thousands of incredible clients to allow them experience the world’s best airlines, with a focus on premium cabins, to their dream destinations. From honeymoons in the Maldives to quick two-day business trips, I’ve seen and made lots of it happen – from a simple, one-segment itinerary to a complex, round-the-world 16-segment, 5 stopover, 2 open-jaw trip – there’s nothing that can’t be done and the sky is no longer the limit. I’m the happiest person in the world when clients contact me afterwards and let me know they absolutely loved their flights and trip and can’t wait to go on the next one. Sadly I’ve seen new booking requests drop dramatically to the point where I’m almost only processing cancellations right now – everything going on with travel and airlines currently breaks my heart. The industry that has shown me the world and opened my eyes is in a critical state right now; the worst part is we don’t know when everything will start to get better.
View this post on Instagram
Not being able to travel, see family, or work productively is really starting to get to me. I’ve been keeping distracted by exercising, riding my bike, occasionally going to the store, cooking/baking, and taking long walks… that’s about everything I have been up to this past month. Thankfully the weather has been gorgeous in Seattle, otherwise I’m sure my mood would even be worse. I’ve cancelled all my travel plans through June, though I’m not being too optimistic that I will be able to still take my trips scheduled in July or August. Domestic travel will resume sooner than International travel, but for now I’m not booking anything or planning to leave Seattle until the very last days of May (at the earliest).
Everything can change – some things for the better and others for the worse, but travel would always be there to help with those changes and it was always an option – whether going away for a few days or a month, it was always something that could be done. So what happens when the entire world shuts down and travel is no longer an option? In fact, it is exactly the opposite of what we are ordered to do – stay home. I’m sure many who are in a smilier situation like me can relate – we travel to live and we live to travel, and therefore what are we expected to do when we can’t live our life like we normally would? Travel isn’t simply just “going somewhere” for me – it rather is an immersion into the local culture and customs of a particular region and people. I’ve always been and will always be a Global Citizen – that will never change. I cannot be tied down to one place because it kills me to spend all of my time in a particular location when there is an entire world out there to explore; I still have so much to see and do and I’m nowhere near finished exploring.
The travel and airline industry will take years to recover – the travel booms we have seen over the past few years won’t come back right away; many people will opt to not travel for a while, business travel will be severely cut, and many airlines won’t fully resume their operations. For now, however, we must stay safe and healthy – even if that means staying home for a longer period of time. I’ve come to learn that health is the most important aspect of our lives – nothing else. We can only hope that we will soon see an end to this entire situation, because most of us are really struggling right now – not just those that travel constantly, but everyone around the world is going through a difficult time right now. These times are tough, but we are all in this together and slowly will emerge into a much brighter future filled with love and joy and we definitely will build a stronger affection towards travel and being able to hop on a plane… because travel will always bring us something new, something unique, something that we’ve never experienced before, and above all, something marvellous that we can endlessly treasure and remember forever.