Whilst the global pandemic has spoilt many of our summer travel plans, the ‘new normal’ offers an exciting opportunity to reconsider our entrenched behaviours and habits. This article stops to reflect on some of the positive aspects of lockdown. Rather than dwelling on missed opportunities, it looks forward to the potential for new types of adventure- this summer and beyond!
Appreciating your locality
With social distancing measures in place, we’ve all had to learn to rely on more localised support networks. For the first time in a while, all five of my family members were living together in the same house. The chaos of being cooped up together definitely had its challenges, but I feel very grateful to have spent this time with them. Whether you’ve befriended a neighbour or got to know your flatmate better, this has been a very difficult period for many people so it’s important for us to recognise what we do have.
In this vein, this has been prime time to (re)discover an appreciation for your local area. Whilst revising for my finals, getting outside for my daily exercise was important escapism. Strava became my best friend and I enjoyed walking the dog, running and cycling around my neighbourhood in North London. I don’t think I have ever appreciated being outdoors so much; and my joy in seeing the new-born baby goslings and ducklings highlights what you can gain by paying more attention to the local nature and wildlife.
Important lessons to take from this experience: always remain curious and remember that adventures do not necessarily have to be so far afield.
With lockdown restrictions easing, some foreign travel has become a possibility again. Nonetheless, like many others, my family are taking extra precautions and we do not yet feel ready to go abroad. This means 2020 will become the summer of the staycation: look out for an article about my upcoming holiday in Yorkshire!
As documented in this blog, I have enjoyed various trips around the UK before and have often opted to travel by train or coach. Nonetheless, much of my travel experiences have relied on aviation. This comes with troubling environmental consequences, presenting an uneasy paradox whereby travel-lovers relish opportunities to immerse themselves in our planet’s beautiful natural environments, yet they are actively contributing to its destruction because of a reliance on air travel. With calls to use this moment as an opportunity to promote a ‘green recovery’, perhaps this is a good time to re-evaluate our habits.
Whilst I don’t think I’m quite ready to boycott air travel for good, I will definitely take this opportunity to reconsider the environmental impact of my travel experiences.
On your Bike!
With the government’s new Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme crashing on opening, it seems I am not the only one who has gained a love for cycling through the pandemic. Therefore, I thought this would be a nice opportunity to create a new cycling series to share my adventures on my bike.
Cycling is another good habit that I hope to take forward, beyond lockdown. It is a fun way to exercise and a greener way to travel. As explored by Aldred (2010), cycling can also define citizens’ relationships with natural and social environments.
For my 21st birthday, my parents gave me a nice new road bike which (fingers-crossed!) will arrive soon. I have also recently joined my local Breeze Network, which offers fun and inclusive rides for women of all abilities.
I look forward to getting involved in a new sporting community, and progressing whilst discovering some exciting new routes! Stay tuned for updates!