What’s Trending Now: Feeling Grateful
With all that’s going on in the world, even the most stoic among us are reveling in an appreciation for things we may have taken for granted (or perhaps even whined a little bit about) prior to 2020. We’ve gained a new perspective on simple, everyday privileges like dining out, gathering with family, meeting new people, feeling safe in our own homes and countries, living our day-to-day lives without fear, and even breathing fresh, clean air.
With all this time to think, we’ve refined our outlook on traveling, too. This year, as we venture out, we’re focused on quality instead of quantity. We’re digging deeper, paying better attention, and noticing things we may have missed before. We’re savoring our connections to other people and delighting in their cultural heritage. And, we’re more mindful of the delicate ecosystems that teem and bloom all around us.
We’re packing gratitude and sharing it generously wherever we go. In light of this trend toward being better travelers, we dedicate this article to the facets of travel that are worthy of our gratitude journals.
Here are eight things we are deeply grateful for:
1) The Advice of an Expert Travel Advisor — Now More than Ever
As Covid-19 slowly made its way around the world, many travelers were in the middle of their annual vacation. There were two types of travelers – those who booked with a travel advisor and had someone on their side advocating on their behalf, and those who didn’t. This new world of post-pandemic travel requires constant vigilance, something most travelers don’t have time for but most advisors consider one of the most important parts of their jobs. Keeping up with ever-changing openings and shutdowns, new regulations, and testing requirements is a full-time job. It doesn’t have to be yours.
2) Open Waters, Open Borders — Free to Travel Again
If there’s one word that describes where we’ve been for the last two years, adrift is probably it. We’ve been waiting, floating, impatient for a time when we could wriggle with the anticipation of an upcoming vacation again. Perhaps nowhere more so than out in the open waters, where salty breezes and sun-kissed sea days beckon. As borders reopen, more options will become available. If you just can’t wait to get out there, ask your Ensemble travel advisor about booking a small yacht charter for your “bubble” or securing surprisingly affordable seats on a private jet to a remote seaside villa.
3) Close Friends and Family Gatherings
Gosh, we’ve missed each other. Not that we didn’t appreciate Zoom and FaceTime, but boy-oh-boy it has been good to meet face to face again. To see each other in three dimensions. To hug our grandparents and playfully pinch the little ones’ cheeks. Here are a few tips on how to ensure those gatherings remain healthy and fun for everyone.
Families with Children: It’s never too early to start exploring, and traveling with your children will introduce them to a life of wonder. Involve your kids in the planning, consider a theme park vacation, and don’t forget to plan a date night for you and your spouse.
Intergenerational Family Reunions: Unless she was an Olympian, your 85-year-old grandmother probably won’t appreciate a ski vacation, and your toddlers and teens probably won’t love trudging through art museums. Think about activities for all ages and plan in advance, consider an all-inclusive resort, take everyone’s budget into account, and make sure to schedule alone or small group time.
Gathering with Friends: After so little togetherness, some of our best vacations will be girlfriends’ getaways, male bonding adventures, or just a bunch of old friends hanging out. Get to know each other’s travel styles and destination interests before the trip, be flexible, and consider renting a villa for maximum space and private communal spaces.
4) North America’s Small Miracles
There’s big joy to be found in small things all across North America. This year, we are immensely grateful for the small towns, cozy diners, tiny boutiques, and little corners of our world that might otherwise go unnoticed. When we take time to look, there’s a wealth of small wonders just waiting to be explored. And, right now, small and independent businesses need us more than ever.
5) Rediscovering Our Bliss
Even if we felt robust and healthy during the lockdowns, celebrating our own wellness seemed insensitive to those who were caring for or mourning the loss of beloved family and friends. But wellness is something we can be even more grateful for now. As restrictions ease up, we’re ready to get moving again and double-down on our bliss-finding and physical fitness goals.
6) The Bold, Beautiful and Brand New
While many of us were compelled to pause or pull back on our goals last year, a bold few among us powered ahead. These intrepid businesspeople launched new cruise lines and ships, mod hotels, and even vacation resorts despite the pervasive uncertainty. Today, we’re celebrating these plucky folks — the gritty, tenacious people who persevered against the odds to bring us new places to stay and new experiences as the world opens up again.
7) Creative Work-Travel Options
“The Long Now” is a concept that’s been building steam for a while. It’s the idea that we can accomplish bigger, more meaningful things if we focus our sights farther out into the future. One of the ironic blessings of 2020 has been the opportunity to get a fresh perspective on our over-scheduled lives. For the first time in forever, we lifted our heads from our computers and got comfortable looking farther ahead. While serious “long now” activists are talking thousand-year projects, many of us are using the concept to re-imagine travel. Instead of short getaways, we’re looking at long-haul flights, months-long adventures, and living overseas for a year … or two. There’s even a new “Bleisure Class” emerging of remote workers with extended-stay visas.
8) Our Ability to Help Out
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that every traveler leaves an impact. In a positive light, this means every one of us has the power to nurture the people and places we visit. So, this year, we’re packing a new appreciation for our interconnectedness with other nations, their cultures, and the precious eco-systems that sustain them. As we make our travel comeback, we’re doing so more carefully and meaningfully. We’re treading lighter, noticing every opportunity to reach out, lend a hand, offer a kind word, or fund a worthy cause. Instead of rushing there and back again, we’re embodying the Hawaiian concept of mālama — taking care of, tending to, preserving, and protecting.