Published in Canadian Traveller Winter 2020: “Travel in the time of Covid”
Right here, right now
As an adolescent, I dreamed of becoming a travel magazine editor. I imagined engaging in heated discussions in a glass-windowed boardroom and catching last-minute flights to tropical destinations with talented journalists. I’d happily spend my evenings in boutique hotel rooms feverishly penning every detail of the architecture, festivals, food and culture in a worn, leather-bound notebook.
Even in my wildest fantasies, I never imagined debuting my career as a print editor amid a global pandemic. Instead of taste-testing foreign delicacies and roaming through historic city centres, I’m trapped in my home office, recording interviews on my phone and joining editorial meetings on Zoom.
I’m not complaining—I feel extremely lucky to be healthy, safe and employed, commencing my new role as the managing editor for Canadian Traveller— but I will acknowledge this isn’t a year, or an issue, like most.
The magazine you’re holding has been a long time in the making. I can trace it back to my first overseas journey as a wide-eyed 11-year-old. Wearing bell-bottom jeans and wire-rimmed glasses, I explored Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Brussels with my upbeat, optimistic mom. Since then, I’ve explored over 35 different countries—many of them with my mom by my side. She’s my true beginning.
Travelling internationally sparked a sense of unencumbered joy I barely understood—except to know I wanted more of it. From China to Australia to South Africa, I charted my own course, packing my bags and moving freely for the best, hardest and most formative parts of the past 10 years.
I, too, can’t wait to walk down the aisle and hear those beautiful words, “this is your captain speaking,” but right here, right now, I implore Canadian travellers to focus on hyper-local, eco-friendly explorations that will improve ourselves, our backyard and possibly the entire world. (Can you tell I inherited my mom’s optimism, too?)
Beginning with imaginative tips for sustainable travel, this issue includes stories that detail the realities, difficulties and unexpected joys of nationwide travel in the time of Covid-19. I’m delighted to publish an in-depth feature on race, gender and passport privilege by Bianca Bujan. You’ll also read Kevin Wagar’s haunting story about fear, anxiety and loss of control—a relatable experience on the road.
Several of these articles ask—and attempt to answer—one of the biggest questions in the travel industry right now: how do we travel in the time of Covid?
I don’t have all the answers, but I hope these well-crafted articles will spark your intuition, wanderlust, curiosity and kindness. The truth is, we’re all just trying to figure it out—step by step, moment by moment.
How we travel in the physical world has changed, but our commitment to bringing you the best travel writing hasn’t. You’re about to be transported to stormy seas in the Philippines, an uncomfortable security search in Ecuador and a milestone whale watching tour in Quebec—all between these few pages. Take a long walk to your comfiest, coziest nook and buckle in: this is your editor speaking. It’s time for takeoff.
Alison Karlene Hodgins