The pandemic sealed borders and travel became a fantasy overnight. What did it mean to those for whom travel is not just an occasional privilege but a way of life? We find out. By Adila Matra & Sumeet Keswani
ON ADOPTING LIFESTYLE CHANGES AS A TRAVEL INFLUENCER
It seems like the challenging times on the road—the border interrogation in Nicaragua, getting mugged in Costa Rica, getting stalked in Ethiopia, breaking my phone on the first day in Ecuador—prepared me to adapt. Surprisingly, I’ve quickly moved through phases of denial, shock, anger, and disappointment, into acceptance. As an introvert, minimalist, and someone who’s been working from home for nearly a decade, the obvious challenges of lockdown living were easy for me. And even though my income as a travel writer dropped to zero, I had the privilege to dip into my savings and pivot into new digital opportunities.
ON COPING WITH THE LOCKDOWN TOGETHER
Travel isn’t just work for us—it is part of our identity. The fortunate thing about travelling as a couple is that your partner can relate to your withdrawal symptoms. Spending lockdown together made it a lot easier. We spent our time trying out recipes, concentrating on our fitness, and giving shape to a couple of big projects. We have always concentrated on living the slow life and prioritising the people and things we love. But the pandemic reminded us of the unpredictability of life and the importance of surrounding oneself with the right people.
ON FINDING MOTIVATION DURING THE NO-TRAVEL PERIOD
I used to travel every month before the pandemic, and it did definitely take some time to get used to the idea of being at home completely. But the content that I created during the lockdown helped me grow, and that kept me motivated. A lot of people were coming online to see my content to entertain and distract themselves from what was happening. I shared a lot of my old travel content and self-development content to make people feel good in tough times.
ON DEALING WITH ANXIETY
As the lockdown kept extending, I had no clue how to go about content. I have been dealing with anxiety issues for close to three years now, and last year was especially difficult. Since mental health was the priority for everyone during the lockdown, I began to take a more holistic approach towards content generation. The way I have been dealing with my mental health has now become a major part of the content I put out. And this year, there has been a significant improvement in my personal growth: I think it also has to do with me moving from Mumbai to Goa in December last year. I feel at peace here.