As more and more people get vaccinated worldwide, we can’t help but wonder how this will change the face of travel. Is this the new dawn of a traveling era? Our Communications Specialist Eddie Rahadian has a take on it.

A couple of years ago, someone sent me a copy of Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3-to-1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life, written by American psychology professor Barbara L. Fredrickson. The book discusses Fredrickson’s research on positive psychology, which focuses on positivity and how it can transform people’s lives.

My partner dismissed the book, citing that it was all “pop psychology”… bless his heart! I, on the other hand, found the book helpful especially because I tend to focus on negativity and let myself drown into a downward spiral – something that Fredrickson said was not uncommon.

In the book, Fredrickson recalled her experience boarding a train on September 11, 2001, because her flight from Minneapolis had been canceled. She said that many train passengers – all of them were strangers – were talking to each other about the tragedy. The discussions were filled with empathy and vulnerability. Fredrickson recounted that she had a conversation with a man next to her on the train, and they discussed whether Americans would bounce back from such a tragedy. Fredrickson then noticed that, during the trip, despite grieving the situation, she could hear small laughter occasionally from other travelers.

Once she got home, Fredrickson hugged her husband tightly. Days afterward, while she kept on researching positivity, she concluded that her work was no longer relevant due to 9/11. But then she remembered the laughter that she’d heard on the train. It struck her that positivity was still relevant and from there she continued her research, believing that it could still help make life worthwhile for millions of people.

Positivity was published in 2009, eight years after 9/11.

Recently, I wondered what Fredrickson would say about Covid? I wondered if I could channel some of her findings to cultivate optimism during this time of our lives. Thanks to Google… it didn’t take me long to get the answer. Fredrickson researched positivity and how it could help people cope during pandemics. One of the things she found was that high-quality social connection plays a uniquely important role in maintaining mental health during the Covid pandemic.

I understand that it would be difficult for some people to be optimistic during pandemics – but Fredrickson’s research showed that, while ignoring negativity would be a fool’s errand, one can still cultivate positivity while accepting when things do not go as well as hoped.

What about traveling during a pandemic? An article from The New York Times recently stated that 100 million Americans are fully vaccinated – and counting. Millions of people from other countries have begun to receive vaccinations. Some Asian startups have already begun to develop vaccine passports, even though the concept of digital health IDs is still being debated among politicians.

Japan has already mulled into launching vaccine passports. Singapore has considered allowing their vaccinated citizens to travel to countries with low cases of confirmed Covid cases, and go back to their homeland without being quarantined first.

Vaccine passports would allow people who are already fully vaccinated to move between countries freely. Thus, it is believed vaccine passports would accelerate our return to normal life and, subsequently, speed up the economy at a reduced risk of virus transmission. This includes the travel and tourism industries.

To tell you the truth, I’m quite excited about this development – vaccine passports. Not only could it be a solution so that people could connect with other people by traveling, but it would also make it better for the economy – especially for places that rely on tourism.

Not saying that the current condition is already good – but as the song says, accentuate the positive. Maybe, just maybe, vaccine passports are a positive solution for all of us. For many of us who have wanderlust, traveling is a way of life… and thanks to vaccinations, it looks like traveling is on the horizon again.

A year ago, the “new normal” meant masks, frequent handwashing, social distancing, and limited activities. These days, for many, it seems that getting vaccinated is the new normal.  It certainly allows people to travel with a greater sense of safety. One thing’s for sure:  we are itching to travel again.  Many of us drastically miss the way we’ve lived before, when travel was a regular part of our lives. Let’s move forward – and get back to our old lifestyle – with our new “new normal”.