Travelers Tell Us The First Place They Want To Go, Once Travel Is Safe Again

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At this exact moment in time, no one really knows what travel will look like in the future. Or even when it will open back up. Will the quarantine lift closer to the Fourth of July or Labor Day? So much remains murky. All that travel aficionados can do right now is daydream on Instagram or book tickets for some future date that they hope to hit open road, knowing that if they have to change plans it likely won’t cost them extra.

To help keep the dream of travel alive during these trying times, we reached out to some of our favorite long-term travelers, travel writers, and influencers to ask where they’re keen to go once exploring the wider world is safe and financially viable again. Their answers were as varied as they come, touching on everything from nostalgia to rebuilding efforts to family to adventure.

As passionate as we are about travel, we’re not blind to the fact that for much of the world a global recession is looming unlike any we’ve seen since World War II. The very idea of traveling is a privilege-filled prospect and the thought of bringing sickness to a place with little medical infrastructure is a scary one. But economies around the world are also highly dependent on visitors to survive and rebuild, and the human impulse to see new places and make new memories is only going to be heightened by a few months spent indoors. It’s a balancing act that will depend on a wide-range of factors — from your job and savings to your personal desire to leave home and anxieties about actually contracting the coronavirus.

Whether you’re likely to travel as soon as the quarantine ends or not for another year or two, let these picks help inspire your next journey.

Amelia Mularz (@ameliamularz) — CALIFORNIA’S HIGHWAY 1

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As much as I love the square mile of terrain I’ve been covering during quarantine walks in my L.A. neighborhood (I seriously know each succulent by name now), I’m craving real nature. I’m also feeling guilty because it’s only now that most hiking trails and beaches are closed in Southern California (due to coronavirus) that I realize I haven’t been taking advantage of them in the first place. That’s why the moment we get the green light to travel, I’m heading on a Highway 1 adventure.

Bidding farewell to my newfound, water-wise friends (see ya, Pablo, the Packard Street Cactus), I’m beelining straight to Nipomo to live out my lifelong dream of visiting a luffa farm. Did you know luffa sponges grow on vines? Then, I’ll head to Cambria, where there’s a new hotel called Oceanpoint Ranch right on Moonstone Beach. I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve never been to Hearst Castle, so I’ll swing by there, too.

Finally, I’ll make my way to Big Sur for hiking and Carmel-by-the-Sea for terrace wine sipping (I hear Talbott Vineyards has a brand-new tasting room). I’m sure soon enough I’ll be back on long-haul flights, but for right now, I’m just fantasizing about being outside, on the California Coast.

Melanie Sutrathada (@melaniesutra) — KAUAI, HAWAI’I

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Once it’s safe for all parties (locals and travelers), I’m dreaming of hopping on a flight to Hawaii’s Kauai. Think hours spent watching giant sea turtles and wild dolphins, rainbow shaved ice enjoyed roadside, walks on the beach with the bluest waters lapping up on your feet, and long winding hikes along the towering sea cliffs of the NaPali Coast. I’m yearning for fresh poke bowls, spam musubi, and all the saimin I can get my hands on. I’m pulling out all of my bathing suits and planning on wearing shoes as little as possible. I’m ready for more of that Hawaiian magic that Kauai is known for.

After all this time spent indoors, all I want is to feel the warm sun on my face as the sun sets and the golden sand under my feet at the Garden Isle. Let’s just say that Kauai is going to be an absolute must when we come out on the other side of this.

Matt Payne (@mattpaynetravelphotography) — CARMEL, CALIFORNIA

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There is no more purifying place in the world to me than Carmel, California. There’s a clarity to the morning light as it casts its dewy gaze across the Pacific and onto Point Lobos across the cove. Surf hammers the rocks. Otters play. Shorebirds trace the waves along the coarse sand. A Frank Lloyd Wright home hangs over the water, augmenting nature’s finest piece of shoreline in stirring fashion. Carmel is a quiet mismatch of wealth and eccentricity. Sport and silence. A place where the fingerprints of the artist and the entrepreneur are equally dispersed.

The rugged coastline is demonstrative of how beauty comes from eons of oceanic tumult and physics. A testament that so often, beauty emerges as a byproduct of opposing forces. Landlocked now, I dream of seafood, salty air and the kind of silence you find when you’ve finally arrived someplace else. That feeling of inspiration and timelessness that comes when you look out onto the merging of land and water. As I consider a world, that for a period I’ve no longer had access to, I think of exploring that stretch of coastline again. South to Big Sur and north to Monterey. That is where I know that even now, the waves and the shore whisper in unison: “this too shall pass.”