Well this is unexpected!!
As I mentioned in my blog post on Monday, there are currently some beautiful volcanic eruptions happening in Iceland as we speak. Huge shoutout and photo credit to my friend and colleague Sven Strumann who has just sent me this amazing photography which shows up close the power and beauty of the volcanos.
Iceland just erupted and I am not just talking about the volcanic eruption that happened a few days ago. Don’t worry, no one is in danger unlike the last eruption that happened during the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano (Get a link for this volcanic eruption) which erupted a little over 10 years ago and caused lots of delays, cancellations and other discomfort across Europe and also parts of Iceland. This latest eruption is that of the Icelanders opening up their borders to Americans again, and if you have valid proof of having had the vaccines for Covid, then you are allowed to return. I know I spoke about a vaccine passport, so it is nice that certain countries are figuring out a way.
Why the Wandering Puffin for those who have not read this on my website? The name goes back many years, 1987 to be exact, where my passion (perhaps obsession) started for those cute and very sociable little birds, of which there are three species, the Atlantic (or Common), the Tufted and the Horned with their colorful beaks and sometimes known as clown birds. They are commonly confused with penguins, but are definitely different and while both penguins and puffins are seabirds and both black and white with the added colorful features, that is where the similarities end. Puffins fly, penguins don’t. Penguins are found in the southern hemisphere, puffins in the northern hemisphere. They are not related but it does seem that they do wander the globe quite a bit and offered me the the perfect name when I started Wandering Puffin!
Looking at the destinations that are open or are opening up sooner than others, I think the key is the vaccine passport as the future, and as the yellow fever card is the standard for many destinations around the world, this vaccine passport will provide the same. Getting it standardized and followed by all, if not a majority of the countries of the world will be the difficult thing, although, it seems it should not be, given its huge benefit for our collective future. The vaccine card should not be politicized and I am not saying it is. It should be a world card accepted by all and have the pertinent and undeniable information on there to allow the world to open up again safely and in this 21st century, be electronic so that it is easily manageable.
With everything in the world going on and not going on, keeping up with the destinations open to travel is ever changing. I heard the other day that Romania and Poland would accept the two vaccine doses as proof and then read, but they could also still require a negative Covid test. Russia just opened up and countries like Mexico and Costa Rica have been open all along, for the most part. One of the places and for those wanting to go to the Caribbean, is Puerto Rico and as part of the US, you do not need a negative Covid test when you return the mainland, because, it is part of the US. Think about that, but also remember that coming in the US from another destination (not part of the US), US citizen or not, you will have to test negative or have to quarantine.
Some of the ways I have tried to stay out in front of my clientele is to do presentations for them, do travel videos from several places around the world from, now a year ago, and more, connect them via email, text and the old-fashioned phone call and even the occasional call to action on a particular destination that may be less restrictive in terms of their Covid requirements, but mostly it has been sharing my thoughts about travel as each of the clients whose trips have been cancelled or better, postponed, only not educate them on the new options in this new normal, but also educate myself and finding other outlets of the industry to share and connect and let people know that I am still here, even in a socially distant environment.
While many of the changes occurring are non-revenue, they show that I (and we collectively) in the travel industry are still here, including the small business, the home-based consultants and those willing to stay out front will make it through. I have other avenues as an educator by training, to earn a living for now fortunately and blessed for that, so that when my passion for being your travel advisor and planner for the foreseeable future, and the world says it is safe to travel or you are feeling comfortable to travel, I want to be here as I live, breathe and immerse myself in this amazing industry whose payoff are the smiles and stories people are able to share. I do not plan on letting 25 years of my life to go to waste due to the pandemic, so let me know your thoughts and comments and as always, thank you for supporting this small business in good times and bad and we will get through this.