I spent summer 2019 in the United Kingdom; roaming through green fields, eating fish and chips, and feeling alive amid European culture. I spent summer 2020 in my house, self-isolating from family and friends. The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the travel experience. Where there were once airport custom lines filled with people, now there are closed borders, mask mandates, and social distancing.
COVID has done more than change the face of travel and our ability to participate in it. It has exposed the reality of what people most crave and what travel should be about: human connection and understanding.
I don’t miss stepping foot onto foreign soil and taking pictures of famous places. I miss interacting with people who are different from me; I miss viewing the world through a different lens; I miss finding similarities in humankind across the globe.
Being a good traveler is about more than finding flight deals. It’s about opening your eyes to new cultures, finding beauty in others, and embracing the diversity in humanity. That is what Stowaway can help you to do, regardless of current limitations on physical travel.
Creating a travel magazine in the middle of a global pandemic was a daunting experience to say the least. The circumstances of this year forced our work to shift as we began not only to curate the usual travel tips and ideas but also to create stories of people and communities around the world. We began to create human connection.
Holiday traditions in Guatemala, habits of happiness in Finland, acts of kindness in Fiji—the stories you will read in these pages are stories of real people and communities. And even though they are confined to the pages of a magazine (for now), the stories of these people and their communities can still change us.
I’ve been changed.
Yes, Stowaway is a magazine about travel. But first and foremost it is a magazine about humanity, culture, and global perspectives. And even when we cannot travel, these new perspectives need to be discovered. So crack Stowaway open, but don’t just read the words; open your heart and travel to new places. Be inspired and be changed.