How do you run a travel magazine when you can't travel?
Somehow, despite the world being shut off for the last 18 months, the NZ Herald Travel magazine has been able to not only survive, but also thrive and become an award-winning magazine.
But we're not going to lie - it's been a tough road.
In our final episode of this season's Trip Notes travel podcast, Deputy Editor Maggie Wicks and I join Travel Editor Stephanie Holmes to chat about some of the challenges we've had as travel writers in a Covid era.
The episode was inspired by an article I wrote last month, "Why the Australian bubble pause is giving me an identity crisis."
I wrote the article as the Delta outbreak in Sydney was taking hold and the NZ goverment made the decision to pause the transtasman bubble. At the time, I was feeling a deep melancholy for my industry over the loss of identity and purpose that arises when you work in travel, and are stuck at home.
I received a lot of feedback from others in the industry - such as travel agents, writers and travel lovers - who've had to learn to live with their wings clipped. Many felt the same way as me - when travel is your identity, how do you find your purpose without it?
"The travel industry is unique and special. It's full of strong social connections and events and mingling with like-minded people who have a passion for discovering new adventures and deepening their connections to the world," I wrote.
"When you lose your job, or the key functions that make up your industry, there's a profound loss of connection that comes alongside it. Not only a loss of connection to the people, but also to the passion that motivated you to enter the industry in the first place. Travel can represent freedom and escapism. So how do you begin to even replace that?"
For us in the Travel team, it's meant a long road of trying to come up with new ideas, new content and new ways of presenting travel to keep the dream alive. So, in this episode, we get real.
And it's an episode where our Editor Stephanie Holmes gets a little teary too.
"I remember in the first lockdown our magazine had shrunk to a few paltry pages, and we were writing about nostalgic trips, dream destinations and memories, and I got a few emails from readers who said thank you for keeping the dream alive," she recalls.
"Back then we didn't know how long it was going to go on for, and we still don't know now. I hoped we would be well out of it by now. But I think it's so important to keep dreaming and remembering there is a big wide world out there and one day we'll get back there," she says, choking back tears.
Join us for the final episode of this season's Trip Notes podcast where we do some reminiscing as a team, talk about some of our favourite New Zealand travel highlights since the borders shut, and where we'd like to go if the world was suddenly back to normal.
We also discuss our responsibilities as travel writers in a Covid-era, and what we miss about travel - from the bravery and the risk-taking, to the freedom of going solo abroad.
To listen, tune in on iHeartRadio or hit play on the podcast player above.
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