Here & There: Travel in 2020
The very definition of the magazine is being based 'here' and 'there'. Currently, our team works from both Nova Scotia, Canada and Paris, France. Amid the pandemic, we were compelled to adjust and re-organise ourselves as to remain relevant during these challenging times. With travel being an important part of our identity as a magazine and as a team, the lockdowns plus all this uncertainty surrounding travel intrigued us to think about how it will evolve from now on.
Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle: Living in Paris, I was lucky to be able to move back to my parents in the South of France for lockdown. Back then crossing France was quite a challenge, but also pretty dangerous as no one was really ready to tackle a global pandemic. During this 5 hour train journey down to the South, I started to think about how lucky I was passing distinctively different landscapes. From the chaotic capital city, to the calmer valley around Lyon and finally reaching the sea along the coast of the French Riviera. Travelling will be changed, either from an economic point of view or a sanitary one, but our appetite for discovery - I’m sure - remains unchanged.
Aleyah Solomon: The beginning of the pandemic meant it was time to get creative with how we work and what to focus on. I was meant to be travelling back to Paris and had to cancel that flight. Everything we had planned has been placed on temporary hold which is really difficult when you have so many ideas and are motivated to bring your creations to life. Of course, it’s not just us who has had to adjust and ‘break’ from what once was considered our normal routine. We’ve all had to figure out ways to keep inspired and stay connected with those who assist in bringing these ideas to life–networking has changed drastically in 2020. However, being on the East Coast of Canada has its perks, specifically being so close to nature and the ocean.
ABR: Those first three months of confinement allowed people to focus on their country, reflect on their inheritance, and ultimately rethink their habits. Looking back, 9 months later, habits have definitely changed on a day-to-day basis; maybe for the better. Travelling is still very much narrowed down to your home country, unless you want to spend 7-14 days quarantined in a hotel room before engaging with the city you intended to visit in the first place. Still, from an economical standpoint, travelling through your own country can help boost the industry, while being able to discover parts of France we never knew could be this beautiful. Our culture is so rich, that wherever you go, you’ll encounter history, good food, breathtaking landscapes and obviously meet new people. Let’s play “tourist” in our own countries rather than dreaming of far off places on the other side of the globe. This year recentered all our intentions and needs, for the better, focusing on the place we call home. Travelling within - both physically and mentally - has never been more important.
AS: I will admit, being in Nova Scotia is pretty great. The ocean is at every angle, my family is nearby and the abundance of nature trails is enough to keep your adventurous side satisfied, for the time being. I am not the type to stay in one place for too long, but it’s been forced upon me. This doesn’t mean I can’t explore my own ‘backyard’. There is adventure, history, culture and so many beaches–not one is like the other. There are things I was able to do, like visit Brier Island to go on a five hour whale watching tour and take a helicopter ride to Sable Island, not because I never wanted to visit these places but because I often seemed to be on the go. This was a great opportunity to explore and share my experiences through my images within the magazine’s latest features.
ABR: After the start of 2020 kept us apart, I really did believe that the next year or so would bring us together like never before, in ways we would have never thought of. It did for a short period of time. Unfortunately, within these very anxious and challenging times, it seems that society has also split in pieces regarding more than one area. Coming back to travelling, professionals slowly start to adapt and find new ways of experiencing places in a safe environment. Indeed, the message is clear, travelling slowly begins to become possible, still the challenge is to be diligent.
AS: Travel will resume. This I am certain. It will look a bit different for quite a while and perhaps some new habits will become permanent. There are many interesting ways we can keep travel alive through images and experiences giving us insight into beautiful destinations around the world. We might not physically be able to venture to these places at the moment but we can at least better our minds and exercise our senses through words and visuals of those sharing their stories. Perhaps this will lead to a desire to explore a new area that wasn’t at the top of your 'must visit' list!
ABR: There are really unique experiences to be discovered as well, and now that working from home is spreading, people are not tied to school holidays or a fixed working schedule. Looking in retrospect, we as human beings are seeking to dig deeper and go further as we’ve been ‘trapped’ for so long. With our features, our aim was to bring travel and unique experiences from the viewpoint of those we featured to your home. Without having to pack a suitcase you were able to escape the mundane of urban daily life.
By Alexa Bouhelier-Ruelle & Aleyah Solomon
Photos by Aleyah Solomon