With flights grounded and the world turned upside down just in the last month, it may seem that the inertia of the coronavirus pandemic will keep the world at a wary standstill forever.
But one Atlanta nonprofit is helping facilitate travel dreams for the day when the storm passes and jet-setters are once again free to fill their passports with those coveted stamps.
Go Eat Give founder Sucheta Rawal, a travel writer and children’s book author whose own travel history includes visits to nearly 100 countries and even Antarctica, is offering free 15-minute consultations about any destination, hoping to encourage curious minds to envision a time when interconnection is once again seen as an attainable pleasure rather than forbidden fruit.
“Travel fosters a mutual and universal understanding among all people, and this is likely to be even more relevant when the world gets through COVID-19,” Ms. Rawal wrote in her most recent email to blog readers, which also offered tips for reflecting on the joys of previous trips as a sort of meditation on the wonder of life.
“During these times, I would like you to take a deep breath, be grateful for what you have, and for having had the opportunities to see some amazing places. Then, imagine the future filled with possibilities of places you may go to real soon. Fill your hearts and minds with positive vibes,” she wrote.
The messaging is to be expected: Go Eat Give’s mission is opening people’s eyes to other cultures through the magic of responsible and “meaningful” travel.
But Ms. Rawal urged Atlantans who find themselves physically hemmed in not to let their minds be similarly trapped.
“While you reconfigure your travel plans, take a look at virtual vacations, travel blogs and inspiring travel photographs out there. Go back and look through your own photo albums. Talk to your friends and family about your travel bucket list. Read books, listen to podcasts, try different foods, perhaps even learn a new language. So that when travel opens up, you will already be prepared for your next exploration.”
Ms. Rawal has been transmitting those vibes to some of Atlanta’s younger residents. Soon after schools closed, she launched Facebook live readings of her “Beato Goes To…” series to keep kids entertained and optimistic about the world.
The books follow her gray Norwegian forest cat Beato (himself an Atlantan of 10 years) to Greenland, Japan, Israel, Indonesia and Brazil, where he explores the sights and learns about the locals and their diverse beliefs. The next book, she told the NPR program “City Lights,” will likely focus on South Africa.
Individuals seeking to stoke their wanderlust over a 15-minute consultation can book time with Ms. Rawal here.
Educators can also enter through April 30 to win a free 30-minute video appearance bringing Ms. Rawal to schools, libraries or student groups anywhere in the world by emailing her a photo and a two-sentence explanation of the invitation.
Learn more or donate at www.goeatgive.com.