I travel, so I am – but what if suddenly it is no longer possible? Because of the Corona crisis, we all have to stay at home for now. What does it do to us?
Vacation means happiness: this equation runs through the history of tourism. For example, the Tui advertises "Discover your Smile". Almost as if there is only reason to be happy when you can finally pack your bags. But now it's over. Not only Tui canceled all trips because of Corona for the time being. Holidays have generally become impossible, with no exceptions and loopholes: the federal government's travel warning applies worldwide. Instead of flying out into the world, the citizens are brought home. The great story of the dream vacation. Not only commercial organizers praise the happiness in the prospect of big sales, it is primarily the vacationers themselves. Selfies on Instagram and via WhatsApp send the message : I have a great time! The summer holidays are considered "the most beautiful weeks of the year", the highlight of our existence. Christmas can keep up with that, so what does it do to us if the lucky factor of travel suddenly disappears? What if we all have to stay at home indefinitely? Walk in the park instead of Sardinia or San Francisco. The futurologist and tourism researcher Prof. Horst Opaschowski has been studying travel for more than 30 years – why people are traveling, wherever they go, what they are looking for in the distance. However, there was never before that they suddenly couldn't go anywhere. The fear of their own four wallsThe expert's finding is clear: "Without travel, people face withdrawal symptoms," says Opaschowski. "Because traveling is simply a part of people. We were mobile before we settled down." The story of man is a story of mobility and travel. The height of the fall is large, and Opaschowski refers to a well-known saying by the French scholar Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), which basically says: All the mischief comes from the fact that people cannot sit in their room in peace. Horror vacui: the fear of emptiness. We can no longer be anyone else "Travel is the most popular form of happiness," says Opaschowski. This is due to two things: "Traveling enables a change of location and also a change of roles." Neither is possible at the moment. "Everyone plays a different role on vacation and when traveling, which you can often see in the costumes." Now everyone is thrown back on themselves – there is no break out of the familiar, and there is another effect: Without traveling there is simply less action. "The driving force for mobility and travel is the fear of missing something in life," says Opaschowski. The younger the people, the more important the travel. In fact, in the past few years one could get the impression that traveling has become the status symbol and meaning-maker. Everyone felt like they had to go to Bali and New York, so would it be time to question the low-cost airline hedonism, the hectic weekend trips to London, Rome or Barcelona? The expert is skeptical: "That is the wish, but I don't think it will work that way. We have gotten too used to the fact that we can always leave." The tourism industry is both a boredom preventer and a boredom producer. As the? "Because you get addicted," says Opaschowski. Pleasant rest has an expiration date, but isn't it nice to enjoy your home? It depends on how long the travel stop will last. "Your own house can be beautifully designed, at some point you just have to get out," Opaschowski estimates. "There is this need: out of everyday life, out of habits, appointments and routine." People simply need a contrast to everyday life, and Opaschowski doesn't believe that the prescribed calm that now comes into life is really good in the long run. He compares this to the longing for retirement. "There are many who look forward to the end of their working life. They are really looking forward to cleaning up their apartment. But that won't last forever," believes the futurologist. Of course, any form of boredom is an opportunity, to come to. "You can also enjoy it temporarily. But humans are active beings, they have to have something around their ears," says Opaschowski. The cycle is as follows: The restlessness of having to do something leads to stress. And so you long for rest. But if it is there, you can not bear it in the long run. The next trip is sure to come. Until the Corona pandemic is over, we have nothing to do but make plans and dream of future trips. Anticipation is also a form of happiness. Will traveling through the crisis change permanently? Opaschowski does not believe in that: "I experienced the oil crisis, Chernobyl, the Gulf War in 1991 and the September 11 attacks," says the researcher. "It was always said: nothing will be the way it was. But that was never true."