February 23, 2022

Interview with Sean From LivingOutLau

How Sean's travels and blog changed due to the pandemic
When it came to traveling during the pandemic, what was the hardest thing logistically? What was the hardest emotionally?
As a full-time traveler whose goal is to explore as much of the world as possible, planning my trip has become exponentially harder due to border closures (especially land borders) and quarantine requirements. Those things tend to change abruptly and can completely alter our itinerary and cost us lots of money.

Emotionally, the hardest thing when traveling during the pandemic is understanding that travel is no longer what it used to be. Nowadays, hostels are saturated with remote workers and the vibe is completely different. It is a new paradigm when it comes to traveling.
Did you get caught in a lockdown anywhere? If so, how did it go? What helped you get through it?
Technically speaking, I was caught in a "lockdown" when I was in Hong Kong, but it wasn't the same way lockdowns worked in other parts of the world. The only restrictions were no gatherings bigger than 2, masks mandatory except exercising, and bars and clubs were not allowed to open.

Though the restrictions didn't affect me that much physically, it was knowing how serious that government was treating this that made me worrisome.

So instead of doing indoor activities, I spent a lot of time outdoors, exploring the beautiful hiking trails, beaches, and waterfalls of Hong Kong!
Did you continue blogging and posting on social media during the pandemic? How did the situation affect your blog?
I did continue blogging but I slowed down my posting on social media dramatically. With my dwindling motivation, I wanted to focus on what was going to make money, which was more likely my blog than my Instagram.

My spirit was at the lowest point the past year, especially with changes to the blogging scene (such as Mediavine increasing their requirements and Airbnb closing its associates program).
If you kept traveling during the pandemic, tell us about your most memorable experience. Was there a new type of travel that you fell in love with? Were there any experiences that you had that you would not have otherwise?
Recently, I went to Cappadocia and witnessed the hot air balloons in the desert! It was one of the most magical experiences in my life. I still can't believe how beautiful the landscape was over there!

I have started to travel at a slower pace, staying a week in places that would take the regular traveler two or three days to see. This slower pace makes traveling much more relaxed as I don't have to plan my next destination so frequently.
With many borders closed, a lot of people traveled around their own countries. Is this something that you also did?
Yes, somewhat. I was based in Hong Kong for most of the pandemic. Though I "traveled" in Hong Kong, there wasn't anywhere that wasn't reachable within two hours.
Did you take up any new hobbies while you were unable to travel?
Yes, I did! I recently got into cryptocurrency and NFTs. As someone with a engineering background, this new Web 3.0 stuff is super fascinating to me. I can talk about it for days but let's leave that for another time!
What's the thing about traveling that hasn't come back yet that you miss the most?
Spontaneity. I miss going out of my comfort zone and doing some unexpected, whether that be going on an epic adventure with someone I just met in the hostel or just something that opens my mind. With the psychological changes that happened during the pandemic, I feel like its more difficult to form a connection with people.
Do you have any grand adventures planned next?
Yes, matter of fact, I am on my grand adventure right now! I am in Brazil and plan on exploring the southern part of South America (Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, and Peru)!
Being a traveler, you often deal with uncertain situations and new experiences. Do you think this prepared you to handle the pandemic better than most?
Traveling and dealing with uncertain situations have made me realize that everything's going to be okay at the end. I think this attitude has helped me through some of the tougher times during the pandemic.
Do you have anything else you would like to tell readers or any optimistic thoughts for the future of travel?
If it is something you can't control, then it is something not worth stressing about. Don't worry about the future of travel and just enjoy the present as much as possible! If you ever need travel advice or someone to talk to, you can always reach me on my blog or on my Instagram!

Sean From LivingOutLau

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