By Ben Bressler, President & Founder of Natural Habitat Adventures
“Are we there yet?”
That seemed to me almost a catchphrase my brother and I would whine from the back seat of my father’s Plymouth Valiant in the 1960s, en route from our New Jersey home to Pennsylvania Dutch Country or Niagara Falls.
I heard the same desperate plea from my boys as we embarked on our own road trips to the Colorado mountains or the Utah desert. Every child who’s traveled has likely petitioned their parents similarly.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve found myself asking that same question about the state of travel: Are we there yet? Have we finally kicked the pandemic and reentered a time of unfettered exploration? Nature travel is an essential part of my life, as it is for so many of our avid guests, and the suspension of it has been tough on all of us. We need time in wild places.
Though Covid still lingers, we are a world away from the darkest days, and travel has mostly returned. While it may still look a bit different, I can confidently say, “We’re back!”
As we greet the dawn of a new year, one far removed from the greatest challenge the travel industry has experienced since I founded Nat Hab in 1985, I am truly thankful. Take a look at some of our favorite videos featuring the joys of nature travel, and I think you’ll feel the same way!
And while travel for the sake of our mental health is important, its return is more important than that — it is vital to the survival of local people, habitats and wildlife. When travel came to a standstill, countless communities that rely on ecotourism were without a primary means of economic support. Wildlife suffered, too, becoming vulnerable to illegal hunting and poaching. We’ve come to see vividly how important travel is for conservation.
I am proud of the role Nat Hab plays in supporting this mission. But I am also thankful for you, our travelers, who care deeply for our planet and its inhabitants. I look forward to many more years of exploring with you.
Yes, we are “there”!
Warmest wishes for the holiday!