The act of connecting
For Brown, that freedom is about more than just going to new places. It’s also the freedom to meet new people and to enjoy the spontaneous interactions with strangers that happen so often while she’s traveling.
“It’s the simple act of connecting with people you’ve never met before,” Brown says. For example, you may walk into a farm stand along the road and visit with the person working there. As you learn about that place, you might also learn something about yourself.
“We meet people when we travel, and we love the fact that they’re from somewhere else,” she says. “We’re different, and yet we connect. Then we go our separate ways. That is what I had deeply, deeply missed.”
It’s not the miles
As far as Brown is concerned, 2021 couldn’t get here fast enough. “2020 was the first year that we were all excited that summer was ending,” she says with a laugh.
But as travel returns in 2021, Brown hopes that it will come back in a slightly different form: She is encouraging travelers to develop an appreciation for lesser-known, smaller destinations, instead of flocking to a few popular spots like Barcelona or Amsterdam. For example, one of the last episodes of 2020’s Places to Love focused on Dutchess County, New York, and the places there that have enabled Brown and her family to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If your family can only go 200 miles from home, you’re still going to have an amazing time,” she says. “The importance of travel is not measured in how many miles you go.”
The loss of the freedom to travel, in Brown’s view, has turned every destination into a bucket list item. “Travel can be wherever you are,” she says. “It could be the next town over. Just do it. Just connect and just be with people and support the local communities wherever you go.”
The return of travel