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Travel Talks: ‘Covid is here to stay, we must adjust to life with the pandemic’

  • Yaseen Khan on post-pandemic travel 

Yaseen Khan is a travel filmmaker who runs his own travel blog on Instagram by the name Long Weekend. He has always enjoyed the art of filmmaking and had a passion for travel from a very young age, so his career choice was the perfect one for him. Out of his love for travel stemmed his blog, where he documents local hot spots using new video techniques that he’s learned over his years as a videographer. 

We spoke to him about his opinion of the travel industry once the pandemic let’s up. Here’s what he had to say. 

What are you most excited to do after the pandemic? 

I don’t think there’s going to be an “after the pandemic”. Covid is here to stay, with even the vaccines and all; it’s going to be a few years before we could say “life after the pandemic”. Nevertheless, I am very excited to travel, do some trips, and explore around, even during the pandemic. We are still in the midst of it, so hopefully when those pockets of periods where travel restrictions are lifted, I can get some travelling done.  

I’m quite excited to go to the beach. I am more of a beach person, even though I love hiking and I generally like the outdoors; they’re all adventures I’m passionate about but if I had to pick one place I could run to, it’ll be the beach.

Has the pandemic affected your travel so far?

Yes and no. Long Weekend is not a income source generating venture so it didn’t really affect me that much, but I did miss out on being able to blog. Blogging is my main thing and I started blogging back in 2016/17 – before the whole concept of blogging came to Sri Lanka.

I really miss doing that, but it has not really affected me much because my field of work is also being a documentary filmmaker so I do go on the field a lot to film for my clients; therefore I get to travel. 

But, travelling for work and travelling for pleasure is different. There were moments that the lockdown had a toll on me. Every time we are locked down, I get into a body depression for a few weeks, and then recover so that is a continuous cycle. It’s because your freedom is limited and controlled, but we need to come out and live and get used to travelling in this new normal.  

How did you discover your passion for travel? 

I’ve always been very passionate about travelling. Since I was a child, our family used to do a lot of trips around Sri Lanka for a week or more, so that was always in my DNA.

As soon as I graduated I started a travel business, and I was in the travel business for about seven to eight years before I went into a more creative field. So that’s when I started Long Weekend; because I wanted to keep travelling. My passion for travel filmmaking started in 2017, again with the launch of Long Weekend because at that time there was very little local travel content; it was almost non-existent. I felt there wasn’t enough information for the local market and for the domestic travellers. Since I come from a travel background and was running a travel company where we were selling packages for foreigners, I realised that during my travels, locals like exploring local spots. 

What is your most memorable travel memory?

There are quite a few, but I have some really good memories camping. I’ve camped on Delft Island, which was really nice, since there was a beach. I’ve also gone camping on the top of Ella rock, back when they allowed it. I was also able to skydive in Sigiriya, which is a very memorable moment for me. I think I was one of the very few people that had the opportunity to do so. These are some great memories.  

What do you think post-Covid travel will look like?

Movie travel groups will be a thing. It’s a bad idea to have a large number of people flocking together in one group, due to concerns of the virus spreading. 

People will also opt to stay away from hotels and choose smaller villas or private bungalows, so they will be in a position where they can protect themselves given the current situation. 

When we travel, we want to remove our mask and be free so we can enjoy it. There are also people working a nine to five job so they will want to travel on the weekend, therefore, as it’s the busiest time, people will want to stay away from big hotels. 

In terms of exploring nature and outdoor activities, I don’t think it changed much because generally, the Ceylon travel segment prefers hotel stays and getaways, like jumping into a pool. So the few people that do enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and camping will be limited so there won’t be as big of a risk. The industry will downscale a lot but things will go on. 

Would you think twice before travelling after the pandemic? If so, how would it differ from pre-Covid travels? 

 

Yes I would. I don’t think I’m going to decide against travelling, but I’ll be more cautious about where I will go and what sort of things I’m going to be exposed to. I think that has to be on everyone’s mind. If people are more mindful about that, things should be okay. I wouldn’t want to go to a crowded destination. I’d opt to go for activities that don’t leave me exposed to many people. 

Do you have plans for the rest of 2021?

Oh yes. I’m just waiting for the provincial restrictions to be lifted. 

I have actually been on a bit of a hiatus from Long Weekend; I haven’t been travelling so I haven’t posted anything for the past 11 months. I had planned to take a one-year hiatus because of the pandemic and afterwards I wanted to revamp the whole page and whole blog.  

I plan to head to the east coast as soon as travel restrictions are lifted as it’s the season and go on some adventures. 

Instagram: @longweekendlk