During the Pandemic, It’s Time to Stay Put—and It Goes Against Our Core Values

The call is really not to “do” something, but to “not do” something.

During the Pandemic, It’s Time to Stay Put—and It Goes Against Our Core Values

As citizens in AFAR’s headquarters of San Francisco and New York practice social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus, founders Greg Sullivan and Joe Diaz reflect on what this means for their travel publication.

Photo by Ryan DeBerardinis/Shutterstock

We’re the kind of people who like to tackle challenges head on. We are entrepreneurs with Type A personalities. We are also huge believers in the power of travel to broaden one’s perspective, to create empathy, and to bring the world together. So deep is this belief, that we launched a travel media company 11 years ago during the recession of 2008/2009 to inspire, guide, and enable deeper, richer, and more fulfilling travel experiences. We are, and always have been, committed to making travel a force for good in the world.

When the Egyptian revolution took place in January 2011, we immediately went to Cairo to support the Egyptian people in what we knew was going to be a difficult transition. When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, we went there shortly after the first hotels reopened to encourage visitors to come back to the island. Our inclination has always been to not let fear hold us back from positive action. And that is the way we’ve been approaching the coronavirus outbreak, too.

But as the coronavirus story has unfolded, we’ve found ourselves in an unusual situation. Being based in New York and San Francisco, the call is really not to “do” something, but to “not do” something. The responsible thing to do seems to be to stay where we are and not travel—for now. With testing not widely available and a virus that can be spread when one doesn’t have symptoms, we feel we should reduce the number of people with whom we come into contact. Not out of concern for ourselves, but for others and for society at large. This is so difficult. We’ve had to fight our lifelong inclination to get in the action, and instead we are called to stay out of the action.

In the meantime, we are putting our Type A personalities to work with the rest of our incredible team at AFAR to provide daily stories that keep our audience up to date with the latest travel news, as well as to continue to inspire your wanderlust for when you are ready to travel again, which we sincerely hope will be soon.

>> Next: A Recent Trip to Asia Reveals the Toll of Coronavirus on Tourism

Greg Sullivan is the cofounder and CEO of AFAR. You can reach Greg at greg@afar.com.
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