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Accepted Paper:

Navigating through the corona waves Stories of travel restrictions, uncertainty and travelers’ strategies  
Cristian Terry (Independent scholar)

Paper short abstract:

Through different travel stories, this paper sheds light on travel restrictions, travel uncertainty and travelers’ strategies to cope with the coronavirus situation. It highlights human agency and strategies to manage this situation, refusing to be confined or immobilized.

Paper long abstract:

The COVID-19 outbreak has severely compromised travel and tourism activities worldwide (Gössling et al., 2021; Milano and Koens, 2021; Terry, 2020, 2021). In the beginning of the pandemic, national borders were closed, and traveling was prohibited, except for some repatriation trips. Travel was then progressively resumed with several measures to prevent the spread of the virus (e.g., use of face masks, HEPA filter equipment, PCR tests, vaccine certificates), including travel restrictions which differ from one place to another or from one mode of transport to another.

Collecting different travel stories from South America and Europe from multi-sited (auto)ethnographic work (February – November 2021), this paper sheds light on travel restrictions, uncertainty when traveling, and travelers’ strategies to cope with the coronavirus situation. Through different examples, it argues that people who are willing to travel, will find a way to keep traveling despite restrictions, doubts, and difficulties in reaching their destination. They navigate through the corona waves (e.g., the Delta wave, the Omicron wave), at times altering their modes of transport, sometimes even crossing control borders illegally or using counterfeit documents to proceed with their journey.

The paper highlights the human agency in managing travel restrictions in order to accomplish desire to travel, often motivated by personal reasons (e.g., tourism, visiting friends or family, international conference participation). It shows how limiting ‘non-essential’ travels as a set of anti-covid measures promoted by national governments can be overcome by the people’s desire and strategies for not being confined or immobilized.

Panel P010a
Navigating hurdles and pacing (im)mobilities in times of corona [AnthroMob Network] I
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -