By Dan Schilling
The world is emerging from the greatest global human disruption in living memory. With that is a return to travel for business and vacation. From a health standpoint the COVID-19 pandemic will either permanently, or for at least the foreseeable future, alter such things as why and how we conduct these activities. Bill Gates, a recognized student of global trends, has stated, “My prediction would be that over 50% of business travel… will go away.” Though that’s a stretch in my opinion, it’s no doubt true to a great extent.
As someone who engages with people face to face for a living, I recognize the value and even necessity of human contact. We are social creatures by nature and habit.
Regardless of when we begin venturing forth out into the far reaches of the globe and what type of changes we experience to do so, health-related guidelines or restrictions will doubtless become a permanent part of travel, especially internationally. Watch for such terms as vaccination “passports” to enter your lexicon. Many of us who globe trotted before the digital age remember toting our yellow INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATES OF VACCINATION with its dual French print and World Health Organization validation as an insert in our passports.
The International Air Transport Association is promoting what it calls the Travel Pass https://www.iata.org/en/programs/passenger/travel-pass/ as a means to validate individuals’ immunizations and compliance with immigrations requirements around the world.
This focus on individual health verification and surge of effort is similar to the security response that affected international travel in the wake of 9/11 when safety considerations went from a perfunctory inconvenience to a primary consideration for both the professional business and casual holiday traveler.
The disruption we experienced and our slow return to human interaction leads us to another professional who has suffered economically during the pandemic disruption: the criminal who makes their living off targeting tourists and foreigners. If there’s a silver lining in this widespread turmoil that’d surely be one of them.
The downside to the professional criminal’s economic discomfort, however, is that these same sorry sods are as anxious to engage you as you are to engage the world. In this new environment, with its modified social interaction norms and health certifications, it’s more important than ever to be situationally aware of your surroundings and attentive to that inner voice of self-preservation we call intuition.
Those two tools, situational awareness and intuition, are available any time you choose to access them. And therein lies the trap for most people. Rather than tap into them most people move about in a state of distraction. Yet situational awareness and intuition are the greatest assets in your immediate safety inventory even though many don’t really know what they are. So what are they?
If you’re familiar with any of my books you’ll know I’m not a fan of technobabble or esoteric expertise so here they are in simple to understand and apply terms.
Situational awareness is knowing where I am and what’s around me, what’s going on in my surroundings and my place in them. Although it sounds simple in concept, I encourage you to stop right now and really think about it. Think about the definition above and your place in time right now, with this article in hand or as you read it on your laptop at home or in the office.
Where are you? What is around you? What’s happening in those same surroundings and what is your place in them? In other words, how do the events and people around you relate to you and you to them? All of these things combined form your Situational Awareness. And SA, as it’s widely termed in the military, allows you to recognize criminals before they become a threat.
That is the personal safety key to returning to travel, being aware like never before of threats.
Situational awareness is an externally shaped sense, affected by what you look for, how you identify it, and the manner in which those things or people affect you. Intuition on the other hand is internal.
I don’t want to bore you with Merriam-Webster’s rather clinical definition. Instead, this quote makes, if I may say, intuitive sense to most people: “There’s trouble on the street tonight. I can feel it in my bones. I had a premonition that he should not go alone,” from the song “Smuggler’s Blues” by former Eagles member Glenn Frey. These opening lyrics provide a great mental image of the essence of Intuition. I have another personal version I’ve refined over many years conducting special and clandestine operations for the US military: Intuition is a quick and ready insight into someone or something. To me, your Intuition is an unconscious intelligence, one that resides in your subconscious and functions without you actually thinking about it.
The powerful thing about intuition is that it’s responsible for saving the lives of many of your ancestors throughout history. And in order for you to allow it to do its job you need to simply do… nothing. It works for you. It asserts itself automatically when the need arises. A handy tool if ever one existed. The key is to not ignore or otherwise overrule this powerful threat receiver.
Now then, here’s how you apply both of them as you return to globetrotting. When you’re in the airport, catching an Uber, dining out, walking foreign streets, DON’T LOOK AT YOUR PHONE. Allow your eyes to see what’s around you so that you can remain aware of your surroundings. Allow your inner Darwinian gene pool defense mechanism (intuition) to do its job by keeping the channels open so it can speak to you. And when it does, in that tiny voice, or slight tug at your consciousness, listen. By using both you’ll be free to move about the planet safely as we step out of this past year and into a new world.
For a greater understanding and application of situational awareness and intuition pick up a copy of my new book, The Power of Awareness, available from booksellers everywhere or visit https://www.danschillingbooks.com/