Since homo sapiens walked out of Africa about 60,000 years ago, we have been a traveling species.

That early exploratory impulse, which likely lives on in our own desire to travel, brought our ancient ancestors to new vistas and new ways of life. It also led them around the globe to form a rich and disparate array of cultures.

Moving around the world has grown much easier since then. Many of us have lists of places we want to visit — and every expectation that one day we will get to them.

But suddenly we realize, we may not be able to do so anytime soon. The current COVID-19 global pandemic has halted all but essential travel, globally, regionally and locally.

At a time when a potentially deadly illness is spreading rapidly around the world, it no longer seems important to hike the red rocks of Arizona — something that, until a few weeks ago, I expected to be doing. Instead, I am writing this column at my kitchen table.

The tradeoff is bittersweet. Life has been distilled to its core. Family dinners around the table, long telephone conversations with friends and extended family. We are more quiet. We have slowed down.

And still, travel remains on our minds.

Some of us worry about air travel because snowbird parents need to get home. Some wonder about their traditional summer getaways. And some watch videos of their most beloved places, or revisit vacation photos, such as the ones Travel displays today, as a way to pass time. Travel can still bring joy.

In response to this new normal, the Star Tribune Travel section next week moves to the back page of Variety. Please look for us there, where we will continue to address consumer travel issues and celebrate our natural inclination toward wanderlust.

This is a temporary shift. When we can safely explore the world again, the Travel section will return, helping you with those bucket lists.

Contact Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at; follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.