Travel and the Pandemic

At Travel Purist, we’re aghast at the turn that the pandemic has taken in our home country, India. Surrounded as we are by sickness and grief, travel is both, the last thing on our minds as well as the first. To some, the thought of travel might seem like an indulgence right now but to those separated from their loved ones during this difficult time, it is a necessity. No doubt, when we finally speak of these times in the past tense, travel will be therapeutic to all.

When we began the series The Pandemic Travel Diaries around this time last year, we could never have imagined that a year on, lockdowns would become the norm. This month, we have the privilege of featuring the pandemic adventure of ex-BBC Scotland journalist Della Matheson. Della and her husband, Ian Wright, were the last ones out of Zanzibar before flights shut operations and countries closed their borders for the first time, last year.

Find a snippet of the piece, along with a throwback from the archives, below.

Meanwhile if you'd like to donate towards the Covid crisis here or help in any way, this month's Purist Picks shares Conde Nast Traveller's list of organisations helping with the crisis, as well as a link to Indiashield, a website and app providing information on Covid resources and support groups.

Stay safe. Stay well.

The Pandemic Travel Diaries: Last Ones Out Of Zanzibar

A blissful beach vacation comes to an abrupt end. Della Matheson writes:

"I met Winnie just over a year ago. She was working in our guest house in Zanzibar. At the time, rumours of the virus were widespread, but the implications were not. Life seemed tranquil and normal. Our room was cool and spacious, with a palm-shaded rooftop terrace overlooking the sea. Dinner in the restaurant was sociable, and there was no suggestion then that we would soon be caught up in a maelstrom."
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What does your pandemic diary look like?

Were you stranded far away from home? Did you get to travel and discover someplace interesting? Or did you rediscover your neighbourhood? Perhaps you sought travel virtually, through books, films, music, food and events.

Write to us at to share your experience on Travel Purist.

From The Archives: Puducherry, The Route Less Travelled

From staying at a theatre commune to participating in reforestation, Rhea Bhambhani provides a glimpse of alternative living in and around the former French colony, and tells you how to be a part of it.

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Purist Picks

If you're wondering how to help those affected by COVID-19 in India, here are ways in which you could contribute:
Help families in need, migrant workers, daily wage labourers and others through this verified list of trusts, charities and organisations put together by Conde Nast Traveller India.
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Here's another verified list of trusts, charities and organisations collated by Conde Nast Traveller India that are helping create positive change on the ground and which accept international donations.
Continue Reading provides necessary information on Covid resources, support groups, vaccination and volunteering. 
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Image source for Purist Picks above in the order they appear: State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) personnel holds a stress ball during plasma donation at the blood bank of Sassoon hospital in Pune. Photo: Pratham Gokhale/Hindustan Times via Getty Images| Health workers wearing personal protective equipment arrive to take part in a check up camp at a slum in Mumbai. Photo:| Image from
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