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Travel FOMO may trigger feelings of grief in young, says psychologist

It was okay when the rest of the world was shut down with us, but now that borders are opening elsewhere, the travel ramifications on our younger generations are starting to take their toll.

Ahhh, the gap year. That glorious time when you jump off the treadmill and explore a world different to the one you know. For many, it’s a rite of passage taken before ‘the real world’ begins. If it weren’t for my own gap year I’d be in a different career, with a different partner and not anywhere near as happy in my life as I am now. 


But for many Australian young people, the opportunity to travel unencumbered may have passed thanks to the pandemic. 


“One of the big losses…right now, particularly for young people, has been the loss of the imagined future,” Curtin University associate professor of psychology Lauren Breen told the ABC.


According to Breen, cancelled plans and lost opportunities — such as missing out on overseas travel — could cause people to experience grief.


And that grief can be made worse by the FOMO caused by the opening of other countries such as the US and UK, Breen said.  


Deloitte Access Economics tourism lead Adele Labine-Romain told the ABC that "it will be frustrating for the young people in Australia” to be “quite a few months behind” other countries. 


But while some young people will delay the trips they were planning, others will simply move on. 


"For a lot of our young people, the opportunity to travel overseas over these number of years will be lost," she said.

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Published: 14 July 2021

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