Introducing Volume 31: The Freedom Issue

Travel has always been synonymous with escape and The Freedom Issue explores this in myriad ways. Whether the pieces were written before the pandemic or looking back from lockdown, their thoughts on freedom transcend the current moment, and consider the future of travel in this new context.

all the Editor’s Letters I’ve penned during my time at
SUITCASE, this, my final one, has probably been the most difficult
and unusual to fathom. The concept for the Freedom Issue was
decided in very different times to the unforeseen ones we now
inhabit, and the irony of seeing out its final stages from the
confines of my flat as travel restrictions were put in place, trips
fell through and the fragility of our casual liberties became
quickly apparent was not lost on me.

As the months rolled on, the bars between days on the calendar
blurring into one blank highway of postponed plans and
introspection, we have all witnessed the failures and fractures of
governments and communities worldwide to protect their most
vulnerable, as well as the ensuing and necessary escalation of the
global movement against systemic racism and discrimination that
renders us unequal not just in times of shared trauma, but every
day. Inevitably, then, an atmosphere of uncertainty pervades the
pages ahead – of what it now means to travel, of who is and who
should be granted the access and ability to wander, and of how we
move forward from here, in every sense of the word.

However, there is beauty in uncertainty, too. There are no easy
answers as to how we can navigate the world and our impact on it
more thoughtfully, whether with regards to the natural environment,
entrenched inequality or the legacy we leave. But if we have
learned anything from the horror show that is 2020, it is that is
absolutely imperative to spend time trying to find solutions.
Because while moments of crisis can seem terrifying and opaque,
they also offer the opportunity for total reinvention. As writer
Rebecca Solnit beautifully puts it, “It’s as if the pack ice has
broken up, the water starts flowing again and boats can move
through places they could not during winter.”

Whether the pieces in this issue were written before the
pandemic, looking back from lockdown or even in the midst of it,
their thoughts on freedom transcend the current moment and offer
some blueprints for what travel might become within this new
context. There are essays on rediscovering the value and wonder of
places close to home; the impact of overtourism on communities, and
the need to refocus on those who would benefit from our attention
most; the motifs we use to represent freedom, from cowboys to
rainbows, and who they liberate and restrict; and the complicated
ethics of exploring the remotest corners and cultures of the

Travel has always been synonymous with escape – and I hope that
by the time these words reach you, you might be reading them from
somewhere more exotic than your sofa – but in the new world order,
true freedom will not mean being able to hop on and off planes and
go wherever we want, whenever we want. Instead, those of us lucky
enough to emerge with our health and our means intact have a
responsibility to rethink the validity of what we once assumed was
our right. It has been a privilege to investigate these ideas with
you and our wonderful contributors over the last 11 issues. As our
freedom is returned to us, I hope we will use it wisely and

Our former Digital Editor-in-Chief, India Dowley, will
oversee the print magazine from the next issue. Going forward, she
will head up both our print and online platforms.