February 19, 2021

The New Normal

Almost one year ago, in March of 2020, I put a storage tote on my front deck to allow deliveries to be dropped off while social distancing. This week, that storage bin was upgraded for the new normal.

This bench is also a storage box. My wife and I can sit here and watch the sunset in the evening, or enjoy our morning coffee outdoors in the spring.

Now that I have become accustomed to having deliveries dropped off at the front door, I don't plan on going back to by old ways. I like that groceries and other deliveries can be delivered to my house and left on the deck for me to retrieve when I'm ready. I can place my order and turn my attention to work tasks. The storage bench protects deliveries from the weather until I have a free moment to bring it in.

There will be many changes like this which will not return to the way things were done before the pandemic. Even a short disruption can have a lasting impact on our behaviors. However, this pandemic has caused everyone to adjust for a year already.

Location Independence

In the past year, a large portion of the world leaned their job can be done from anywhere. I have been working online for over a decade already and have love the location independence that comes with my job. However, this is completely new for so many people.

As I have watch people become digital nomads, one of the first things people with location independence do is run off on the trips they have been putting off. Eventually, they realize that location independence includes the option to stay and not just the ability to travel.

In this "new normal" I think there will be a lot of people traveling as they learn what is possible with their new found freedom. They will eventually realize, as I have, that it's great to have a home base as a launchpad for your travels. This is why I am investing in my garden and developing my homestead in eastern NC.

Online Shopping

At first, a lot of companies reduced their budgets for marketing because there was some uncertainty in the market at the beginning of the pandemic. Shortly after this, online ordering spiked as people were stuck at home during quarantine. From groceries to entertainment, everything was purchased online.

The increase in online shopping that came from the pandemic has continued throughout the year, resulting in some reports of over 40% increased ecommerce revenue compared with 2019. I expect this trend will continue in the foreseeable future.

Human Connection

People have spent a significant amount of time away from friends and family during the pandemic, myself included. This has left people looking for ways to create human connection, and may be part of the reason that Clubhouse is becoming a popular social media network.

In the months ahead, I expect that people will return to group events, dinner parties, and family gatherings. As the vaccine is delivered, people will place a high value on time spent in-person with their friends and family rather than just on video calls.

I know that Barbie and I will be planning a trip to Asheville so we can visit with our friends and family there. We will also be planning a trip outside the USA when our passports can be used again.

Outdoor Spaces

Another major shift in the behavior of people in the USA has been the move toward outdoor spaces. Throughout 2020, there was an significant increase in RV purchases and campgrounds have been booked to capacity. In addition to commercial campers and RVs, van conversions became even more popular than they already were.

The pandemic also inspired people to take up gardening or expand their existing gardens. Many people added chickens to their backyards. Homegrown food became quite popular during the pandemic and this is likely to continue into the future.

This year, campgrounds are already receiving a significant number of reservations. Similarly, seed stores are experiencing high demand from online orders.

If these trends toward outdoor spaces continue, we could develop more resilience in our society. We can be less reliant on distribution networks by producing some portion of our food on our own properties. Spending more time outdoors can improve our health and develop deeper connections with friends and family. Even more, the ubiquity of internet access and location independent work could allow us to develop even better work-life balance.

Have a question? Just contact me.

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