Brexit is happening. The UK voted to leave the EU … now what?
Well, for travelers heading to the UK or Europe in the next few months nothing will be different except that you’ll have something to discuss with the locals and fellow travelers. Everyone seems to have an opinion on this.
You’ll have a better exchange rate as well. The sterling pound is at its lowest against the dollar so take advantage of this.
But the future is murky — for all parties involved. It may take a while for this “divorce” to be official. It’s not going to be pretty. EU officials are indicating they don’t want it to drag on, but it certainly won’t happen over night. What happens to the UK and Europe is hard to predict.
While I’m no expert, I do pride myself on staying on top of the goings on in Europe since this is my travel specialty. Here is my take on Brexit:
The Future of the UK
I think the UK may come to regret their decision. I think the older folks who voted to leave the EU have screwed the younger generation who overwhelmingly voted to remain a part of the EU. And I feel for those young people. I know some young gals who are travel bloggers and they are devastated. I don’t blame them. Their country is going to change. Their ability to freely move from the UK, to say Paris, for a long weekend is going to be a bit more complicated. And it may cost more for them. Who knows.
These young folks may decide to leave the UK and find jobs elsewhere for fear that the economy will not be good, and that job opportunities may be scarce. There could be a “brain drain” with the UK losing young, skilled and talented workers. That would be a shame. But I wouldn’t blame these young people one bit.
Scotland came in on the side of staying in the EU as did Northern Ireland. Scotland has been teetering on the edge of becoming its own nation. Two years ago, the Scots decided to remain part of the UK, but now all bets are off. They like being part of the EU. The Brexit may be the push it needed to finally tell the English to fuck off. The Scots have always been a plucky bunch.
Northern Ireland is harder to predict. It’s a small country and may have a difficult time out on its own. There are those that dream of a united Ireland. Who knows. In this time of craziness, I believe anything is possible. Even a united, peaceful Ireland.
The UK may very well end up being just England and Wales (and Gibraltar which Spain would love back). Gone is the great British empire. I fear we may see a decline in the economy of the UK. It may become poorer. It may lose its clout in the world. The people may lose a notch or two in their standard of living. This makes me sad. I’ve met some wonderful folks from the UK over the years on my travels. I wish them nothing but the best.
And what of Europe and the EU?
Again, difficult to say. Some of the other countries are indicating they’d like to leave the EU too. Nationalism is on the rise. This is not good for a peaceful and prosperous Europe. We’ve seen two very bloody world wars due to nationalism. I hope these lessons are not forgotten.
Europe and the rest of the world needs the EU to remain intact. They are stronger economically as a union. They are safer as a union. If things start to crumble, I fear their neighbor to the East, Russia, and its leader may take advantage of the instability of Europe. I don’t trust him.
Politics aside …
What does the future of Europe travel look like?
I don’t know and I really wish I had a crystal ball. But here are some of my initial thoughts:
Don’t be afraid to travel. Now more than ever Europe needs our dollars. For now, we can freely travel across borders. We can take advantage of most of the countries being on one currency. We can enjoy all that Europe has to offer — rich history, gorgeous natural landscapes, friendly locals, incredible food, cultural traditions that make us smile.
And, as I mentioned earlier, travel to the UK will be cheaper due to the more favorable exchange rate. So, by all means, hop on a plane and see England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In the future, there may be more border crossings where you have to pull out your passport and you need a visa. You may need a different currency for each country. So, it may be more of a hassle. It could become more expensive. But no one knows.
For me, I won’t stop traveling to Europe. Short of war, I’ll be there, relishing in all the treasures that Europe has to offer. My hope is, of course, that the remaining countries stay in the EU. And that the EU stays strong and remains at peace.
The citizens of the UK will have to live with their decision. The UK is still part of Europe. I mean, you can’t pick it up and move it! But their position is now different. And they’ll have to figure things out. Maybe it will be for the best as so many who voted “leave” seem to think. I’m not optimistic. And I’m a glass half full kind of gal.
Whatever happens there’s a lesson in it all. There always is.