My passport is beaconing me and I must go. But, wait … it’s Spring of 2020. I’m not going anywhere. If you’re like the rest of the human race, you’ve already painfully cancelled multiple trips while slowly losing hope regarding your summer plans. These desperate times have required us wanderlusters to find new ways to appease the inner travel beast who is growing more and more restless with each quarantined week.
The key to satisfying a gypsy heart is to swap out travel with something personal. Unfortunately, the virtual tours of major museums or touristy gardens aren’t fulfilling for me. What works for one person may not work for another. Below are 10 curated ways I’m fueling my restless spirit. Hopefully some of the ideas listed below can be modified for your taste. While I prefer beachy destinations, you might be a mountain nomad or a city explorer. Just alter the ideas a bit to make it work for your needs and together we’ll assuage that burning desire to roam until further notice.
Here are my top 10 favorite ways to pursue adventure and export myself from the safety of my home.
- Get lost in reverie by reviewing photos of past trips. I’m a few years behind on printing photo albums to epic destinations and am using this time to pull them together. In doing so, I’m reminiscing and seeing the experiences through fresh eyes. If you’ve been there done that, then get lost down the rabbit hole that is Instagram. The creativity of some travelers is really impressive. Check out @erinoutdoors, an outdoor photographer who has recreated many of her shots to indoor miniature format with items from her home.
- A highlight of any trip is tasting new flavors. From local spices to new cooking techniques, your palette is expanded with unexpected aromas, seasonings, and zests. Sampling newness doesn’t have to be isolated to travel if you are brave enough to try in your own kitchen. Recalling our short stint of living in Amsterdam, I was craving some comfort food that was readily available in Europe. Baking equates comfort so I baked a Dutch Baby, which is technically German but just as consolutory in difficult times. All you need is already in the packed pantry. Who knew this was so easy to make?
Taste is not limited to just food; drinks fall into this category too. I’ve gotten into my stowed away stash of tea from Taiwan which brings me back to the beauty of the land. Or, if you don’t have anything on hand, try a sample of coffee from around the world. I recently gifted a sample pack from Driftaway Coffee and was impressed with the US company with an international twist. They’ve taken great effort to support global farmers with sustainability. This company roasts and ships out of Brooklynn and sends an onsite video from the far away farm. The video and the brew will whisk you away, if only for a minute or two.
- Reading can transport you to another time or land or even dimension. Take part in Melinda and Robert Blanchard’s journey of following their dreams and passion by picking up A Trip to the Beach; Living on Island Time in the Caribbean. While it was originally published in 2001, the memoir is timeless. It documents their restaurant opening on Antigua, including recipes that leave you not only craving sand between your toes but their famous corn chowder too. For fiction, who didn’t fall in love with the 2012 Beautiful Ruins by Jesse Walters? It’s worth a re-read just to hopscotch around the world again and to experience the fictional port of Vergogna. The location feels just as real as any coastal cliff village in Italy. Find your next read easily in Goodreads and filter the genre to Travel. Find a destination that interests you and dive in.
- If you’ve travelled extensively, you’ve seen the underbelly of some countries from animal cruelty to child labor to unbelievable poverty. If you have anything to spare, donate to a place you recall from past trips. Thai Soi Dog, a sanctuary and adoption service for street dogs in Phuket, Thailand, is struggling as they depended heavily on volunteers and merchandise sales to assist their business. A donation to an organization can make you feel a little more connected to the efforts and fulfills your desire to help during this devastating time. Plus, it can become your next philanthropic destination.
- Become a student of culture without travel by taking a class. The most common way to tap into another culture is through language. You gain a greater sense of a country’s priorities when you begin experiencing the language. Babbel and other online apps create an easy way to practice for as few as 5 minutes a day with reminders to prompt you to tap in. And with a few extra minutes on your hands lately, why not try a new language to prep for the next trip, or resurrect a language from the past?
Classes don’t have to be language based. My first time meditating in the zen style was with a Sri Lankan monk at a temple in Japan. It was one of the richest spiritual experiences while living overseas. I carry his teachings with me everyday. I’m tempted to try additional classes and found AirBnB creatively offering classes in different locations as an augmentation of their business model. They are offering Italian cooking classes with a nana, Puerto Rico salsa dancing, meditation with a Japanese Buddhist monk, and so much more.
- Movies and TV shows can take you away just like reading does. Conde Nast Traveler has pulled together a comprehensive list of the best travel movies over the past 50 years. Check it out to see if your version, such as Wild or Out of Africa or Beaches, made the cut.
I also recommend anything featuring Anthony Bourdain (Hulu is carrying a few series) because it’s never just about the food. He delved deep into the politics and viewpoints of the local people to immerse himself and bring awareness to us all. I can’t help but think he would be really proud of all the cooking in every kitchen across America right now, and maybe more importantly, the communal dining taking place within families.
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.”Anthony Bourdain
7. While the virtual tours aren’t giving me the escapism that I’m searching for, I am enjoying the livestreams. Every night, @discoverla streams the sunset over the Pacific complete with palm trees swaying in the breeze. It’s become my ritual to tune in and relax.
- Hashtags will lead you to surprising places and may be the key to unlocking the door to where all the other gypsy souls are hanging out. Search via your favorite social media and watch the minutes tick by. Here are a few of the my favorite hashtags: #iamatraveller, #stillatraveller, #traveldiaries, #wanderlust, #wewilltravelagain, #golater. Or be more specific and search specific locations to see real photos by real people of activities and sites.
- Stay home but keep dreaming. That last trip you just cancelled? Just postpone it but make it even better with an extra day trip thrown in. That vacation that takes significant planning (African safari), includes lengthy visa processing (Russia), requires advance preparation physically (Machu Picchu) and the like? Now is the time to work on the funds, itinerary, paperwork or training. There will be time for spontaneity again but right now, we have the luxury of pulling a complicated circuit together, ferreting out the details from others, and identifying the less explored paths that require a substantial time investment. Invest!
- Personally, my laptop does not have the processor requirements but I do enjoy when someone uses a virtual background during the many Zoom calls. There are a variety of backdrops to choose from within Zoom and countless more you can upload. Pick a destination and you can easily drop yourself onto a beach, ski resort, field of daisies, even space.
Don’t lose the faith, fellow journeymen. Our wellness and bliss may be on hold but that doesn’t mean we cannot find a way to adapt. Your mental health needs it. Keep dreaming of traveling again to see our wonderful world!