The past year and a half have been difficult. And that’s putting it mildly. We all know someone who has suffered from COVID, and many of us know someone who has died from it. International borders are mostly shut, most of us are stuck at home; and a lot of us can’t leave. If you’re like me, and you probably are if you’re reading this post, you miss travelling. Facebook has been reminding you of your travel memories. You still have all those travel photos you haven’t organized yet; perhaps sorting through those will get you through the pandemic – it won’t, but you can try. But what do you do when the cabin fever starts to kick in? The four walls of your house are becoming overly familiar, you’re starting to miss the cheap hostels that you used to torture yourself by staying in, and you wish you were buying coffee from an airport on your way to your next trip destinaton. I have some great tips below for you if you feel like kicking this feeling in the butt…at least for the time being.
1. Zoom those International Friends
Yes, I went there – Zoom *eyeroll*. Are you sick of zoom yet? I certainly am. But even though we all might be feeling like Zoombies, having a ‘face to face’ conversation with those friends overseas really helps. Perhaps they can leave their house where they are and can show you their small corner of their country – and you can show them your country. Mental health has been one of those things that isn’t talked about enough, ever, especially during this pandemic and it has decreased significantly since COVID started. Having just one zoom convo with an overseas friend, or an interstate friend, you haven’t seen in a while can really boost your confidence – and perhaps the four walls of your little home will feel a bit bigger.
I absolutely love this game. A friend mentioned it to me when the pandemic started and I have been addicted since. The premise of the game is you select a place in the world and you have 5 rounds to guess where you are, and each round you’re in a different part of that place. For example, you choose the United Kingdom – the map maker has chosen heaps of random places in the UK and you have landed in 5 of those places. I absolutely love this game because I can choose to go to any country in the world and feel like I am almost there – much like going into street view on Google Maps (I know I am not the only one that has done this several times over the past year), but with a twist that will make your time in the map a bit more fun.
3. Google Arts and Culture
Do you love going to Museums while Travelling? Or how about travelling around a city by foot? Google Arts and Culture is able to bring the world to you. You can scroll through Van Goghs artworks, find out more about Japanese cuisine, or play a cultural crossword. One of my favourite things about Google Arts and Culture is being bale to virtually walk through the Modern Museum of Art or the Victoria & Albert Museum. Culture is at your finger tips, even when you’re boxed in your little home in your corner of the world.
Now this might seem like a given but I can’t recommend this enough. Books can transport you to anywhere in the world, and often places that aren’t even in our world. If you have an itching desire to go to Hawaii, you can look up ‘Books Based in Hawaii’ and there you will be for the time being. Goodreads is amazing for this! I think that I have bought the most books I have ever bought in my whole life during the pandemic – I have no shelves left! But at least I can travel between Middle Earth and Cornwall anytime I want. Another good idea is finding a travel writer – I recommend Bill Bryson – and you can live through their stories as they take you to country after country. The Lonely Planet also has a diverse collection of really good travel books. If you some spare cash, you could subscribe to a travel magazine – you never know, this could inspire you for your first trip out of the pandemic.
5. Learn to Cook from another Cuisine
Do you remember visiting that place with that really amazing dish? Perhaps try to learn how to make it? Or you can set a different cuisine for each night of the week – Monday is pizza night, Tuesday is curry night, Wednesday is Thai night…and so on. One of the best things about travelling is being able to try new foods and with the internet at our fingertips we are able to reach thousands of recipes from across the world. The Pandemic might be a good excuse to stick to the 2 minute noodles, but we both know Pad Thai is so much better.
6. Virtual Tours
While the pandemic has been terrible, for the obvious reasons, many great things have been created or discovered because of it. Most tourist industries have suffered a great loss to the lack of travelling in the pandemic, but many have adapted to the growth in people being online. This kind of fits in to Google Arts and Culture as you can do many virtual tours through there. However, not every castle and museum will be on there. Not every tour is free – some I have found cost around $20 aud, others might be more expensive or free. Many places also have live cams – if you get bored of the farm animals in the UK, there are plenty of live cams of animals in Africa.
7. Travel Films and Shows
A classic idea, which you might already be onto by the time you’re reading this. With many people subscribing to Netflix and other streaming services, we have a multitude of travel films and shows at just a click away. My favourite documentary hosts are Tony Robinson, Rick Stein (technically hosts cooking shows), and David Attenborough (an icon!). There are many other types of travel films available as well, Into the Wild being one of my favourites. Travel TV shows are another amazing way to pass the time, while being in the travel mindset. They are often packed full with amazing stories from all around the world – I highly recommend the Railway Journeys series by George Bradshaw, Men in Kilts with Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish and any cooking show you can find.
8. Plan a Future Trip
This might sound a bit depressing because you would be planning a trip you aren’t sure you can go on it yet, however, planning a future trip can really put your agitated mind at rest. This is really good for those mad budgeters (like me), and overplanners. So far, I have planned 7 potential trips with my friend – we will probably only go on one, if at all. Planning a trip can take a long time, and it can be fiddly, but we can all agree it is one of the most fun parts of travelling. I recommend keeping trip advisor open and having your spreadsheet + word documents open!
9. Travel Locally
Some of us are lucky and we are able to travel locally. If you can, do it! As I said before, many tourist industries across the world have suffered because of the pandemic so lets support our local areas. Go to that winery you always drive past but never go into, or perhaps take the dog for a camping trip to the nearby national park for the weekend. Whatever your local region has, go out there and discover it! There are so many parts of my local region that I didn’t know we had – who knew we had so many wineries and breweries nearby.
10. Join a Travel Group
Travel groups are an amazing way to connect to people while travelling, but as we are all in the midst of a pandemic, we are all in the same boat – none of us are travelling as much as we would like. I’m apart of a few women only travel groups, which are fantastic! When I go to a new country, I know there will be someone apart of one of those groups that would like to meet up for a coffee. But, alas, none of us are going to do that anytime soon – unless there are some people in your region and you can meet up. Sometimes they might even have virtual meetups – see point 1 about zoom! On these groups you can also just talk about all things travel.
11. Travel Themed Subscriptions
Magazines aren’t the only things you can subscribe to! There are numerous amazing travel magazines out there, but there are also heaps of travel related subscriptions services. You can join a travel themed book club or subscribe to a box of delicious food from overseas. Instead of going into the world, you can bring the world to you.
12. An International PenPal
This is something I have done with my friend Taryn from Texas (Check her out at TarynUpTheMap). We write each other letters every month or so and honestly, it is wonderful! We get to tell each other what is happening in our lives in lockdown and we get to send each other stuff in the envelopes! I can’t recommend this more. While it might seem redundant in the age of instant messaging, but receiving a written letter can be incredibly satisfying. Sometimes travel facebook groups organize penpals with people in the group – which can always be fun.
Organise your Travel Photos
You may have already done this, I certainly have. But many of us get home from a trip and leave our travel photos unorganised – they sit in our phones or cameras, we occasionally look at them and reminisce, post on insta, and that’s sometimes it. However, what you can do is sort through them all! Going through all your travel photos while you’re stuck at home can be quite sad, but it can also be fun to go down memory lane and escape for a moment. I have organised my photos by trips – so my trip to the UK in 2019 is in a folder call “2019 UK Travels”, and each photo is labelled with the year 2019 and the location of the photo – then when I really want a photo of Stonehenge all I have to do is search it in my google drive. It will make things easier in the future and it can help you think about previous travels while you’re stuck at home.
So there you have it, some ideas to keep sane while in the pandemic. Remember, this won’t last forever. As the wise old Gandalf said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us,” and “Even darkness must pass. A new day will come and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer,” which I think is incredibly relevant in these times. You will step on a plane again. You will be packing your suitcases soon. The pandemic will pass, but right now, all we have to do is decide what to do with the time we are given – perhaps you will do some of the things in the list above.
Tell me what you think below? How are you going in the pandemic? Do you have any tips for travelholics?
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