As the COVID-19 pandemic rages worldwide, I consider myself fortunate for two reasons. The first is that neither I nor any of my loved ones have been infected (as of the time of writing). The second, while less-important, is something of a miracle: In one of the rare moments of my adult life, I had no trips planned even before this virus began running amuck.
This is not to say I can’t empathize or even sympathize with the millions of people who did, and now have to somehow accept that in addition to the loss of employment, health and the freedom to dine-in at their favorite Mexican restaurant, there’s the loss of that much-anticipated vacation that is now put on hold, perhaps even indefinitely. If that describes you, know that you have my condolences. I too mourn your loss of the vacation that never came to be.
In the meantime, while we’re (mostly) all at home, binge-watching TV and avoiding our bathroom scales, there are three easy steps that you can take that will help to temper this loss, even if it can’t replace it. I’ve dug through the Trip Accomplice archives to bring you these still-pertinent suggestions, which I can sum up in three words: Relive, Review & Research.
Early on I shared some insights on the benefits of keeping a travel journal in the post An Accidental Autobiography. At this point I’ve chronicled more than 26 years worth of travel in this very manner, and now that I’m stuck at home with more time than usual, it has been a great opportunity to read through their pages and relive the memories that would be completely forgotten had I not written it down. I’ve also taken the opportunity to interrupt my TV viewing with videos taken from past trips, allowing me a glimpse of the world at large that I am currently unable to experience in person without a ventilator.
With weeks if not months of quarantine ahead, this is a great chance to catch up on going through those thousands of digital photos from your last few trips that exist solely on your hard drive, and do something that will bring them to the light of day. Years ago I wrote a post Photo Book Basics for the Traveling Photographer in which I detailed some tried and true techniques to transform those gigabytes of unseen data into a showcase presentation that will properly preserve your trip. In summary, it’s time to choose the best 150-300 of your travel photos and organize them in a way that will tell the story in a way to engage even the most apathetic of audiences – with the added bonus that you can do everything online and have it shipped straight to your house with no social distancing necessary. Sure it takes some time, but for most of us that’s a rather moot point at the moment.
If history is any indicator, this too shall pass, which means that at some point we’ll all be free to move about the planet to fulfill our wanderlust postponed. So why not get yourself ready by starting your research? One of the first posts on this blog was me waxing poetic about the joy of guidebooks, a nod to the pleasure that comes from planning trips, not just going on them. You can address your wanderlust, if not sate it, by discovering the details you may have overlooked during your original trip planning, or get started on a new one. Of course YouTube is filled with travel videos of varying degrees of watchability, where you should be able to find some video footage of your intended destination. And if you haven’t already read it, I shamelessly must recommend my 2015 travel ebook You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper (a surprisingly-prophetic title I might add) for some great advice on destinations across all seven continents.
Stay Safe and Dream On
It’s still too soon to predict the when and how this current scourge will pass, but hopefully by following the abovementioned advice it can do something to fill in the time and even allay the anxiety and disappointment of vacations lost. By turning your attentions to something you can control, perhaps you too will be able to subsist on memories and projects until it is once again time to venture out into this amazing planet, where we will be free to gather with friends, to embrace our loved ones, and find paper hygiene products in abundance, the way life should be.
Do you have a suggestion or comment on how to handle wanderlust postponed? Leave a comment below.
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