3 Easy Steps to Allay the Disappointment of Wanderlust Postponed

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Timbavati Reserve, South Africa

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.

Relive

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Practicing the art of documentation, Montezuma Falls, Costa Rica, 2006

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.

Review

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Building a photo book is both easy and a great creative outlet.

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.

Research

You Can Keep Your Adventure book

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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A Self-Interview with Ben Pastore, Author of You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper

 Greetings! This is Trip Accomplice travel writer and blogger extraordinaire Ben Pastore. Today I’m happy to have with me author Ben Pastore as he talks to us about his new eBook You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper. Great to have you with us today, Ben. Thanks for stopping by.

BP: Well, considering that I was already here, it’s no big deal. I’m happy to have this opportunity to get the word out about my new book.

TA: No doubt. So, to get right into things, what would you say your book is about?

BP: Well, Ben, basically it is a travel guide, though not in the vein of most others out there. This isn’t a directory of places to stay or a town by town breakdown of a given country. It’s more like an overview of some 40 destinations in over thirty countries to go along with my own blend of anecdotes, travel tips and industry insights – all in a witty style intended to entertain as well as inform.

TA: Sounds pretty different. What would you say is the greatest difference between your book and other guides on the market?

BP: Good question. I’d have to say it comes down to the target audience. If you’re planning a trip and need detailed information about a given place such as hotels, museum hours and restaurant reviews, my book is not for you. I readily defer to the experts at Lonely Planet or Insight Guides. But if you’re interested in travel in general, are looking for ideas or inspiration to make that trip of a lifetime, and/or want to have an overview of the world before settling on a specific destination, then You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper would be a perfect fit.

TA: Thanks for clearing that up

BP: Well, I know how easily you get confused.

TA: Ain’t that the truth. So, getting back to your target audience, who would you say would be the ‘ideal’ reader?

BP: Since the writing style and message is designed to appeal to any number of audiences, it’s hard for me to say there’s only one ‘type’ of reader that would enjoy it. Ultimately, I’d refer to the subtitle on the cover “A Witty Guide for the Armchair Traveler”, which implies that it would be a person who doesn’t always have the opportunity to travel, but enjoys doing so vicariously. It would also indicate that they would enjoy their world tour with a dash of humor as well.

TA: The humor aspect is evident even from the title. Any explanations you’d like to share? Is it really about toilet paper?

BP: No, no, it’s not a book full of potty humor. I originally got the title from one of my early blog posts where I mused about how glad I am to explore the world with the benefit of modern comforts such as air conditioning and flush toilets, as opposed to early explorers who often had to bear up under hideous conditions. I thought that title would best describe most people’s preferred comfort level when it comes to travel. They might be up for some adventure, but not at the expense of indoor plumbing. I know that that’s where I draw the line (camping aside). I figured that my readers would do so as well, and the title is sort of a guarantee that everything I go on to describe in the book would still be within the readers’ comfort zone.

TA: But isn’t  travel all about getting out of your comfort zone?

BP: Sure, but there are all sorts of comfort zones. I can immerse myself in a foreign culture, language and landscape without necessarily going to physical extremes. That’s kind of my point: Embrace the differences; revel in the similarities.

TA: Okay, okay, no need to get snippy. How about the other parts of your book besides the destination guide? What can readers get out of it?

BP: First, I’m not being snippy. You’ll know when I’m being snippy. Second, the other parts of the book are in my opinion essential because they put the destination guide into context. The first section prepares the reader’s mind to not only be open to learning about the places that follow, but how to make the most of their own travels – even in the early planning stage. Section three not only espouses some of the priceless wisdom travel imparts to a person, but also how to preserve those incredible memories you went through such trouble to accumulate. I guess you can say the book covers the entire travel experience from the seeds of inspiration to looking back reflectively even many years later.

TA: That definitely makes it unique compared to any travel books I’ve read.

BP: Same here.

TA: That’s what I thought. Is there anything in particular you’d like to say to your readers now that the book is available?

BP: Actually yes. So thoughtful of you to ask. Besides asking for their support as readers, I would love to ask for their help as advocates. If you read the book and enjoy it, please tell your friends and family. If you’re comfortable doing so, a post, repost, tweet, share, like or pin on social media goes a long way in spreading the word for small publishers like myself. Any support in the form of reviews – such as on Goodreads or the online store where you bought it – or even word of mouth would be a big help and allow me to keep bringing you a fresh perspective on travel.

TA: Good points, Ben. One last question for you: How was it for you speaking of yourself in the first, second and third person?

BP: Honestly, a bit awkward, but not thoroughly unpleasant. I’ve always felt that people who refer to themselves in the third person are a bit obnoxious, but now that I’ve tried it I can see the appeal. I realize that I still might come off as obnoxious, but that would be the case whether I was speaking in the first, second or third person, so I’ll just go with it for now.

TA: Well, that about wraps things up for us today. Once again we’d like to thank author Ben Pastore for joining us today and recommend that you download his new travel book You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper from your favorite online retailer. This is Trip Accomplice writer Ben Pastore signing off…

Do you have any questions or comments you’d like to share with Ben? Leave a comment below!

Buy You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper on Amazon, the iBookstore, & lulu.com. Coming soon to Nook and Kobo readers
Buy You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper on Amazon, the iBookstore, & lulu.com. Coming soon to Nook and Kobo readers