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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Tranticipation: Defining the Joys of Trip Anticipation

Time to put on my travelin' hat
Time to put on my travelin’ hat

Tranticipation (noun): a made-up word formed as an amalgamation of the words ‘trip’ and ‘anticipation’ designed to define the often intangible feelings of hope and positive expectation that precede a trip abroad. 

For those of you who have followed this blog for awhile (or read my book You Can Keep Your Adventure, Just Leave Me the Toilet Paper), you know by now that I have a penchant for inserting my own made-up vocabulary to describe various aspects of the travel process (for a somewhat exaggerated example, see the post Maximization and Other Made-Up Travel Philosophies). As I near the homestretch before embarking on my latest voyage to Scandinavia, Italy and the Netherlands, I again find myself needing to invent terms in order to explain the oh-too-subtle-nuances of a travel junkie about to get a fix. If you know what I mean (or would like to) read on for the what, where, and how that makes tranticipation such a desirable experience – even if I only made up the term this morning.

What’s In Store?

There are always a lot of ‘whats’ that stoke my tranticipation before leaving on a trip. In this case, some of the whats that are busying my mind are: What will Sweden really be like on the summer solstice? Will I ever be able to eat a Swedish meatball, fish or walk into an IKEA without being reminded of the time I will have spent there? If I duck into the kitchen of a restaurant in Gothenburg, will the (presumably) Swedish chef really be a crooning clown with a ridiculous accent, or have the Muppets been lying to me all along?

There are so many open-ended questions; so many answers to be discovered that can only be satisfactorily resolved by actually embarking on the voyage and exploring the multiverse of possibility firsthand. And that’s just for my first night!

Where’s It Gonna Be?

Inevitably, in every voyage, there is that one place where you’re taken by surprise at how lovely/interesting/fascinating/insert-favorite-adjective-here a location can be. Usually it’s someplace you didn’t even expect. Acute tranticipation has me wondering where in the next few weeks that place will be. Will it be at some random lookout point over the Norwegian fjords? Will it be sitting at a terrace with a bottle of wine on the Amalfi Coast? Or perhaps strolling across the quaint canals of Amersterdam?

The fact is, there’ s no way to pinpoint that amazing place ahead of time. That means that half the fun is discovering where on the trip that inevitable moment decides to reveal itself. Tranticipation indeed.

How Will This Play Out

You never know how a trip will go before leaving home. The same can be said – and more – about how a trip will affect you even after you return. For instance, I find myself wondering how I will view New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park – which at this  moment in time is what I consider the most beautiful place on earth – after being exposed to its more famous counterparts in the far northern hemisphere. Will I have a new favorite?

I wonder how I will feel about the magnificent Italian island of Ponza now that I return for a third time, though under very different circumstances than the previous visits. Will it still seem a home away from home for me, or have my travels since then eroded my emotional ties to the place?

Such uncertainty breeds tranticipation, which as mentioned before, can only be sated by the act of traveling. So as I head off for Europe, perhaps you too can relate to the sensations described here, even if you didn’t know what it was called. And I also hope that you too get the chance to add your own definitions, as I set out to expand my own.


Is thereĀ an aspect of tranticipation that you feel before a trip? Please share by commenting below.

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