Not traveling may not be a first-world problem, but for all the travelers, wanderers, global adventures out there, little to no traveling is a real pain!
Here are ten mechanisms to cope with the new restricted travel situation and boost your mood for the foreseeable future.
Accept the change
Accept that the world has changed. When the first COVID-19 lockdowns began, many people were hoping that the pandemic might pass in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and lately, most health officials expect a one to two-year recovery time to return to “normal” travel. “Like other major society events, we are going to be living in a post-COVID world that looks different than the one we were used to,” explains Thomas Plante, a licensed psychologist and professor at Stanford University. “This may be true for decades to come, so we must remind ourselves that we will all travel differently, moving forward.”
Avoid extreme thinking
Instead of the extreme thought of “I’ll never be able to travel again,” which lacks both helpfulness and accuracy, consider the more objective, “What will it take for me to travel again?” counsels behavioral psychologist, Christina Pierpaoli. The first step to feeling better about a temporary loss from travel is to avoid this kind of thought and treat the current situation as an uncomfortable “season,” rather than a fixed “never going back” situation.
Learn something new for future trips
Start a new activity, like scuba diving or kitesurfing, and the moment you are able to fly again, you will have a whole new travel inspiration to jump on. Learn a new language or even do something simple and bureaucratic like renewing your passport or apply for shorter airport lines.
Zoom like a “pen pal”
Do you remember this Italian girl you met at school by pen pal? How every letter of hers made you travel to the smells of her country house and the feel of the light, evening breeze at her terrace in Toscany? With the internet, it is even easier to keep this feeling alive and with more than one person around the world! Join Facebook groups, watch Instagram lives, participate in zoom sessions, and bring the world one step closer to your daily routine. Another idea: email or call fellow travelers that you shared a country, city, or trail with in the past.
Shift your focus to your local
Do more micro-traveling than ever! Explore your city, your neighborhood, your street. Meet your friends (keeping distances!) at the local cafes and start to wander around the area. You will be surprised by the number of things there are to do in your own city. Another tip is to start noticing the buildings, the little corners, the street art, the parks… there are so many great places around that you would never discover if you don’t shift the focus.
Turn your A.M to P.M
Although you may lose some sleeping hours, this is TOTALLY worth it. Try driving your bike at 3 am and see what the city feels like in the dark. Wake up at 5 am to watch the sunrise from your apartment. Take a hike at your favorite park by full moon. Time-shifting your day, whenever possible, will get you some new perspectives.
Walk down memory lane
It is finally the time to go through and sort old photos from your past adventures. Arrange them by year, trip or people, and then share them with those who traveled with you. Not only will this make you feel proud of what you’ve accomplished, but it is an excellent way of practicing “reminiscence therapy,” which is the fancy term scientists give to walking down memory lane.
Live your present abundantly
Instead of focusing on the things that you don’t have or can’t do, think about what you’ve already done and recognize that traveling is a privilege that many don’t get to experience. Many people have never left their home country and those of us who are lucky enough to get to see the world, are just that: lucky. We will get to do it again someday, but many, many others never will. Be thankful for that.
New hobby new self
Whatever you do or want to do, don’t wait for the world to return to normal to grab the life you want to. Start a new hobby today or pick up an old one that you haven’t practiced for years. Whatever it is, reinvent yourself somehow, at least temporarily because this is what we do, we adapt.
Best of the rest
Other popular advice includes: starting your “travel vault” for when restrictions loosen, learning how to cook international cuisine at home, exploring thousands of online virtual tours in high definition, or even making home improvements that will make travel easier in the future. Remove grass in your yard, for example, and cover it with ground. That way, when you will be able to go overseas, you won’t worry about its maintenance.
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