Travel gives us something to look forward to. The anticipation of going to a new place and learning new things is often elating. Travel permits a break from routines, hectic work schedules allowing for well needed rest and relaxation. Through travel we connect with others for business or pleasure. Our increased activity levels during travel can help lift our mood. Achieving goals like climbing a mountain at high altitude or scuba diving can give you a sense of purpose. The lack of all these can cause the blues or bring about wound-up anxiety and depression. This is yet another way the COVID-19 pandemic can trigger a sense of helplessness and the feeling of being trapped in the mundane. However, there are ways we can forge through the moodiness and stay afloat until the option to travel is safer and more feasible.
- Make home feel like a new destination. Take the time not spent travelling to re-organize, declutter, or redesign your home. Use favorite pieces from travel destinations to decorate and remind you of the trip you made. Making a collage or framing a piece of unfinished art you bought at a local market may not only bring back fond memories but also give a sense of accomplishment. Make it a family event with input from the kids how they may like to re-organize or decorate perhaps their rooms or play areas.
2. Explore as much as you can virtually. Instead of another family movie night, cast onto your screen a virtual tour of a world class museum, art gallery, or zoo. A short list of virtual tours of zoos and aquariums can be found here. We have visited the National Smithsonian Zoo several times and the Georgia Aquarium brings back nice memories. The British Museum, has a museum of the world tour which is interactive, and you can discover the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.3D tours of Egyptian pyramids can be found here. Our favorite virtual tour is the National Museum of Natural History. We have visited several times in person and the virtual tours allow you to view previous and current exhibits. There are quite a few options for virtual travel experiences as can be seen with this virtual safari tour by &Beyond. This tour is interactive as it is during specific times and viewers get to ask tour guides questions through their live you tube channel stream. Settle in with a nature show or documentary about the history or culture of a destination on your bucket list. We have watched Africa’s Great Civilizations produced by PBS. Human Planet produced by Discovery Channel and BBC or Tales by Light originally on National Geographic and is now on Netflix are great family friendly shows with short episodes to entertain even the younger viewers.
3. Relive travel memories by composing travel journals, a blog (like this one 😊), picture collage or scrapbooking, or creating a vlog about your favorite destinations. It is amazing how powerful memories can be in bringing back the feelings experienced on those trips. Try cooking a dish you enjoyed on a trip or listening to the music you heard at the time, making art or craft specific to the place you visited. These are all ways of keeping the non-travel blues at bay. I have used Duolingo app with the kids to try to learn a different language in anticipation of travel and post travel too!
4. Connect virtually with those you would have seen on the trip. Staying in touch with friends or family with whom you traveled with or visited through phone and video calls or social media can certainly cheer us up. If possible, you can share virtual activities together such as a watch party. Even board games can be played online such as Words with Friends (like Scrabble), Monopoly and our family favorite board game, Risk: Global Domination
5. Catch up on long lost hobbies. This might be the perfect time to engage in all those hobbies we love but “could not find the time” to do. If motivation or accountability is an issue, joining a virtual club could be the remedy. There are several virtual book clubs and virtual groups for sharing hobbies such as quilting, knitting, painting etc. If you did not have an indoor hobby, try one; you and the children may find a new hobby you can do together or one they may like and later develop. Our older kids ages 11& 10 have decided to start a domestic and international stamp collection. With less paper mail in circulation these days, they may be collecting what may soon become antiques! 😊
6. Stay active and get outside. Be intentional and maintain a regular exercise regimen or physical activity level. Exercising outdoors may be harder in the winter months (weather dependent) but you need that Vitamin D now (shorter days) more than any other time of year. While at home, keeping blinds open to let in natural light helps lighten the mood. We love playing tennis and fortunately it is easier to stay over 6ft apart when playing the game.
7. Keep a schedule. Routines are essential especially for children. They help maintain a sense of security and feeling of livelihood. We know there is a lot we cannot control particularly during this pandemic but having a routine is something the family can rely on most days. Learning to adjust and work through last minute schedule changes together can be done in a more controlled environment when keeping a schedule is the norm.
8. Manage expectations. Accepting what we cannot control and acting on those we can, sometimes makes all the difference. Just as we would be disappointed but adjust to unforeseen travel delays and trip cancellations, so too should we try to adapt to the changes brought by the pandemic and make modifications as best we can when necessary.
9. Travel to destination “Grateful”. Yes, travel is not happening but so many other events are not either. Daily remembrance of things we should be thankful for maintains a level of joy and builds resilience as we hope for better circumstances ahead. Being appreciative of good health is at the top of our daily list of gratitude. Remember this too will pass. No condition is permanent.
10. Lastly, when necessary consider short getaways close to home, private vacation rentals, backcountry trails, visiting state parks and less crowded beaches.
If nothing else, get ready for when travel happens again. A lot of changes are occurring in our world of travel. This is a great time to review those travel miles, budgets, and keep current identification, passports or resident permits. Health advisories and requirements pertaining to travel (quarantine and testing) are being altered almost daily, stay abreast. Research travel insurance coverage particularly emergency coverage vis a vis COVID-19 and know what your options are. After you’ve done all this, getting your “go bag” ready for when it is safer to travel may be your answer to stowing away those non-travel blues!