A Traveler Amidst Coronavirus

By WanderRambleRoam | May 20, 2020

Social distancing on the West Highland Way in Scotland, before it was cool.

Social distancing on the West Highland Way in Scotland, before it was cool.

The world looks pretty different right now as countries continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Those of us who live to travel are all probably feeling a particular kind of grief, as the world we long to explore is suddenly unavailable to us. The cancelling of trips, not knowing when travel will be safe again or how travel itself will look in the future… I won’t lie. I struggle with this. However, over the past weeks and months, I’ve found ways to ease the sadness and the anxiety that comes with the unknown.

Here are my five tips for how to cope with coronavirus when all you’ve ever wanted to do was travel.

1. Plan your next trip

This one can be kind of tough. The first few weeks after stay at home orders descended and I had already cancelled about 4 trips, thinking about future travel was rough. I avoided Instagram and all of the wanderlust inducing accounts I follow. I stopped looking at my future calendar dates, afraid to confront the trips even further in the future, as I started to realize those would probably also be cancelled.

But then I started looking at 2021. I started thinking about where I would want to go. What I would want to see. What I would want to eat and drink. And before I knew it, I was consumed by the joy that strikes me when I’m planning trips. And I had a two week trip trekking in the Caucasus mountains planned. (Because if there’s a silver lining, it’s all the vacation days I’m currently saving!)

Planning for the future is encouraging and hopeful. It raises our spirits. It reminds us this will pass. And for a traveler, nothing brings us joy like envisioning our next trip.

2. Cook around the world

If we can’t travel around the world, why not eat like we are?? Food is one of the biggest reasons I travel. I’ve planned entire trips around eating. And in this time of quarantine, cooking dishes that remind me of my favorite places has been incredibly satisfying. In fact, I’ve learned that Mexican food might just be my ultimate comfort food! With the internet at your disposal, you can find recipes from all over the world with varying degrees of difficulty. Make yourself a dinner from one of your favorite locations and for one night, pretend like you’re there.

Homemade chilaquiles!

Homemade chilaquiles!

3. Organize travel pictures

This one usually feels like a chore for me in my daily life, as I know it’s going to take hours, if not days, to fully organize all of my photos from a trip. However, a never ending amount of hours at home screams “no time like the present!” I’ve found that going through these pictures while being confined to home helps me relive those travel memories even more acutely. And instead of feeling sad about this predicament, I remember the people I met and the things I experienced. It makes me feel very fortunate. And I’ll remind myself, these experiences will be here again.

4. Get outside

It’s easy to sit inside all day, wishing things were different. Fight that urge and get moving outside.

I think one of the biggest reasons we travel is because many of us have this insatiable need to explore. I’ve been amazed by how much I’ve been able to discover in my own neighborhood! I’ve found plaques explaining local history, parks that would be perfect for picnics on a sunny day, and beautiful pieces of architecture that I probably never would have seen without the daily 2 hour walks that have become my new normal. Who knew just wandering around our own neighborhoods could satisfy that urge to explore and roam?

5. Embrace the loss

Finally, embrace the feelings that come with this major life disrupter. At first I felt maybe I didn’t have a right to feel sad about not traveling. After all, I’m still healthy. I still have an income. Others are far worse off than I.

But then I realized something. For me, traveling is joy. It’s when I feel most alive. It’s why I structure and prioritize my life the way I do. And you know what? It’s okay for me to grieve the loss that I’m feeling.

However, after I’ve embraced my feelings, I get to work on one of the four aforementioned tips to start rediscovering that joy :)

I hope you’re staying healthy, safe, and happy. I look forward to getting out there and exploring our beautiful world with you all again soon. Until then, I hope these tips help keep your spirit of exploring alive, even if, for now, it’s only from your couch.

Philosophy Planning COVID-19

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Written by Carolyn
Hi there! I'm Carolyn and, probably just like you, I am an avid traveler. I've been traveling my whole life and the more I see, the more I WANT to see. Aside from actually experiencing new locales, my favorite thing to do is to plan those experiences. So, from someone who loves to plan, I hope my tips inspire your own!

There are 4 comments
Jess Feldmann

Jess Feldmann
May 20, 2020 at 18:17

Well written! I'd add to #1 that this might be a perfect opportunity to re-evaluate your travel bucket list. There are places I was planning to travel to that now aren't as important and vice versa places I hadn't given much priority to are moving to the top. For example, I was wanting to go to the Big Island of Hawaii to complete the biggest 5, but now I'm realizing I'd much rather visit Ireland or Japan (hitting up wanderrambleroam for tips on both!). I'd add a bonus #6: Explore places virtually. With this pandemic so many places are offering virtual tours: national/international parks, museums, zoos, Disney rides. Yes, these will never be as emersive as visiting them in person, but maybe they help you cope or figure out which places are worth the trip later.

May 20, 2020 at 23:09

This is so awesome, Jess! I completely agree -- this is the perfect time to reevaluate and reprioritize. And I love the virtual explorations! I admit I've been completely enamored by the roaming animals at zoos these days (oh, the penguins and beluga whales! My heart!). P.S. I will definitely have Japan (probably many of those haha!) and Ireland guides up on the blog! Thanks for commenting :)

Caitlin Garber

Caitlin Garber
May 20, 2020 at 14:36

Oh man, I need that recipe! I love the idea of temporarily replacing traveling with cultural foods in our own homes. Great read!

May 20, 2020 at 14:54

I'm so glad you liked it! I've been cooking up food inspired from all kinds of countries these days...fun and delicious! The chilaquiles recipe is from Epicurious, for anyone else who'd like to make it! :)

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