It’s hardly the most urgent or consequential of concerns, but our ability to travel has been sorely missed since the pandemic began. Even though restrictions are being eased in many places, and even after a vaccine is discovered and released to the public, the experience of traveling might not be the same.
It will be some time before we can travel as freely as we once did before Covid-19. And while you’re waiting, there are many ways to scratch the travel itch. But while watching travel documentaries will give you a glimpse of far-off destinations, it just isn’t the same.
Travel has many scientifically proven benefits. It improves mood, relieves stress, and promotes physical activity. Your new experiences boost creativity and confidence; you get to interact with people from different backgrounds and cultures.
Passive consumption of travel-related media can make you happy, but it struggles to provide these other benefits. Here are some activities you can do:
Unless the most rigid restrictions remain in force where you live, chances are you can go out and about as long as you take reasonable precautions. As long as you observe physical distancing, wear a face mask, and keep some sanitizer and tissues handy, you can minimize the risk of transmission to yourself and others.
Your typical routine can limit your experience of your city to the major thoroughfares. Take time to head off the beaten path. Skip the car, and walk around or take a bike. Grab food from someplace new, or inquire about the secret menu at your go-to restaurant. Keep your eyes peeled for unusual sights and view familiar surroundings with the awareness and observation of a tourist.
Explore your city as though you were traveling, and you’ll gain a heightened appreciation of your everyday environment. And you won’t have to rush around trying to cover all the must-see attractions. You can relax and explore one day at a time.
When you’re unable to fly around the world, a good book can take you there. This has often been the recourse of travelers who find themselves a little short on budget. And now that most of us are geographically restricted, it’s an increasingly popular one.
Travel guides are the obvious place to start. The DK Eyewitness travel series presents stunning images to go with expert advice and breakdowns of the routes and attractions you’d want to visit in real life. It can lead you to start planning your next trip, which is part of the thrill of traveling.
But you can also use books to explore on a deeper level. Works of literature set in other countries, or during different periods of history, can uniquely transport you. It doesn’t just take you elsewhere; it puts you in the shoes of the characters. Practice reading as a skill, and you can engage your imagination, enhance empathy and understanding, and improve your creativity, memory, and concentration.
Both the creation and appreciation of art can take us outside of our everyday experiences. Similar to the pictures in a travel book, you can enjoy viewing a painting depicting scenes from another location.
But as with reading, there’s a more profound level you can access. Contemplating the meaning of art allows us to bridge the gaps of culture and individual differences. It’s a skill you can practice when you visit the museums and galleries in another city. And with virtual tours becoming more attractive, you’ll have plenty of options to do the same from within your home.
If you’re creative, you can take things even further. Got any old travel photos lying around? Use them as references for your paintings and sketches. Or apply new photography filters and other editing techniques. Exploring these old snapshots creatively will let you revisit what you found noteworthy in the first place. And it can heighten your enjoyment of future adventures while reliving the past.
You’re hardly alone in experiencing a longing for travel these days. And now that everyone seems to have shifted more of their lives into the virtual world, online channels can provide a great way to fill that void.
Joining online travel communities and interacting with other travelers through blogs and social media will help you connect with fellow enthusiasts. You can share your experiences through stories, images, or videos, and benefit from meaningful social interaction in an age of loneliness.
Such interactions might not offer the professional editing or curation of other media, but they make up for it with spontaneity and authenticity. And that’s as important as anything else to the overall travel experience.