How CAN We Travel When the World is Not Open?

A few months back, I basked in my plans to go to Disney in Florida with two of my girlfriends, the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville with my husband, and was eagerly planning a trip with my sister to Paris and Holland. These are the things my dreams are made of. And dreams they were, shattered dreams no less, thanks to COVID-19’s bullying entrance from stage left.

We waited as long as we could, holding on to slivers of hope, but Paris and Holland—canceled.

How do we travel when the world is not open? Within the confines and protocols of this pandemic, it looks very different, that’s for sure.

I fully believe the crisis aspect of this virus will all be a memory one day. I expect we’ll move on with our lives and our adventures but, I speculate that this “Great Pause” and season of isolation and fear (whether we deem it valid or invalid) will change the way we travel forever. There are positives and negatives to this but that’s a post for another day.

Six months into this pandemic there’s more activity and we’re roaming a bit more but the world is still mostly closed. Many trips are still canceled or on hold, and many countries are not offering tourist visas.

Can we consider a reframe from all the “cannot’s” to what you CAN you do, where you CAN go, what IS allowed?

We CAN reminisce, we CAN still go—somewhere, and we CAN always dream. We can seek, and even find, adventure. Isn’t that what travel is about after all? Adventure has not been canceled.

Adventure Awaits

We CAN Reminisce
A shift of perspective could take you down memory lane with gratitude rather than resentment. Let your heart wander back through previous trips. Pull up your travel photos and brush away the cobwebs of your memory banks. Flip those plastic pages of yore or click the “next” button and step back in time. Those were good days! Let’s remember and be thankful for them.

Are there memories of a fabulous meal from somewhere you’ve been? Consider trying to recreate it at home. Tell stories from that trip over the dinner table. Are you missing your trip to France as I am? Grab a glass of champagne, some luxurious chocolate, and watch Chocolat (one of my all-time favorite movies).

While still practicing safe-distancing, this doesn’t mean we are grounded. I realize that driving is not possible in some areas of our world, even taking a family walk has been a hardship for some. It is challenging to work around our restrictions but let’s put our creativity caps on.

If you are legitimately grounded, consider watching travel shows or reading books that “take” you places. Again, with the perspective shift of gratitude, not resentment. I have enjoyed pretending to travel to the Champagne region of France and imagining myself enjoying foods from all over the globe through foodie shows. If you love staying at Airbnb’s like I do, watch this show. I have taken a few nearby field trips where I didn’t even get out of my car. In one instance, I encountered a traffic jam of unusual circumstances—a large herd of buffalo crossing the road. It was spectacular, and the buffalo babies were so cute!

Buffalo Traffic Jam

Can you Facetime or Zoom with friends and family? Remember we’re physical-distancing, not social-distancing! See if you can learn something new about their corner of the world. Dream about exploring that one day. Which takes me to my next point.

We CAN Dream
It’s been said that some dreams have to die for new ones to begin. I felt every bit of this each time I canceled one of my trips. However, now I have airline and Airbnb credits just waiting for me! In these days, as we can so easily find ourselves feeling stuck, dare to dream. Where do you want to go? Plan the trip and have everything ready for when the time is right. Dreaming about your adventures won’t drain your pocketbook, but it could expand your heart.

I imagine nerves will be a bit frayed once the world opens back up for travel. We’ve seen glimpses of this as gradual reopening has already begun. I imagine there will be emotions that run the gamut. I imagine there will be a temptation for some to judge on both sides of the issue. For me, I plan to adventure. Somehow. Somewhere. And in such a way as is right for me, and in the best interest of humanity and the economy of our globe as a whole.

When the #CoronaCrisis is behind us, I plan to travel. However, I am confident that my familiar packing checklist will be revised a bit. After all the traveling I’ve done, I’m not freaked out by germs but I admit to having researched disposable airplane seat and armchair covers. With masks and hand sanitizer in tow, let’s go! I will not be panicked into staying at home, nor will I travel if it’s not wise. I believe there is a balance to be found in living in between fear and faith. The goal of life is to live it.

For now, before the world opens back up and even after we are free to roam about the country, relive your memories, go where you can, and never stop dreaming.

Stay safe, be healthy, and keep adventure alive!

Pro tip: If you’re keen and your budget will allow, use your downtime to make some travel books of previous trips using Shutterfly. The pro tip here is to get it started, save it, and then wait for Shutterfly to send you a 50% off coupon before ordering. It happens every time!

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