I originally wrote this post mid-quarantine, but never got around to posting it because if I’m being completely honest (and I’ve promised myself I would be on my blog), quarantine didn’t really bother me. All of the emotions that others seemed to feel 1-2 months ago are just now hitting me. I know, I’m late to the game. I think it’s because I saw quarantine as a time to get real with my goals and I liked the time alone to just think about what I wanted my life to be and to get my priorities straight. Perhaps best of all, I didn’t struggle with FOMO since no one was doing anything. It was a season where I could do what I wanted without worrying about what I should be doing or letting people down. Now that things are re-opening but not in the same way we all used to know and love, I’m struggling. My wanderlust has kicked in, but it’s more than just wanderlust as I grieve for the way things used to be.
Memorial Day is coming up this weekend which is amplifying my wanderlust.
As a travel lover, it really hurts me to have to give up an extended weekend. Time is a finite resource and it is so precious. We have come to understand this more than ever. To not be able to travel in the way I’m used to has had me feeling a little blue. While I know that these are very privileged problems, the feelings are genuine. I figured that I’m probably not alone so I decided to come back to this article to share for you all.
If you are struggling with wanderlust but unable to travel, I hope that some of these tips can help you.
If your plans have been cancelled, allow yourself to experience the feelings that come up.
As a travel lover, odds are that you may have had a trip cancelled or postponed. If that’s the case, let me first say that I’m sorry because that really sucks. It is important that you allow yourself to feel whatever feelings come up for you. If you’re disappointed, allow yourself to feel that. If you’re sad, that’s fine too. No matter what feelings you have, they’re completely valid. Ignoring them will only make them stronger and linger longer. So don’t get stuck in them (wallowing will also make these feelings worse), but allow yourself to experience them.
Look through photos from old trips
In one of my other posts, I talked about how you can trick your mind into feeling happier. To recap, if you experience happiness from looking back on fond memories, your mind doesn’t know the difference between the joy you get from something in the present moment versus something else. It just knows that you are happy. So, looking at photos from happy memories of old trips can make you happy. Better yet, if you’ve been wanting to organize them, finally print them off, or make a photo book, now is a great time.
Plan bucket list trips to take in the future
I know that non-travelers will think this is crazy, but if you love to travel then you probably love to dream about your next trip. I love looking at which hotels I’d stay at, which activities I’d enjoy, and so on. This also helps you trick your mind into feeling better as you feel excitement towards this nonexistent trip. Plus, who says the trip has to stay nonexistent? It may just happen!
Update your bucket list
Once you’ve decided which trips are worthy of visiting in the future (let’s be honest, if you’re a travel lover, it’s probably all of them), then start a bucket list. This gives you goals to work towards, keeps you motivated, and reminds you of all the new and cool places you may have discovered through your research.
Focus on saving money
….so that you can use it to travel again, of course. When I start to feel down about not being able to travel, I focus on all of the money I’m saving. I think that this might be why not being able to travel didn’t impact me as much as I thought it would until Memorial Day – I knew I was saving money for future trips. It’s also a positive reframe that feels better than “this sucks!”
Check out some of the virtual tours
There are a lot of companies offering virtual tours. From Disney to museums, there is bound to be something for you. My favorite so far? Jimmy Buffett had some live concerts! This post has done a great job of rounding up tons of options. If you see something you’re interested in that isn’t on the list, try googling it to see if virtual tours are being offered. Also, most of you know that I’m obsessed with the Florida Keys, so I like watching these live webcams.
Read travel blogs
This is my favorite way to explore ideas for my next vacation. Reading posts about fun, new places is kind of like reading a book in that I get lost in a new world. Only in this world, we can actually recreate the trips we’re reading about! One of my favorites is Alex in Wanderland. Her posts make me dream big and are especially good for Thailand. Plus, she loves the beach as much as me! Another favorite is the Florida Travel Girl because she has the best ideas for local adventures. Plus, we live in different areas, so I find her guides really helpful when we go on weekend trips.
Have a vacation-themed night at home
Watch a movie with your favorite destination, make an international-themed meal, pretend you’re in a National Park by camping in your backyard – just get creative and have fun with it! Take it a step further by dressing up and taking photos. You might not actually be on vacation, but the good memories will stay with you anyway.
Learn a new language
If you’ve ever wanted to learn a new language, now would be a great time!
Go for a drive or a walk
Make sure you’re following local social distancing suggestions, of course, but “touring” your own area can be fun. My husband and I walked around an area we’re already familiar with and discovered several new restaurants we wanted to try. Despite being familiar with the area, we hadn’t ever seen these restaurants before! This is the value of walking – you notice more than when you’re driving.
Do your best to love your life now
This isn’t travel related, but if you enjoy your life, you’re more likely to be happy and content. Work out, eat healthy, stay in touch with your loved ones or ignore all of that advice and do the best you can with where you’re at. But most importantly, remind yourself that this is temporary and this too shall pass. I wrote more about this here.
While the quarantine really inspired this post, let’s face it, as travel lovers, we’re probably not traveling as much as we’d like to anyways. Use these ideas anytime you’ve got the need to travel but don’t have the money or time!
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