What were you doing when the world shut down in 2020 because of Coronavirus? Me? Well, I was in Paris…
On March 3, 2020, my oldest daughter, Emma, and I boarded a plane for Paris to satisfy our ongoing wanderlust for traveling Europe. We had been planning this particular trip for over a year. Although we knew that the world was starting to get nervous about Coronavirus, we decided to keep with our plan and venture onward.
Paris was a dream. The streets and museums were all ours. Cafes were still open, but empty. Streets seemed to continue to sleep even as mornings turned into afternoon. It was the calm before the storm, and a perfect time to be in the City of Light.
As our wanderlust adventure continued we would travel through Vienna, Budapest, Prague and London, all the while, Coronavirus nipping at our heels. Every time, as we left one country and proceeded towards the next destination, that country would start to close down. Then after fifteen days of travel, Emma and I finally found ourselves in London Heathrow Airport completely exhilarated by the story of it all. We had just had a glorious European adventure in the almost empty streets of the many European capitals of the world. Now we were about to board one of the last flights back to the States to tell about it. Little did we understand at that time that this trip was going to be our last for a very long time.
Knowing that Coronavirus was real then and getting worse was one thing. To be faced with its reality in the coming months has been quite another. Everything has shifted, hasn’t it? And one of the biggest shifts is in travel.
We’re all home now. The novelty of lockdown has long passed. If you’re like me, you are itching to break free from the four walls of your home. But alas, home for now is where it is best to remain. So…
What is a travel lover to do in 2020?
Coronavirus may have halted your anticipation for the next wanderlust travel adventure, but that doesn’t have to bring you down. It just means that it’s time to get creative. A few months after returning from Europe I got antsy and started to long for my next travel high. This time, I couldn’t purchase the next ticket. Instead, I decided to change my mindset towards travel. And I must admit, it has been more fun than I ever expected.
So, here are 10 practices to change your mindset and keep your wanderlust alive in 2020:
Listen to Travel Podcasts
I love these particular podcasts because they are all hosted by people living outside of the US. The Earful Tower is a genius podcast and YouTube Channel hosted by an Australian journalist, Oliver Gee, and often co-hosted by his Swedish wife, Linna. They both live in the heart of Paris and throughout lockdown they have masterfully kept the world apprised of real life in Paris. It is my favorite travel podcast by far! Rick Steves interviews people from all over the world and Zero to Travel is a guy named Jason who is from Boulder, Colorado, but now lives in Oslo, Norway. Flight of Fancy is hosted by Aussie’s with unending wanderlust and accents that take you to another world for a brief 45 minutes. Whether taking a drive in the car or a walk around the block, travel podcasts are a terrific way to put a little bit of lockdown travel into your ears.
Watch Travel Shows
Much like travel podcasts, there are a plethora of travel shows to satisfy your wanderlust for days. But here is the twist. Don’t just watch the show. Why not make it a full-on travel experience? Just the other day my husband and I decided to watch Somebody Feed Phil. It was the Venice, Italy, episode. We could have just propped up the pillows on the bed, settled in and hit play. Instead, we ordered some Italian takeout, popped open a bottle of Italian wine and sat the laptop on the outside deck along with a few candles and string lights. It was as if we were instantly transported to Italy when we hit play. It was a perfect date night and a perfect micro adventure taken from our own backyard. You can do this with any travel show or movie that you choose. With a tiny bit of forethought and planning, it turns out to be pretty easy to “travel” in 2020. Here are some of my favorite travel shows: Somebody Feed Phil , Samantha Brown Places to Love , Rick Steves Travel Talks , Rick Steves TV Show , Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown , Departures
Happy Hour and a Movie
Open a bottle of Spanish Wine and watch The Way. Pour yourself some Italian Wine or Limoncello and watch Under the Tuscan Sun. Open a bottle of Bordeaux, create a charcuterie board and watch Amelie.
Make a Mocktail Margarita and watch Off the Menu. Pour a good Kentucky Bourbon and watch Secretariat. Open a bottle of California wine and watch Wild. Open a bottle of syrah from Provence and watch A Good Year.
Become a Tourist in Your Hometown
Be curious. If you are like me, your eyes only see far ahead and you often miss what is right under your nose. Has Coronavirus changed that in you? I know it has forced me to be more aware of the present and the local. Instead of dreaming about Iceland, I am noticing my local park and wondering about the person who was lucky enough to get a park named after them. All of us have the ability to start looking at our surroundings with different eyes. So, if you have a usual route that you walk your dog, try walking it in the opposite direction next time. You might just be amazed at what you see from a different view. Get your coffee at a different coffee shop. Drive a different route home. Wonder at the architecture. Say hello to a neighbor (socially distanced, of course). Take a long, slow drive on a highway you frequent all the time, but this time, open your eyes wider. Become a tourist at home and discover all you have been missing.
Create that Travel Photo Album You Keep Meaning to Begin
I feel like the world’s worst when it comes to actually printing pictures from my iPhone. You too? How about using this still time to scroll through the thousands of photos you have stored in the Cloud? Spend time reminiscing about all of your past travels and create photo albums that you can hold in your hand and share with friends and family for years to come.
Read Books with Interesting Locations
Books naturally transport you to another place and another time. Where do you want to go? There is absolutely a book to take you there. Wanderlust and travel adventures. With a few clicks of the computer you can find the best books to transport you to Moscow, Santiago, Seattle or the Colorado mountains. Do a little research, click, purchase and before you know it, a journey will be delivered to your front doorstep. Here are a few of my favorites, but the options are endless.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts
Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves
Blossom Street book series by Debbie Macomber
Go on an Ethnic Food Tour in Your Hometown
I live just outside of Denver. There is no shortage of ethnic restaurants and food trucks. But how often do I take the time to stop?
Local restaurants need our help now more than ever. So how about satisfying your travel bug AND helping out a local, international, family business owner at the same time? Recently my family and I needed a few days away. For three weekends in a row we mapped out all of the ethnic restaurants in the area providing take away during the virus and ended up touring 9 different counties in three days:
- 1st Saturday: Jewish Deli for bagels and coffee at breakfast, Puerto Rican food truck for lunch and Ethiopian for dinner.
- 2nd Saturday: Danish bakery for breakfast, Greek gyros for lunch and Indian for dinner.
- 3rd Saturday: Argentinian empanadas and a cortado for breakfast, Mexican street tacos for lunch, Vietnamese pho for dinner.
This experiment was probably the most favorite international experiences I have ever taken with my family and we never even left our hometown.
Write an Ambassador
This one might sound corny, but it feels so good! As the entire world is affected by Coronavirus, there are people all over who are in charge of dealing with the many difficulties we all face. I returned from Europe just as the world was shutting down. I decided to reach out to the ambassadors here in the US from the countries that I had just visited, because I wanted them to know that they were appreciated and thought of and that I was wishing their country well in the middle of this tragedy. Everyone needs a little encouragement.
What country are you dreaming of traveling to next? There are ways to connect, even if you can’t get on a plane and visit.
Why not Google the ambassador of your favorite country? Get their name and address and actually put pen to paper. Send them an encouraging note. Thank them for their hard work. Let them know you are thinking of their people. You might even get a letter in return and you will surely feel great about blessing someone during such difficult times.
Take a Walk
I love this one! Traveling in Europe, I have discovered just how much I enjoy walking. On a typical day in any city I easily track between 8 and 10 miles of wandering. It never fails that when I get home, my legs seem to think that they need to keep moving. I discovered that The Conqueror is a fantastic way to use your wanderlust travel imagination at home, keep traveling and conquer some of those bucket list trails that you long to embrace. I am currently hiking the Camino de Santiago through my neighborhood daily. Someday I’ll have the medal to prove it.
Create a Bucket List and Start Saving
This one is easy. If you are a traveler at heart, you already do this all the time. Don’t let your inability to travel now stop you. Your day is coming. We will surely travel again.
Travel is an action, but it can also be a mindset. I hope that you won’t let the travel flame or your wanderlust die during 2020 because you can’t get on a plane or adventure like normal. Instead, use this time to think differently about your travel adventures. With just a little bit of effort and thinking outside of the box you can explore more countries, states and cities in 2020 than you have ever explored before! Happy Coronavirus travels!
Amy Colón is a freelance, content contributor and copywriter with over 20 years of experience in writing and education. She is passionate about international travel and encouraging women to leap beyond their comfort zones to intentionally explore the world.