As my family and I sat around the dinner table on New Year’s Eve having our socially distanced version of welcoming in the hope of a new story, the question arose. “What is the number one thing you hope you get to experience again in 2021.” With no consideration necessary, I immediately said at the top of my lungs, “TRAVEL!”
2020 was a year of tremendous losses. Far down the list of significance is the ability to travel. After millions have died and protests and riots have filled the streets, I must admit that at first it feels quite frivolous to be dreaming of packing a bag and taking a holiday.
Yet, isn’t it a holiday that we all long for right now?
Every year, I take time to journal and reflect on the year that has passed. I look ahead and dream of the possibilities. Everything in me on New Year’s Eve longed more than ever for the anticipation that a new start could not only happen, but hold. It is coming. I believe brighter days are ahead. Yet, the truth is, we are still a mess and safe and open travel might still take a while. “Safe” itself might take a while. That is why this year I am setting off on a new journey of reimagining what might give me the thrill of exploration until all is clear to set foot on a plane again and take to the air.
In 2021, I am hopeful for many things. Peace. Joy. Deep breaths. Decency. Kindness. Health. Hugs from my parents. Inspiration. Wisdom. Less Anxiety. Opportunity. Friendship. Long hot baths. Good books. Another Gilmore Girls and Alias Reboot. Another trip to Europe.
This year I am remembering that the simple privilege of travel is offered to a lucky few and that there are millions who will never find opportunity to escape.
For me, anticipation propels me forward. It keeps me going. I thrive on always having something out in front of me to look forward to, whether it be a Saturday morning that promises no morning alarm or an email confirming my next flight. Opportunities to escape are everywhere.
So how am I planning to keep my sanity and plan for escape in 2021 even if I can not travel as I dream?
Long walks with a travel podcast in my ears have kept me sane in 2020. The combination of movement, endorphins and escaping to a far away location or learning something new will definitely remain a key survival tool of 2021.
Travel Book Club
Missing community…missing sitting with a good book in Starbucks…longing for intimate conversations with friends…I’ve had enough of it. Now that everyone is so well versed in Zoom, I decided to create a travel book club with my Facebook friends. I had no idea if anyone would bite, but after sending out the invite on December, 31, 2020, I had 38 friends join me in 3 days. Seems like I’m not the only one who misses community. BTW, We started this month with Paris on Air: A Memoir by Oliver Gee. I highly recommend it!
Listening to travel podcasts is my saving grace, especially when I feel like I simply cannot stomach another second of the 24-hour news cycle. Podcasts I love that will keep me company in 2021 include: The Earful Tower, Zero To Travel, Extra Pack of Peanuts, Travel with Rick Steves, Let’s Go Together, The Earful Sweden, Flight of Fancy, The Sweaty Traveler.
Monday’s with Rick Steves
European travel icon, Rick Steves, hosts a travel “happy hour” on Zoom from his living room. Each week Rick shares his personal, inspirational, and sometimes hilarious behind-the-scenes commentary, followed by a Q&A. You get to interact with him and have an experience with a glass of wine or a cup of tea – all for free! It is also possible to watch recorded Zoom sessions from previous gatherings.
Road trip to visit Mom and Dad
I live in Colorado and my parents live in Kentucky. Typically I see them at least twice per year, but in 2020, not at all. My absolute first road trip will be back home to receive a really big hug. Hopefully this will be very soon. They sat in line 5 hours yesterday for their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. Woohoo! See, 2021 really is looking up.
Long Hot Bubble Baths
During 2020 I kept Amazon busy. Didn’t we all? My newest self-indulgent purchase is unscented candles. I can’t seem to buy enough. Something about the candlelight has calmed me in 2020. It has brought Hygge. And they are welcome guests to a long, hot bath which makes for a perfect escape.
The older I get the more I find myself being obsessed with 8 hours of sleep. I used to nap as an escape in a bad way. I wanted the world to go away. Now I nap as a way to restore life. And taking naps are now a good gift that allows me to be a better version of myself in my day to day life.
Purchase a Ticket
Finally, I have started searching American Airlines again for flights. I have SO many miles accumulated and I know I can’t lose them, even if I make a purchase and have to change my mind or cancel because the world fails to re-open. Still, I haven’t brought myself to follow through with the purchase, yet. I think I’m still nervous for the potential letdown. But mark my words, soon I will be receiving a confirmation email in my inbox that will set my anticipation soaring and travel planning wheels spinning. My bucket list is long and my dreams are dazzling. European Christmas Holiday 2021, I’m coming for ya!
Whatever hopes and dreams you bring into 2021, I wish you the best outcomes. I wish you beautiful surprises and creativity when times seem tough. I wish you health and joy. And may you be blessed with opportunities to escape.
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.