There is no shame in wanting to travel right now. Say it with me:
There’s no shame in wanting to travel right now!
While we are all trying to stay safe and do the right thing for friends and family, there should be no remorse felt when the old familiar travel itch creeps up on you from time to time. We are obviously in the midst of a global pandemic that has devastated lives and livelihoods, and changed the world in ways we have yet to see or comprehend. The most important thing is that we stay safe and healthy, in both body and mind. Wearing a mask, washing our hands, and social distancing are ways for us to physically stay well, but what about mentally?
Humans crave interaction. They long for new experiences and feelings all too familiar. They dream of times when they can put their daily life on pause and escape into someone else’s reality for a little while, at least. They seek to improve themselves through their shared experiences with others. They thirst for a sense of belonging to something that is bigger than the sum of their parts. They hunger to break free.
Going out to dinner with friends, curling up with a nice book, sticking on a fantasy novel on audiobook and breaking out a thousand piece jigsaw puzzle, taking their antique car out for a drive or going for a long bike ride, heading down to the local for a quiet pint with familiar faces, hiking through a forgotten stretch of countryside. All of these things lend a sense of all of the above to people, but traveling is the big one. For many of us, travel is the one that ticks all the boxes, and for the past seven months, that has not been an option.
While you might not be comfortable traveling right now, there is a lot of pent up travel excitement and this will be unleashed in the coming months as restrictions lessen, testing rates increase, a vaccine makes it to market, and treatments improve. We all have days where we wonder if any of these are ever going to happen and if you can ever travel again. They will and you can! Any day that you are planning a vacation is a good day. You might not quite know when you will be able to take the trip but there is no harm in planning it, talking about it, breathing some much needed life into the fragments of a dream that will hopefully one day come to fruition. If you start the groundwork now, you are that much further on when everything opens up again and it’s just a matter of picking a date at that point.
We’ve all seen that the seemingly impossible can happen and, while it is the corniest of clichés, we’re here for a good time, not a long time, and should look to make the most of that precious time. With that, here are some things you can do while you wait to travel again:
What exactly are you looking for from your next vacation? Do you want to escape the cold weather to sit on a beach and sip cocktails for seven days in a row? Are you looking for a stunning coastal drive with jaw-dropping scenery around every bend in the narrow road? Do you wish to get your adrenaline flowing on an adventure vacation? Are you anticipating something slower paced with a good mix of culture and nature? Many destinations will tick a lot of your boxes so it is up to you to figure out what is most important to you and fit your vacation around that. There’s no right or wrong way to travel, but it is always a good idea to check in with yourself and make sure your interests still interest you.
The internet is a vast place full of interesting, funny, useful articles about everything that might be pertinent to anyone. It is also full of the exact opposite. There are e-books, white papers, PDFs, downloadable guides, blog posts, and articles pertaining to have the best information on their chosen topic – very often they do not. If you are interested in a destination, it is always best to go to the source and make your way from there. The local tourist board’s website would be our best advice. No one knows their country and those who sell it better than they do, and they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Think Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland and Iceland, among other places. Remember Lord of the Rings in New Zealand as the most famous of examples, or the Harry Potter movies that were set in various locations across England and Scotland (and one brief cameo of the Cliffs of Moher). What about movies that are both set in the country and tell of its history and culture? Taking Scotland as the example, Braveheart (although riddled with historical inaccuracies), Rob Roy, or Outlander are all good options here. They don’t all have to be serious. Sit back and enjoy that silly movie on Netflix where Will Ferrell is Iceland’s Eurovision entry (Play ‘Ja Ja Ding Dong!’). Maybe you would prefer to lean into the documentaries and get to know the castles of Britain or Ireland. There’s also a whole host of travel bloggers on Youtube to get stuck into, if that’s your thing. There is an insane amount of good content out there so embrace it until you can experience the real thing.
Music is the universal language. It helps to know the message the singer is trying to get across but oftentimes it doesn’t matter. I listen to a Swedish artist called Melissa Horn. She was suggested to me on Spotify at some point and her music just stopped me in my tracks. I have been listening to the same few songs of hers for years now and to this day I have absolutely no idea what she is singing about. As I am Irish living abroad, I obviously identify with some of the emigrant songs like Spancil Hill, Rainy Night in Soho, or the haunting Kilkelly. That doesn’t mean I don’t also appreciate Frightened Rabbit (Scotland), David Gray (England), Stereophonics (Wales), Sigur Ros (Iceland), or The Tallest Man on Earth (Sweden). If you’re looking for any more recommendations (for music or otherwise), email us at [email protected] and we’ll be only too happy to oblige.
Eat & Drink
I know when I go to Scotland, one of the first things I order is the haggis, neeps and tatties washed down with the pint of Belhaven. Part of immersing yourself in the culture of a place is eating the food and drinking the beer (or wine or spirits). There may not be a Scottish, Icelandic, or Swiss restaurant in your town so it makes it a little more difficult to recreate the experience from home. We are all cooking more and it can be fun to try your hand at a traditional recipe or wander down the ‘Shop the World’ aisle at your local supermarket. It’s certainly not the same as the real thing but it is a serviceable replacement until you can have the real thing again. You might even find a new dish to add to your rotation like Faroe Island Salmon, Scotch Egg, or Irish Stew.
You’ve decided what you want from you next vacation and you’ve immersed yourself very deeply in the cultures of some of the destinations that fit your criteria. You’re still not ready to book the actual trip but you’re not going to hurt anyone if you start planning. Contact your travel agent or find one that specializes in your possible future destinations and let them know what you are thinking. They will be delighted to hear from you. Just be up front in telling them that you know a lot about what you want to do but not when you can do it and they will take it from there. If you are unsure why you should get a good travel agent, you can find more information here.