The world is in lockdown, the travel ban is worldwide, and if you didn’t know, where the hell have you been hiding?
Covid-19 is sweeping the world in something that hasn’t been seen in our, or even our elders lifetimes. The news feeds are full of misery, false news and government updates, the high streets are empty, but our supermarkets and local parks are full. No long term plans can be made as borders are closed, airlines shut down and police are pulling cars over.
It is an incredible time of loss, an incredible amount of people are losing their lives every day, others are losing loved ones, and others are in fear of being in one of those two categories. Not to mention those that are at risk of being in the first in the future, because other health departments have been repurposed for Corona.
I don’t want to linger on the sorrow and sadness, because that is not what I am about. This blog is for seeing the hard, the saddening, and finding ways to overcome, to work around. To enable.
You can get your dose of sorrow, and panic from your facebook feed, or any news outlet. So lets go back to what I do best, and talk about accessible travel!
So with the travel ban, this post is interesting, to say the least. Usually, posts to help make travel accessible is aimed at those with disability and illness, but this time its everyone!
How wonderful would it be if there were hacks to make travel possible right now, without having an impact on the virus and those fighting its spread? But there isn’t, and the cold harsh truth is, you need to stay home and stay safe.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to satiate your desire, to delight your wanderlust, and prepare for when the time is that we can make it out the door and on to that plane! Read on for suggestions on how to do just that.
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Make a Bucket List.
Everyone has one right?
I have a vague one… very vague. I want to travel more, see more of the world. Go to the Philippines, see the Terracotta Army, that kinda thing. Do I have it written down? Kinda. Making it into a real-life working document is on my to-do list during the travel ban and lockdown for sure. And likely to be something I actually publish too in the next few weeks, as I complete through this post myself!
Already have one? Perfect, your spare time during the travel ban is perfect to update, tick off and add to it.
Your bucket list should always be a working document, but never delete or erase things from it. If your interests or ethics change, for example, and a goal no longer fits you, leave a line through it at most. Write an explanation why you’ve changed and no longer want it on your list.
A Bucket List, in my view, is a personal development document for your life. It’ll show you where you were in your life when you made your first entries, and how you’ve changed and adapted as a person as you did the things on your list!
How you set out your list is totally up to you. Put it on paper, download an app (yep there are apps for that), or make a document in your phone or on your computer, in word or your note. Or if you’re like me, and have a weird.. some may call it obsession.. with spreadsheets, use excel!
Start off with your wider goals for after this travel ban, and then expand upon them. For example, “go back to Spain” would be your broad goal, that can then be broken down to include “stay in Cordoba”. Which you can then add to, “visit the Mezquita Cordoba”.
You can go on for as long as you like, the more the merrier, and don’t be afraid to add to places you’ve already been, going back to places you’ve been is acceptable!
Just make sure you add dates for when you added it to your list and a column for when you managed to tick it off your list, so you can look back in years to come at all your experiences, and how your tastes evolved over your life!
Research New Places
Bucket list and research seem to go hand in hand right?
Take some downtime to unwind, imagine yourself in new places, see what the sights are, and then add them to your bucket list! How can you know where you want to go if you don’t know where is possible.
Now, when I say research.. going to the library’s travel section might come to mind, and if that thrills you, well, you do you, honey. But besearch doesn’t have to be sitting with a book.
It can be looking through pins on pinterest (and pinning them to your “to add to bucket list” board), it can be scrolling through the #travelinspo posts on Instagram, or even watching some David Attenborough documentaries.
Just think outside the box and do what inspires you! ..Or maybe that’s inside your box..
Are you a foodie? Watch Anthony Bourdain (thankfully I google checked his name first, I almost advised you to watch one of my favourite photographers – Guy Bourdin) eat his way from country to country, making a note of the dishes you NEED to try.
Fashionista? Find out where the shopping capitals are that you just need to visit, and find out what is unique to each country. For example, it would be a crime to go to Vietnam, and not go to Hoi An, where you can’t move a metre without seeing a tailor shop.
Not everyone’s research will use the same methods, far from it in fact. Select the right means and it will be a joy, not a job!
Plan your next trip
So now you have a list of where you want to go. You’re totally inspired to go to a certain new place, eat the local food, and do the thing you saw on that travelog on YouTube. You can now plan to perfection.
Ok, maybe not perfection, because you can’t decide on dates, or check airline costs accurately at the moment. Not ideal I know, but this blog is all about adapting, right? So you can plan the rest of the stuff to perfection. Then, when things are a little clearer again, you can book with ease.
Check out the Airports at your location, and the best ways to get around. It may be best to fly in to one and out of another, and get boats between locations. Or taking taxis further out but staying central may be more your thing because of how affordable they are.
Have a look and find out when the best time is to visit your location. If you like the searing heat, go in high season or summer. If you like to miss the main bulk of the crowds and sight see, go in shoulder seasons. But find out your perfect time so you’ll know when to look for flights and book your work time off.
Get on your Booking.com account and start a new favourites list, or one for each location, if you want to bounce around. Have a look through and favourite the hotels you like that are in and just above your price range. The prices often fluctuate, so if, when travel is on the cards again, you keep checking your lists, you may just find that the one just above your price range gets an offer on it!
Then move over to your Trip Advisor account, favourite all the places you just need to visit when the travel ban is over, look at the types of attractions and tours available and don’t forget to seek out the most authentic restaurants.
By the end of this, you should have an idea of how you’d like to spread your time, when you’d like to go roughly, and where you’d love to stay. So when you do manage to get those flights booked and dates secured, the rest will be a doddle.
Look at your old photos
There’s nothing quite like a bit of nostalgia. And I’ve been in the process of this one for a few weeks, as I’m still trying to edit my way through over 2,000 photos from our last Vietnam trip (and those are just the ones we liked!)
Take yourself back to life pre-Covid, put yourself back on that beach, see yourself stood in front of that UNESCO site. Let the thoughts of the travel ban melt out of your mind. Imagination is a powerful thing, so stop thinking of the negative currently occupying the world and remember the positive as vividly as you can.
Do you post to instagram and edit your photos like I do? It’s likely that your style has adapted since some of your photos were taken. Why not take your favourites and edit them again? Give them a new lease of life. Hell, even do a #flashbackfriday and share with friends, writing about your favourite moment from that trip.
If you’ve never edited your photos either, why not try to do it now? Youtube and Google are great for that, I use Lightroom to edit my photos, but there are plenty of free apps out there that you can use. One of which I’ve used often on photos taken on my phone, instead of those from my camera (I shoot RAW), is VSCO. While not as good as lightroom, it would be my go-to as a free option.
You could even try to recreate your favourite photos from before the travel ban at home, just like people have been doing with famous artwork. (If you do, please tag me!)
There’s loads of companies these days too that will print your photos. These range from free photos, to reasonably priced canvases. Why not get some of your favourite images made in to art for your walls, send a postcard to a friend, or make a book of your favourite travel moments?
Reconnect with friends you made while travelling
Lets face it, we all do it, you promise to stay in touch, add them on facebook, say your goodbyes vying that you will make sure of it this time. You get home, then BAM. Life gets in the way. Time passes and its years since youve properly spoken to those buddies you met and got along with so well.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but now with the travel ban keeping everyone home and unoccupied (apart from keyworkers), is a perfect time to reach out.
Check in with them, make sure they’re ok. Reminisce on your adventures prior to the travel ban, when you met. Send the photos to them that you dug out for your flashback, of you guys together.
Why not let them know about the plans you’re making? Or tell them about some of the items on your bucket list that you think they’d love to do with you? Ask them for suggestions if they’ve been before? Or even arrange to meet them on the road once again?
Just because we are distancing, it doesn’t mean that we can’t be social (or less social than usual.. because that’s coming from the most socially awkward girl ever, so..)
Living vicariously through experiences you have had already, through others experiences that have been told to you or filmed and using your imagination are key at this time!
I’m sure there are many other ways too that you can satisfy your wanderlust, while the travel ban is on.
No one has any idea how long it could take for the travel industry to return to normal, or at the very least normalish. So I’ll keep my thinking cap on, just in case a part 2 is required.