Let’s face it, quarantine is no walk in the park for anyone. None of us are loving it. For travelers who are used to an active lifestyle, quarantine is an even bigger adjustment. Those of us with itchy feet and the habit of jetting off somewhere for the weekend are having to completely relearn how to do everyday life.
Nevertheless, this is something we’ve got to do, and I promise, we’ll get back out there someday. Until it’s safe to do so, here are some suggestions for productively channeling your wanderlust while staying at home:
Organize Your Memories
Every traveler I know has a humongous backlog of ticket stubs (and unwritten postcards, and flyers, and maps, and cool restaurant napkins, and, and, and…). Every. Single. One.
Who doesn’t love going through their old stuff, remembering adventures past? Just because we travelers are in quarantine doesn’t mean that we can’t take a trip or two down memory lane!
So, take this time to organize your memories! Too much stuff? Don’t be overwhelmed! You don’t have to go from zero to scrapbooker pro overnight. Do it in bite-sized chunks:
- Sort. Sort your keepsakes into trips. For example, place all the items you picked up on your trip to Italy in one pile, all the items from Spain in another pile, etc.
- Arrange. Once you’ve got the trips sorted out, focus on one. I like to put everything in chronological order. That way, the souvenirs I picked up are in the same order as the corresponding entries in my travel journal. This makes for easy reference later on. (“Why do I have a napkin from some distillery in Scotland? Let me check my notes and see if I said anything about it…”)
- Protect and Contain. Put everything in a container that’s going to protect it. My preferred method is to put everything in page protectors in a binder. Every trip gets its own binder, and every destination its own page protector! Nice and easy. My mother makes decorative boxes for each of her trips. You can even go full-crafter and scrapbook your whole trip! Order what you need from your favorite craft store online.
Also, this might be a good time to write your adventures down, if you haven’t already. I keep a journal while I’m traveling, and I write down what I did and the things that made an impression on me. I cannot even tell you how nice it is to relive some of those memories by going through old journals!
Keep in Touch
I cannot stress this one enough. Whether you’re a go-it-aloner or part of a ride-or-die adventure gang, travelers are social people! We love meeting new friends and catching up with old buds, usually over a pint in a new place. But, now we’re finding that being travelers in quarantine is hard stuff. Even as we want to get out there and do stuff, we want to protect our friends, and so we’re keeping our physical distance.
But that doesn’t mean you have to maintain emotional or communicative distance. Never in the history of the world has it been so easy to keep in touch with others, even people in other countries, and even in quarantine. Find your people on Facebook or WhatsApp and have a chat. Many apps also have good video call options. (WhatsApp is my preferred app; people all over the world use it, it has great emoji and GIF options, and the video call is pretty good quality.)
The Post Office is still running, too! Who doesn’t love getting a card in the mail? With home printing, you can even put your hometown on a postcard and send it to your friends abroad, just like you would while you were traveling. To minimize contact with postal workers, you can order stamps online and have them delivered to your door, and then drop your postcards in the mailbox on your daily walk through the neighborhood (while observing proper social distancing, of course!).
Pro tip: Order card stock from your local stationery store, and print your homemade postcard on that. Otherwise, it won’t hold up in transit!
Become an Armchair Adventurer
I know, I know, I’m always on about books. But the thing is, books are great! I’ll abridge my reasons and keep it specific to why the wanderlusty among us should read them: Because travelers are writers.
I’m not talking about guide books, here, although those are also great. I’m talking about travelers who have written their stories down so that the rest of us can read them. Travelogues are a whole genre that could fill all your time from now until Kingdom Come. More immediately, they’re a good way for travelers in quarantine to adventure vicariously. These books are great, and often painfully honest. Some of my favorite travelogues are:
- Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams. Part travelogue, part historical survey, this is a great read for anyone interested in South American history and/or the legendary city itself.
- The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu by Charlie English. Total Indiana Jones vibes here. Real-life librarians saved priceless historical manuscripts from almost certain destruction by al-Qaeda.
- Hamlet Globe to Globe by Dominic Dromgoole. An acting troupe out of the Globe Theatre in London (yes, that Globe Theatre) set out on a mission to bring the world a bit closer together by staging Hamlet in every country in the world.
There’s also the good, old-fashioned adventure story. Who doesn’t love one of those? Here are some of my faves:
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. This book made me want to become a pirate. Yes, I know I learned the exact wrong lesson from this book. No angry letters, please.
- The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami. This is historical fiction, and tells the story of Mustafa ibn Muhammad ibn Abdussalam al-Zamori, renamed Estebanico, an African slave dragged along on Cabeza de Vaca’s doomed expedition into the New World.
- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I know, everyone knows about this one. If you’re at all interested in Scotland, Scottish history, time travel, romance, bracing adventure stories, or strong female leads, this is a good one. Bonus points: There are multiple books, plus a ht TV series to go along with them, so there’s the potential for entertainment for the better part of quarantine, here.
While going to the library is out of the question, you can still buy books and have them delivered to your door. Independent bookshops all over the country have set up their own delivery services, so check to see if your local seller has the book you want before turning to other online booksellers, like Amazon.
Plan Your Next Trip
To travelers, it might seem like quarantine is lasting for as long as the last Ice Age, but I promise, we’ll get out there again! When it’s time, you should be ready for it.
Start planning your next adventure! Pick a place on the map and start researching. (Check out our Adventures page if you need a little inspiration to get you going.) You can make notes about attractions, things to do, what the local dishes are, good day trips… The list goes on and on. The only difference between what you’re doing now and what you normally do is that you’re not booking anything. Keep your notes organized so that when we’re allowed to get going again, you can easily find them and put your plan into action.
Psst: We have a travel planner that can help you do just that on our Etsy store!
Have any other ideas of how to maintain sanity while stuck at home? Let us know in the comments below! And no matter where you’re at or how you feel, remember that we’re in this together, and we’ll get through it together.