How to escape and ‘travel’ in a different way?
So you are trapped in quarantaine with the “Travel virus”?
You are so used to travelling and living at a fast pace that you feel completely overwhelmed after “only” a few weeks of lockdown?
Luckily I wrote a post for you some time ago, never for a minute thinking about the coronavirus… But I thought it could come in handy to read it again and remind myself of what other creative ways there are of escaping.
And remember: health is precious and even if it seems hard to stay home, practice empathy and gratitude towards all the people fighting the virus in the hospitals, patients and hospital staff.
If you speak Spanish I highly recommend this video of one of my favourite journalists, Jordi Evole.
I hope you enjoy my article, and don’t hesitate to share any other ideas you may have in the comments section below! I also added some comments in italic to adapt to some of the ideas that were not initially meant for the lockdown. Enjoy the read!
So you are not in great shape, you have no time, your priorities lie eslewhere or simply you have no cash right now, but still would love to travel?
And like me, you are a travel addict?
Well, don’t get depressed!
Even if you think you can’t travel, be creative. There is always a way!
It might not be of the sipping a cocktail at the pool in a 5 star hotel kind, I get that.
But there is still a way, my dear, don’t quit just yet…
Look at your pictures
So when we are travelling, instead of simply enjoying the moment, we usually spend a great deal of our time taking photos, selfies, then posting them on Facebook, Instagram and so on. But have we actually looked at those pics again?
Guilty: No, not really…
It’s great to share your experiences with others, but be a little selfish too! Enjoy them again by yourself.
When I look at my photos or videos, I suddenly remember all those moments. I smile. I laugh. I am amazed. I get emotional. I feel like I am back in Brazil, Madagascar, Bali… or wherever I had the opportunity to travel to in the past!
Take a cookbook
Yes, cooking is a great way to remember the flavours of your holidays.
Greek food was my last… Oh how delicious it was!
Well, my tip is, when you love an ingredient, like certain spices or a typical oil, get yourself that present when you are on that trip. It’s so much better than a useless souvenir!
And use it to cook your favourite dish, and travel with your senses!
Go to a nice restaurant
Not everybody enjoys cooking so another option is going to the restaurant.(And if you can’t go to the restaurant during the lockdown, order a takeaway!)
No need to be rich. Some great apps can get you great deals.
If you want to save money, it is better to go at lunch time, as the prices are better than dinners and week-ends. Many restaurants offer set lunch menus at affordable prices.
Recently, I missed delicious Japanese food and I am not good at cooking this type of food. So I went to Udon for lunch next door. Oh my… It was absolutely delicious and cheap!
Plus for once, we had great service!
Meet the tourists
In Barcelona, we have lots of tourists from all over the world.
If you live in such a city, take the opportunity to meet them! Be nice and help them find their way, just as the Japanese helped us find ours countless times!
Chat around a drink if you are in the same bar!
Instead of complaining about the tourists, meet them!
They will impress you with their stories. They will be happy as you are when you are travelling, and happiness is contagious. So the chances are, you will feel happy too!
And who knows, you might become friends on Facebook and visit them one day!
During the lockdown, you can always get connected with fellow travellers in different Facebook groups and start a conversation with them!
Watch travel programs
I love doing that on Sunday mornings. There is a program called Españoles en el Mundo.
It shows the life of Spaniards living all around the world. So inspiring!
This is how I discovered Salvador de Bahia in Brazil and decided to go there one day.
It can give you ideas!
There are plenty of channels dedicated to travel. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
Go to the library
You will find lots of resources to get inspired.
Most libraries do have a travel section, where you can check out rough guides.
They also have a magazine section where you can sit and read about your favourite destinations.
While we can’t go out: rent online books. Check here for the Barcelona virtual library.
Write about your adventures
When I write about my trips on my blog, it takes me back to the moments I spent in a particular place. I want to give some details so I go back in my memories and think of all the great moments and all the anecdotes I can think of… And I feel like I am travelling again!
If you don’t like writing, you can share a great photo on your favourite social media and write a short message, that also does the feelgood trick!
Follow your friends
Instead of being jealous when your colleagues or friends go away on holidays, ask them to send you a postcard, photos on Whatsapp, etc. Keep in touch. Just the fact of sharing their experience with you will make you travel in a different way. And will inspire you to go places! Who knows, you may be able to go there one day too!
While Europe is closing its borders during Covid19, and we are all staying home, I followed a good friend of mine I was supposed to meet last week, while he was able to travel to Ireland. Although his trip got shortened, I dreamed through his photos….
I also have friends who live by the sea and send me their pictures or videos while we are stuck at home in the city… Or my parents in law send us beautiful pics of their home and garden in the countryside of Valencia…
Become a member of a loyalty program
They will send you promotions and ideas.
Eventually you may come across a super offer. Like the ones you find during Black Friday or Cyber Monday. And for accommodation there are always cheap alternatives in hostels, B&Bs, and even couch-surfing!
I did this thanks to a promotion via my Flying blue membership that allowed me to go to Japan under 400 euros return flight including taxes. And as I had a Japanese friend I had accommodated in my house several times, she invited me to stay at hers too!
There are many airlines offering flexibility if you book this month because of the current travel restrictions. So plan ahead, book for this summer and if the situation stays as it is, most airlines will allow you to change without paying a penalty, only the price difference. This can be an option in the meantime!
Ask for help
I could not walk at all, but my husband decided I would still enjoy our holidays planned months in advance instead of cancelling.
So he asked for a wheelchair and he pushed me around, so that I could still enjoy it a little!
I could not have been more grateful.
Ask your airline, they can arrange a wheelchair if you are unwell or injured but still able to travel.
Sometimes you need to accept your limitations and just do what it takes to get the help you need, to be able to do what you want!
Sometimes you don’t need to go far to travel.
You can go to a nice village near your city which has beautiful architecture or landscapes.
In Barcelona we have so many places to go to: Sant Pol de Mar, Sitges, Tarragona, Girona…
Take a train, a bus, a bike, or rent a car. Or go with friends on a Sunday excursion.
You can also register on websites like Meet up and find a group that enjoys excursions and travel.
Have you noticed? When you live somewhere, you usually know less about your place than tourists do! I hear that all the time when I travel and talk to locals!
If you are in Barcelona during Covid19 restrictions, this is not an option right now. But hopefully we will be able to travel again within the country of our residence!
Learn the language
So your dream is to go to South America one day but you don’t speak Spanish?
Take a Spanish class!
I am not talking about a free class like the ones you can get from an app. I am talking about a real class in a real classroom with a real teacher or with a native who knows about the culture, the food, and much more than just the language.
It goes beyond learning the language, and is so interesting and so much fun, that you feel like you are a little bit there already!
Plus, when you do finally get to go, locals will really appreciate the effort and time you put into really learning about their culture.
And if you can’t go to a classroom, go online, courses are really good nowadays!
Go to an Irish pub
I lived in Ireland for many years… I loved the place! Why? – Mainly because of its great atmosphere!
First of all, you won’t have any problem finding an Irish pub, they are everywhere!
I cannot remember a place I visited where there wasn’t one!
I don’t drink alcohol but I take my favourite refreshment: Cranberry juice!
You can also get great beer and what used to be a favourite of mine: cider!
If you are lucky you might enjoy a live concert, as we did when we were in Copenhagen!
You can always have a conference call with friends while sipping your favourite Irish beer!
Enjoy the music
I mentioned earlier that you could bring back some more meaningful souvenirs, and one that I particularly like to bring back home is the music of the country I have visited.
When we went to South Africa, we enjoyed the local music so much that we ended up bringing several CDs home. Every time I play them I am travelling back in time to the beautiful landscapes of Mpumalanga.
I also remember when we went to Cancun, we left the tourist area and went to the Mexican side to see a live band play. The show was simply amazing. People stood up as soon as the music started and danced, which I was not used to in my home country.
They played a lot of salsa music and one song I really love from Celia Cruz: La vida es un carnaval. Now every time I hear this song, I am transported back in time to that very special moment!
I was living in Ireland at that time and sometimes missed the Caribbean climate… But we found a great venue every Tuesday night where we could take salsa classes during the first hour, and then enjoy live music till late. When I was dancing, I didn’t remember I was in one of the wettest and chilliest countries of Europe. The band was from Guatemala, and it was definitely a great way to escape without having to pack my bags.
Get a job where you need to travel
Sometimes you may have to travel for work.
If you do, you know how it is: not exactly like the kind of trip we have while on holidays…
You do not get to see very much, aside from the airport, shuttle buses, meeting rooms and if you are lucky a nice restaurants or two…
If you have lots of meetings you’re on the go non stop!
But maybe you can take one day of your personal holiday allowance and extend your trip, taking advantage of the fact that your ticket has been paid for!
This option is not possible right now, but you can prepare for when it is! Start to look for that destination where you would like to live and start preparing your resume and for the kind of job you want, and check the companies, businesses or entities you would like to work for.
Visit your friends and family
The best way to travel in my opinion.
Your friends and family know much more about the place they live in than a rough guide would. Or maybe they don’t, but at least it will be off the beaten track.
We want to be surrounded by the people we love, and it doesn’t matter where they live. Just being with them will be fun.
I have friends and family all over the world and I miss them so much!
And when I visit them I try to combine it with a little sightseeing.
I can’t visit them at the moment but they send me photos from their home or we skype and I feel I am traveling a little!
So those were just a few ideas to get you to still travel in some way, and I probably haven’t thought of everything yet!
So keep the sparkle, be positive, whatever the reason you cannot travel, you may be able to travel for real again in the future. If that’s what you really want, you will make it happen!
Any other ideas, feel free to share in the comments below!
Freaking awesome article! BILLION Dollar tips in this article. THIS BELONGS IN THE TRAVELMAGAZINE “CONDENAST” I am always buying! I took the opportunity to send it to them as I am buying the magazine anyway! If I am paying money I want to have top value travel tips like these ones!
Such great stories. You are a well-experienced traveller, I can tell by reading your blog. Thank you for the great tips. Travelling is much fun, as you get to meet new people and experience a new culture. ❤️??