Someone in your household will have said it – “When this lockdown’s over, the first place we’re going is…” You may have even started turning your daydreams into more elaborate travel plans. You’re not alone. Thousands of holidaymakers have either had to cancel or postpone their summer holiday this year. Sad, yes, but not as sad as what’s going on around us currently. Perspective is everything.
That said, there is nothing wrong with feeling a little bit down in the dumps about missing out on your sun-drenched oasis, sea bound Margaritas or sky-scraping city breaks. Many anticipated 2020 holiday breaks have now been put on pause.
I advise you dust yourself off, pour a nice G&T and start thinking about how you can best capture your next adventure. Who knows, you may even change your mind and want to go for a whole new location with a whole new vibe. After all, we’re all going to come out of this lockdown slightly different people than we were before.
Before we look at the possible pockets of inspiration for our next holiday, I would advise investing in a small notepad or using Notes on your phone to keep a steady account of your ideas. Be open; it doesn’t matter how crazy they are. Jot everything down that comes to mind. Pinterest is also useful for capturing visual ideas for your next trip. If you’re in a relationship, get your partner in on the game, agreeing that neither will shoot down the other’s ideas. Because that’s all these are at the moment – ideas. For your list to be truly effective, you need to feel free to express whatever is going on in that little quarantined head of yours. Nothing is off limits. At this point, I wouldn’t even worry about budget. There are plenty of ways to make your dream getaway a reality on a show-string. But that all comes later. For now, you want to focus in on the muses in your home…
1. The Power Of Television
I don’t have the numbers, but you don’t have to be a statistician to know that people will be watching more television these days. From box sets to blockbusters, everyone is getting their fill of daytime, midday and into-the-night digital entertainment. And that’s ok. Let’s face it, for those who are at home, there isn’t going to be another occasion in our lifetime where we can actually watch all eight seasons of Game Of Thrones back-to back, stopping only for toilet breaks and snacks. But how does this relate to your jet-setting dreams?
Now is the time to not only tune into the locations we see in films and television, but to actively research them. Always wondered what Vienna is like? Watch ‘Before Sunrise’; Ethan Hawk spends the whole night walking through the city with a new acquaintance. Curious about Paris? Why not check out ‘Midnight In Paris’ with Owen Wilson? Fancy a cultural whirlwind experience of Barcelona? Join Scarlett Johansson as she does the tourist thing in ‘Vicky, Christina, Barcelona’. Like your holidays a little bit more exotic? Then I recommend watching any of the new Mission Impossible or James Bond films – you can practically feel your Passport filling up as you watch those movies. The point is, it’s as easy as going to your search engine and typing in the words: ‘Films set in **chosen location**’ – the internet will do the rest.
2. Travel Blogs
It sounds clichéd, but there is no better way to virtually experience a place than through someone else’s eyes. Back in the days before YouTube and high-speed internet, only posh journalists were entitled to comment on the what’s and wherefores’ of tourist destinations. These days, we get a better, more well-rounded exposure to the world around us. Not only can we read, listen or watch first-hand accounts, but we can see adventures of people who go off the beaten track too, if that’s your kinda thing. The Lonely Planet series is great, but you will always find someone that little bit more adventurous on the fringes; happy to go places where business insurance might not. Let’s be clear; I’m not suggesting we all engage in kamikaze holidays here. I’m just saying now is the time and opportunity to start thinking outside the box. Go beyond your comfort zone maybe. Always go to that same resort, year after year because you know it’s ‘good value’ and won’t disappoint? Perhaps this lockdown has awoken an inner adventurer?
Without being biased, this travel blog will be a good place to start. The stories here are based on an honest and up-front experience, one you can hopefully relate to. And talking of relatable blogs, why not check out Facebook? A lot of things will be tailored to your interests. Are you a female who is scared of travelling alone? Are you looking for inspiration? There’s a Facebook group called Girls Love Travel (GLT), founded by Haley Woods in December of 2015. GLT is a community of active and aspiring women travellers. They have a blog and use Facebook to share resources and encourage others to ‘dive in’ to the world of travel. Just the other day I saw a post about the Chocolate and Cheese Train in Switzerland. It took two words to sign me up. I love chocolate and my partner loves cheese. Something for everyone! (It’s firmly in my notebook, along with accommodation suggestions, Swiss travel routes and sun hat / woolly hat options, depending on when this lockdown ends).
There are lots of great resources out there. Yes, it can be daunting and overwhelming, but by listening to others’ stories, there may be something in there that we can identify with or relate to; and that might just be enough to spark that inner travel fuse and set the imagination going.
3. Jack Of All Trades
A few weeks ago I started baking. I’m thirty-nine years old and have rarely in my life. There was a reason for that. Without any baking utensils, I set about making (and burning) several ‘apple pies’, ‘biscuits’ and ‘sponges’ – I’m using quotation marks because their validity as these things is still questionable. The point is, I tried something I had always wanted to try. I am not great at it. Practice may do nothing to remedy my naïve ambition, but I tried and tried again. What has this to do with travel? Well, another outcome of this free time we now have, is the discovery or re-discovery of a new or old hobby. A passion project. An activity that was pretty much forbidden due to the work/life responsibilities. If you’re lucky enough to work from home, you may still have all these responsibilities. It may actually be tougher than it was before. As this ‘new normal’ progresses, you’ll start to ace it. The home-schooling will get easier. The new life-home balance will get easier. And then, it will be time for you to focus on a little bit of self-care. And that doesn’t just mean a long, uninterrupted bath. It could mean a re-connection with that part of you that’s always at the end of the priority line.
Love painting? Treat yourself. Make or find time in your day to re-live that joy. Love wine? Why not engage in a bit of home vineyard wine-tasting? If you keep your glass outside the viewpoint of your laptop camera, your boss will never know.
Lockdown is an opportunity for us to reconnect with the things that we love to do – just for us. And this could quite easily fold out into your next travel adventure. Why not build an itinerary that encompasses a road trip to visit all the art museums that hold your favourite artists’ work? Or perhaps your next trip should be a Champagne region tour, entirely by bicycle? (Please don’t drive a bicycle whilst drunk, but that’s a story for another time)
4. Tapping Into Your Dreams
You may have always been interested in sleep, dreams or dreaming. You may have never had an interest in those things. Either way, reports are coming in that people are experiencing an intense surge in their dream recall. Experts say this is due to a combination of factors. The first is that for many, their alarm clock has become redundant. Sleep cycles have become uninterrupted, which means that dreams can play out for longer. People may be waking up naturally, which means more time in bed after waking. A perfect time to take note of the dreams they’ve just had.
Another thing that is affecting us, is the impact of mass change on our subconscious minds. Just because it is beneath the surface of our waking, conscious thoughts, doesn’t mean it doesn’t know what’s going on. The brain will be dealing with a lot of unprocessed feelings and emotions; especially if you are, for example, working hard on the front line as a key worker. You will be operating on a mixture of adrenalin and automatic responses, just focusing on carrying on. But your mind will be trying to make sense of how you feel, even though you don’t have time to feel it.
Dreams are a window into what our soul is experiencing, and that’s no less true when it comes to our desires. Sometimes we dream about places we want to go. Sometimes we visualise things even when we’re not sure if we want them. Other times we dream about absolutely crazy things we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy. Dreams are peppered with mixed emotions and images. It’s unchartered territory, but that’s also what makes it so exciting.
If we are in a position to tap into our dreams a little more, then we’re also in a position to listen to what they’re telling us.
As a lucid dreamer, I do many air miles whilst sleeping. I’ve been to Antigua, Japan, Argentina – you name it, I’ve been there, and it hasn’t cost me a penny. But just because you dream it, doesn’t mean you can’t make that dream a reality. Try this: next time you wake up from a heavy slumber, take a minute to think back on your dreams. Did you travel anywhere? Were there landmarks? Were you on a beach? Was Brad Pitt rubbing sun-tan lotion onto your skin? Whatever you’re dreaming about, it could be your subconscious’ way of trying to communicate your next holiday destination.
So that’s it folks, your four home based tips for that next bespoke adventure. Get your sun hat, woollies and soul at the ready, for when this is over, everything will feel so much sweeter – you’re going to need that list to navigate your way through your next big trip.