Health concerns and working safely are some of the biggest and most personal challenges that COVID-19 has brought upon our lives. But the longer this pandemic stretches out, the more people will simply feel restless from staying at home and keeping in touch through the medium of technology.
And while experts and employers are taking care of the large-scale problems, who’s in charge of relieving our chronic stress? We can’t travel right now, and maybe not for a while; even then, things will probably be different. It deprives us of one significant outlet for dealing with stress and anxiety.
But matters don’t have to stay that way. The loss of travel might have left a gap in your lifestyle, but you can take measures to fill that void.
Understanding your needs
Many people love to travel, but everyone has a different idea of fun. It’s a chance to experience something wonderful and new, but some of us are more adventurous than others. Some destinations cater exclusively to a certain type of traveler, while others seek to embrace all comers with various attractions.
Travel is, in essence, an experiential purchase. And in the modern world, everybody gets to order a la carte. You don’t have to follow a standard itinerary. Thanks to social media, today’s tourists are increasingly aware of niche events, off-beat experiences, and hidden local gems.
If you want to fill the void, start by asking what you seek out when you travel. What are the things you always do, and why? Then you can begin to address what you’re missing in this age of lockdowns and restricted mobility.
Taking a straightforward approach
Often, a simple solution isn’t just possible; it’s also the best replacement for the absence of travel. Lovers of art and culture, for instance, usually frequent museums, galleries, and expos in the cities they visit. In the age of the coronavirus, even local options in these categories are off the table. But going virtual has helped overcome that challenge.
The Louvre, for instance, has been offering online tours of different exhibitions since the pandemic began and continues to do so after reopening. Korea’s largest international art fair, KIAF, was able to pivot in time to host its exhibits entirely online.
Maybe you’re more of a foodie, seeking out the best local restaurants wherever you go. Or perhaps just staring through the displays of foreign products behind an industrial refrigerator glass door is enough to stimulate your appetite. In that case, online shopping easily comes to the rescue.
It’s now easier than ever to order food products from around the world online. And you can even go a step further by looking for sellers of regional ingredients on the internet. Research some international recipes, and you can whip up your own version of a foreign staple. It might not be up to the standards of your favorite Michelin-starred restaurant, but it’s a personal accomplishment you can literally savor.
Searching for the intangibles
Of course, people also travel to satisfy themselves on a deeper level. There’s a reason why we can feel much happier after spending on experiences compared to buying material things.
Travel can bring intangible yet valuable benefits to our lives. Going on an outdoor adventure, for instance, offers a higher degree of challenge and uncertainty than we usually experience daily.
It’s not just about soaking up the scenery, though that’s a lovely side attraction to have. We hike up mountains and brave heat and cold because pulling through such challenges proves our ability to overcome adversity.
On a basic level, perhaps playing a video game can offer you a similar sort of escape. Maybe you get to walk through gorgeous virtual environments. But your enjoyment of that experience also has to go beyond the visual and satisfy a craving for a challenge.
If you love to travel because it pushes you out of your comfort zone, approach your game in the same way. You could try to enter a competition with your mates, for instance. Higher stakes will demand some improvement in your skills. It makes you engage with the experience on a different level.
The same process applies to learning a foreign language or interacting with people from a different culture. Sometimes you want to know what’s on the menu or where the toilet is. But maybe you’re trying to understand more about the way people think or do things.
And if that’s the case, you have to go deeper. Instead of picking up a few phrases, try reading a book written about that culture by a local author, if possible. Try to replace travel on every level because it’s a profoundly beneficial experience, and we might not be getting it back soon.