With international travel off the table for the forseeable, it's been an interesting time for travelholics like us. You don't realise how much you take something for granted until it's gone, and we are certainly missing travel.
The Germans even have a word for it: "FERNWEH", a yearning for far off places. That ache we travel addicts know all too well when we're home for too long. And the Corona cabin fever is starting to bite!
Of course it is vital that we all stay home in order to stay safe and stop this awful virus from spreading any further and claiming any more lives, but that doesn't stop us from missing our wanderlust life.
Here are our top tips for coping with travel withdrawal during lockdown.
1. Travel Virtually
From virtual video hikes through American National Parks to interactive museums to live African safaris, there is SO much travel inspiration that can make you feel like you're back exploring again. We have written a blog about our favourite 10 amazing ways you can do this online here
2. Cook your way around the world
One of our favourite things about travelling is eating all the amazing new foods we come across. We've been spending time looking up recipes from around the world to explore different countries from our kitchen. So far we've cooked Italian, Spanish, Mexican, Indian, Singaporean, North American... and we've been supporting our local Indian and Chinese takeaways too. Corona calories don't count, right?? Have a tapas night or make enchiladas, and don't forget to choose a wine to match the country you're 'visiting'!
3. Get outside into nature
Hiking, camping and being in the great outdoors is our happy place. Being locked down with the occasional walk around a local meadow has been tough to say the least, but we've been making sure to get the sun on our faces and fresh air in our lungs as much as possible. It really does lift the spirits!
Now that English lockdown has been eased a little, we've discovered a beautiful new long walk that we've named our "Everglades Walk" - it goes along the river on a woodland boardwalk and across an amazing long pedestrian bridge over scrubby marshy floodplain and meadow. We take our birdwatching binoculars and pretend we're back in Florida.
The latest easing of regulations means that we can now drive as far as we like within England in order to get outside, which means we've finally managed a day trip to the North Norfolk Coast. It may not be tropical, but this is one of our favourite places in the world, and only about a 2 hour drive for us. You can walk for miles along the wild and windy coastline, the sandy beaches are enormous, and we even took our wet suits and went in the sea! So liberating - we felt so relaxed that we literally felt like we'd had a spa day.
4. Have a pool party with your family
The UK has been enjoying a heatwave, so we bought a paddling pool (one of our best ideas ever). We put on our favourite Planet Rock radio station, and get the BBQ out, making the most decadent burgers we can think of (pineapple, halloumi, thick cut onion and tomato) ... mix some outrageous tropical cocktails and you've basically got a Las Vegas pool party!
5. Go garden camping
Camping! Yes really - we are so lucky to have a back garden, last week we pitched up our tent and spent the night outside. We also lit the fire pit- toasting marshmallows over an open fire under the stars instantly took us back to Yosemite National Park.
6. Go on safari
We love taking our binoculars on a walk and making a list of all the birds we see, like a mini safari. We've done this both at home in the Cambridgeshire countryside and also at the Norfolk coast - we counted about 50 different species! We're also taking time to appreciate the nature in our own garden - we have bird feeders and a bird bath, and we're really enjoying watching the life that is right outside the kitchen window. The roses and lavender are all growing now and we're getting lots of butterflies too!
7. Reminisce and going through old photos.
It's awful to admit, but we're only just now finally sorting, editing and printing photos from our honeymoon nearly 2 years ago - some will go in frames (we're making a gallery wall up our the stairs), some to be turned into canvases. We're also posting lots of travel throwbacks on our Instagram account which has been a lot of fun, though we can't wait until we have new travel content!
8. Look at maps.
We love poring over maps and planning where to go - this week we've been ordering USA state maps to plan out future roadtrips and circle points of interest - we've just bought Wyoming, Colorado and South Dakota and have been working out a suitable route for the next time we can get to the States. So many amazing places! We've just discovered Dinosaur National Monument and the Oglala National Grassland. Fantastic names!
9. Plan future itineraries so you're ready to go as soon as we can all travel again.
Planning and researching our trips is one of our favourite things to do (apart from actually going of course!), so we've been cracking on with writing itineraries for several potential ideas - this means that the minute that the world reopens and we can safely travel, we will be ready to go!
We've got a trip planned for each eventuality, depending on where we are are to go, COVID-19 permitting:
- If we can go to the USA, we have a 3 week road trip in mind that will take in Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota.
- If the US are off limits but Asia is open, we will go to Singapore and Vietnam.
- If we are unable to fly long haul but Europe is open, we'll do a 2 week hiking/beach trip in France, or go to Crete.
- If we can't go abroad at all, we will do a staycation here in the UK! We have always dreamed of hiking the coast to coast trail from St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay. This trail is about 200 miles and crosses the whole of England from west to east, through 3 national parks and some really gorgeous scenery.
10. Check and test your kit.
Now is a great time to dig out all your travel kit and check that it still works, or fix it/order a replacement if needed. Does your tent need patching? Do you have enough tent pegs? Does your head torch still work? Your solar charger? Are your hiking boots still comfy?
Now we can go out further afield in the UK and visit the great outdoors again, why not take some of your kit for a practice run? We did some walking at the North Norfolk Coast last week and took our Osprey backpacks with our platypus (platypi?) water reservoirs, trekking sandals, solar charger and binoculars to make sure they were all still in working order after not touching them for the last 2 months. Backyard camping also gives us the chance to check our tent, camping mattress and stove as well, plus it's hilarious!!
Have you tried any of our suggestions? They've certainly been helping us. What else have you been doing to combat travel withdrawral symptoms?