In hindsight, I should’ve found another hobby other than traveling.
When I started this blog at Christmas, I had all my 2020 travel plans done, booked, mapped out, etc. I was excited to launch this page and had so many ideas for new content. And then COVID-19 happened.
I’ve been sitting here for weeks struggling to write any content. Coronavirus has sucked the fun out of All Things Travel and my excitement for developing this blog has completely evaporated.
Now that I’ve had a few weeks to come to terms we won’t be traveling anywhere for the foreseeable future, and with the support of some great friends, I felt like if I didn’t give myself a deadline to launch this, it would never happen.
I originally wanted to publish this before we left for Europe, with all my new posts outlined for all the places we were going to see. We had this beautiful trip to England, Belgium and France lined up for May – leaving on our anniversary -with restaurants picked, lists of all the things we planned on seeing, and then reality sunk in.
Once the sadness I felt subsided, I applied for our flight to England in May to be put into a travel bank, which was done in about a week (thanks WestJet!) and we have 24 months to use it. I cancelled all of our beautiful French farmhouse B&Bs (ouch).
Yet when people mention they feel sadness over cancelling a trip, there are many who say, “there are people dying.” Yes – this whole thing is bigger than ALL of us, but are we not still allowed to feel sorrow for losing something we were looking forward to? Just as all of the brides now having to cancel or postpone their weddings – destination or local – all of the cancelled baby showers, school graduations, parties, etc. All of our lives have been turned upside down so naturally we are going to feel wronged, angry, or sad.
We’ve all come to accept the turn of world events, and I’m trying to make myself remember that we’ve been so fortunate to take the trips we’ve been on. I have been shifting my perspectives and am reflecting on our favourite vacation memories, grateful to having been able to take them.
KEEP PLANNING AHEAD
Even though our trips for the this year have disappeared overnight, this doesn’t mean we won’t ever travel again. This is a great time to plot out your next trips, make up itineraries, and find those hole-in-the-wall restaurants, Airbnbs, or off the beaten path experiences.
Some of my favourite sites for planning include:
- Rome2Rio – for plotting how to get from A – B.
- SkyScanner – put a price watch on your flights and get notified if the price drops
- Booking.com – most properties offer free cancelation and no upfront payment, making it an excellent choice for accommodation bookings.
- Airbnb – I’ve slowly been using this more for finding charming places to stay, especially in smaller cities or during peak travel time. Join through me and get $62 CAD off your first trip!
In the meantime, we’ve been watching a lot of YouTube lately, and in particular, 3 Vloggers we can’t get enough of!
- Mark Wiens (Migrationology) If you haven’t heard of Mark, you’re missing out. He travels the globe with his wife and young son Micah getting a first hand, local experience with local guides sampling native cuisine. Undoubtedly awe-inspiring, we constantly find ourselves saying, “add this place to the list!”
- Mikey Chen (Strictly Dumpling) Mikey’s fun demeanour draws you in and the next thing you know you’re craving noodles. He also does videos of convenience store food, airlines, and buffets. A solo traveller worth subscribing to.
- Harald Baldr – We stumbled upon one of his ridiculous videos by chance – thinking “this guy can’t be for real??” A gutsy solo traveller who rents motorbikes to move through cities and rural countrysides, wanders streets we’d never dream of going, and communicates with locals without an inkling of knowledge of their language – but he manages to do it! He manages to invite himself in to peoples homes to see how they live. Harald runs a Patreon site and regularly gives back to locals.
TRANSPORT YOURSELF TO ANOTHER TIME AND PLACE
Of course there are always books to help transport you to another place. Last year I made a goal to read 50 and about 90% of them were WW2 history and historical fiction in preparation for our trip to Normandy (which hopefully we can do next year!). I learned a lot not only about the historical events, but what life in the countryside (especially during wartime) would’ve been like.
Some of my favourites include:
- The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah
- The German Midwife – Mandy Robotham
- All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
- The Longest Day – Cornelius Ryan
- The Lost Vintage – Ann Mah
- The Masked Rider – Neil Peart (by Rush’s late drummer on his bike tour through West Africa)
And so many more – check out my (growing) Goodreads list in the sidebar!
BE AN ARMCHAIR TRAVELLER
There are numerous websites offering virtual tours of museums and landmarks around the world right now!
My favourite one has to be Google Arts and Culture, with access to over 2000 museums and 11,000 places worldwide. It also features everything from food maps and cooking traditional dishes to art, music and history lessons. Travel to a new country every day! Tour the Versailles Gardens or walk the Inca Trail of Machu Picchu – the world is literally yours to discover!
We will travel again. Once we get that green light I’ll be tempted to buy a one-way ticket and take off for a few months! I can’t wait to feel the excitement of packing my suitcase and hearing, “may I see your boarding pass please?”