My sense of being is rooted in traveling. As an avid traveler, this pandemic has challenged that sense of self. I desired to travel to places I hadn’t yet been, but for the safety of myself and others, trips were postponed, canceled or simply changed to domestic places.
I grew up in Maui, Hawaii. One of the most geographically isolated places in the world. My mother is Japanese and I grew up visiting Japan every summer to see my grandparents. My first flight was at eight months old. Experiencing large Japanese cities was a stark contrast to my island home. The pace, energy, mentality, and so much more.
There are some people in Hawaii who never get out of the state, and even a few who never leave their island. For many however, the term island fever is very real. Island fever refers to the realization that you’re stuck on an island with nowhere to go. My childhood home remained the same but as I got older, the desire to travel continued to grow. Much of my mental and emotional wellness is tied to traveling. I get excited planning a trip, finding accommodations, places to see and what to eat. I find flying exciting and calming. While meeting new people and learning new languages motivates me. While I have a select few I like to travel with, I also really enjoy solo travel. I leave my itinerary open to spontaneity and have the basics planned ahead of time. Traveling alone has allowed me to get out my comfort zone, make friends, find a hot-in-the-wall to eat at, or befriend a local. Pre-pandemic I have always chose international travel over domestic travel- my passport likes to accumulate stamps. But I had to really analyze what it was about travel I needed, and what I could go without. Cancelling two international trips this year has been disappointing, but it has also brought mini-trips that satiated my need to travel.
Here are some tips I have for when you have that urge to travel- especially internationally:
Explore your own city, state, or region
I know a road trip might not be quite as exhilarating as a plane taking off. But the destination is equally as appealing. You will come to appreciate the neighborhoods you have yet to see, cities in your state that you might not have considered visiting, or another state in your region where the climate is a bit different, and therefore gives you fall foliage, beaches, mountains etc… Plan these mini-trips out and you’ll feel that excitement again.
Try a cuisine you’ve never tried before
Part of traveling abroad is to get out of our comfort zone. If you’re not a risk taker normally, maybe traveling makes you one. Look up established restaurants in your city or town, or ask some friends or coworkers for suggestions. If going alone isn’t your cup of tea, invite a friend!
Watching movies/shows or read books set in foreign countries
Okay, so maybe Emily in Paris, isn’t quite like eating a croissant in Paris while you walk in Marais, or fall for an ever complimentary and intriguing French local. However, watching Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Before Sunrise, Y Tu Mamá También, or Crashing Landing on You will satiate that desire you have to go halfway around the world to see old friends, make new ones, and explore to your heart’s content. For those of you who feel that traveling is tied to your wellbeing, you can maintain this in these way and more. Find what it is about travel that you miss or that you get most excited about. Then, when the time comes for your first post-pandemic trip, you can really relish in it and appreciate all that it offers.