Updated: Nov 1, 2020
My greatest struggle at the moment is feeling this overwhelming need to simply disappear and hit the road. And it really has become overwhelming over the last few weeks. This intuitive feeling that this is what is meant for me right now is just building in momentum until I crash & fall apart, feeling so lost from what I know my soul needs. I can't seem to fight it and recently it's kind of been my prime source of unhappiness. I'm feeling frustrated that everything seems to be out of my hands, and the ability to have autonomy over my life feels further away than ever.
Sam & I have gone round & round about the reality of this situation, and I guess in quite a selfish way, I forget that so many people the world over are actually sharing this feeling that's causing me so much unrest. This desperate desire to go somewhere new being blocked by almost every country in the world closing their borders is quite a lot to take, particularly if you had big plans to go and see it all.
We know that this pandemic is unprecedented in our times, and probably the only one many of us will live through in our lifetimes, but what we've not been told or prepared for is the emotional and mental impact it can have on us. Whilst many of us have moved out of lockdown now, the realities of a different world are becoming more apparent with everyday.
And for those of us living abroad in other countries, we find ourselves in precarious positions. For us, New Zealand is home, it's where we want to & are in the process of building our life together. But being expats, both Sam & I know there is no option for us to leave because as soon as we do so we are forfeiting our ability to return - at least in the short-term - to the one country we consider to be home.
Even if we could leave, half the world has closed its borders, taking with it any opportunity we had to explore the Earth and all its magic, and that's a really difficult truth to be faced with. Even if we had the money right now, and our visa situation had aligned to a point where we could both return with ease, the fact that going abroad literally cannot manifest into a reality because we wouldn't be allowed into any other country is really difficult.
I've had many-a-meltdown about how frustrated I am that I can't go and travel the world nomadically as my soul so desires right now. I feel the pain of having trips cancelled and plans left up in the air. The struggles of this global pandemic are real, especially for those of us who are travelers at heart. I hope that by reading this post you'll find some solace and some peace in our collective current situation, and reconnect with the strength inside of you to hang on a little longer knowing that there are better days ahead.
1. Stop romanticising everywhere but where you are.
It is the easiest thing in the world to do - romanticising. We all do it. And you probably know that more often than not the things we allow ourselves to romanticise are never as wonderful or magical as we tell ourselves they are. But when we don't know something it's easy to fall into the trap of 'the grass is greener.' The reason being that our same old mindless patterns of thinking and being don't allow us to appreciate the magnitude of what we have right in front of us.
Mount Vic Trails, Wellington
This is a really important part of navigating our way through these deep desires to travel or go off-the-grid in these times because instead of continuously romanticising far-off places that feel even further out of reach than normal, we need to start romanticising where we are. This is such a powerful mindset practice because we're shifting our focus away from those things we can't have & bringing them back to what we do have.
When we romanticise an experience or a place we're creating this illusion in our mind of how we believe it would be. Normally there's no real truth behind those thoughts, they're just dreams, really. And it's a beautiful thing to get lost in your daydreams, it keeps the fire alive in your soul. But it's important to ask yourself how many times in your life have you anticipated an experience to be incredible and then when it came to actually living it, you realised it wasn't even half of what you were expecting it to be? Bringing yourself back to those experiences will help you to stay connected to the balance we need to ensure there's a limit to how low we feel with the lack of international travel.
It's vital that we don't lose sight of how incredible where we are right now is. Start romanticising where you are. Whether you live in New Zealand, the States, India, France, wherever - every country and place in this world is desired; wished-upon. Somebody somewhere would do anything to be able to be where you are right now.
So let yourself ruminate on that for a while, and if you need to, go broader than just your city or town. Think about the country you're in. Why would someone want to travel there? Maybe it even applies to ask yourself why you wanted to travel there? What's desirable about it?
I'll walk you through my train of thought when it comes to this question.
New Zealand - one of the most sought after, saved-for, bucketlist destinations in the world. And yet, recently I have lost sight of the truth that we are so blessed to live in this magnificent country. Whilst I think we do make the most of it, that also hasn't stopped me from complaining about 'being stuck here,' when in reality, i'm not stuck at all. I chose to come to this country and I choose to stay. This is where my life is. I found my soulmate here, the physical land resonates with me, and the way of life calls me home. This is where I want to raise my family and stay for the rest of my life. The nomadic, off-the-grid, barefoot, van-life that the depths of my soul are yearning for right now, are actually all available on this very piece of land. I don't need to fly 14 hours to reach somewhere that will facilitate that for me. It is possible right here. And i've had my taste of it.
So what is it that I initially romanticised (and honestly, still do) about NZ? As someone who seeks out natural wonders and places that make me pull over the car to get out and stop to take it in, New Zealand has everything I've ever wanted for my life (from a traveling perspective). It has untouched land, stunning coastlines, incredible greenery and unexplainable mountain ranges. It has the heat, it has the cold, it has the wind - don't we know about the wind.d But it's a travelers dream. For me, the main reason for that is that it is untouched - completely. It's how I imagine a pre-historic Earth to look, and that grounds me, it makes me feel alive in ways few other things can.
Just reminding ourselves about the magic of where we are is a really calming way of dealing with the travel blues. If traveling is a priority for you, no matter where you are in the world, you have the ability to go out and explore your own backyard. Make it a priority, and get away for the weekend if you're stuck in a 9-5 like me. Which leads me onto my next point quite nicely..
2. Stop blaming Covid.
Take the power away from it.
If you want to travel, go travel. And if you're not, you need to get honest with yourself about why that is. yes, there are international travel restrictions. Yes, we're all depressed as fuck about it. BUT, traveling isn't defined by being in one certain location. It's a lifestyle, it's a desire, it's a perspective of embracing and wandering no mater where you are. You can still do that, despite coronavirus. It just might not be in the exact country you want it to be, or looking at the very specific waterfall or glacier or mountain range you had hoped. And it's okay to be disappointed and sad about that, but don't confuse traveling from what it is at its essence.If the world was functioning as normal, would you be living this dream life you have in your head?
Would you actually be doing it? Perhaps you're one of the few that would, but what I can say from personal experience is that a lot of us have been able to use coronavirus as a place to
View from Sealy Tarns, Mount Cook
And the reason neither Sam or I have quit our jobs, bought a van and disappeared, is simply for the reason that we are saving for a house. It's not being stuck here that's stopping us from living that life, it's us. We are stopping ourselves. We have made the conscious decision that for a short period of time we will prioritise earning money and saving hard so that we can buy a home together. We're not not-traveling because of Covid, or because we're stuck here. We've made a commitment to pursue another dream for now, and even if the world was functioning as normal, we would still be here doing the same thing. The fact we aren't able just to leave is more of a mind-game crisis than a reality one.
3. Make Travel Plans!
This is literally my saving grace at the moment. Sam & I decided (pre-Covid/during lockdown) on some pretty big travel plans, and I have been spending so much of my spare time researching where we want to go, familiarising myself with particular spots or locations I don't want to miss when we finally are able to go.
Castle Point, 1 January 2020
It's so important to keep your spirit levels high. Keep positive. Surround yourself with things to help you feel excited for the future - and hold onto that feeling.
The world will return to normal at some point, you've just got to be strong for now.
Keeping your sights set on all the wonderful things you have to look forward to & plan for is a real mood-booster.
Get saving! Now is an amazing time to save because you're not going anywhere. Make traveling a priority even when you can't actually go abroad.
One of my favourite things to do is to put cash in envelopes for different things - e.g. flights to X, treat hotel night $100, rental car $X, backup expenses funds $x.
Get planning & preparing now so as that as soon as you are able to hit the road or get on a plane again, you're ready. There won't be any excuses or time wasted, you'll just be good to go. And it'll be the most empowering & freeing moment yet.
So there you go. My three top tips for managing those travel cravings in a covid-world.
I think the majority of us out there are using all our powers of manifestation to hope & pray that soon enough this lockdown & madness will all be something of the past. We can do this, friends. Keep going!
And hopefully i'll see you somewhere around the world soon!