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What to do when you live to travel, but can't

Like most travel advisers, I love traveling so much that I made it my career. There are certainly more financially rewarding options, and I personally had a near miss with law school in my late 20s, but followed my heart to a life spent learning about our beautiful world, my work days filled with maps, itinerary designs, hotel and tour options and restaurant reviews. For me, this saying is true: let the beauty we love, be what we do.

The downside of making a hobby a vocation, is that when you can't do one, you're doubly marooned. Neither can fill the void the other left behind. Which is where those of us in the travel industry find ourselves during the Covid-19 apocalypse. We can't plan trips for anyone, including ourselves.

Whether or not you are a member of the industry, travel might also be a vitally important part of your life; the way you reward yourself, the past-time that inspires you the most, the activity that gives you a sense of freedom. You might also be wondering how to stay connected to such an important part of life despite having clipped wings.

Here are some suggestions that are working for me:

1/ Organize your travel photos. Finally, yes, there is time to cull, edit and file photos into digital albums, and order prints of favorites using an online service. Even picture frames and photo tiles can be ordered online. Make an album for a friend of a trip you took together and surprise them with it.

2/ Try those complex recipes for foreign dishes that you love and can't get at the moment. It might take a couple of hours, but time is a plentiful ingredient right now. Several years ago, I took a private cooking lesson in Kerala specifically to learn how to make stuffed paratha, the delicious flatbread I eat for breakfast every day when I am in India. I even recorded the lesson on my phone. Last weekend, I finally made them, and they were pretty good. The smells of the spices took me back to a country I can't wait to return to.

3/ Do a craft project inspired by one of your trips. If you're like me, you have photos of cute ideas, and possibly even a drawer full of fabric, beads or other interesting notions purchased with a project in mind. On a trip to Peru, I fell in love with a gorgeous pom-pom room divider, but couldn't find the right color combination, so bought skeins of wool and downloaded instructions on how to make pom-poms. A shopping foray in a vintage kimono store in Tokyo yielded beautiful silk fabric which can easily be taken apart and re-purposed into cushion covers.

4/ Reach out to someone you met on a trip, but haven't followed up with. Remind them of a fun or crazy time you shared, and brighten their day as well as your own. Ask them where they are planning to travel to next; maybe you can meet again. Now, more than ever before, we are all in this together.

5/ Small Moments journal. Much as I wish I had kept a detailed journal of all of my early trips, I didn't. What I did start doing along the way, is jotting down Small Moments as I traveled. It takes so little time and can be done on a phone. One of mine is watching a herd of about 500 cape buffalo walk through our safari camp on their way to the river in Botswana at sunrise. Another is swimming in the ocean in Australia with my 84 year old mother. Small Moments make me smile.


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