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You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone – A positive travel narrative

Where there’s a will, there’s a way, but we won’t be going anywhere for the indefinite future. At least not overseas and I’m not sure how long domestic travel will stay open for. With the tightening of these travel bans getting more strict by the day, one of the first things that popped into my head was not that the coronavirus has limited travel to a level that Stalin could have only dreamed of (dark humour, sorry), but the idea of having something you treasure dearly taken from you – You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.

The ability to travel for us human beings has been quintessential for our survival and certainly in more recent times, a profound source of enjoyment and life-fulfilling experiences. Whether it is the places we go, the cultures we immerse ourselves in or the friendships that we strike up that last a lifetime, travelling improves the mind, body and soul of a person. Through broadening our horizons we develop a better understanding of the world and the people in it, we cultivate an empathy for other cultures and a deeper gratitude for our own. The desire for exploration, novelty and conquering the unknown is deeply rooted within us and travel is one of the best ways of getting out of your comfort zone.

So, what do we do to get our travel fix whilst videos emerge of places like Venice parodying scenes from the “Omega Man” (or “I am Legend” for a younger audience)?

When the reality of something is no longer there, the fantasy becomes the substitute. Regularly, the fantasy surpasses the reality, but what it actually should do is compliment it, thus creating a more intense desire and heightening the pleasure of the outcome (wait, I’m still talking about travel, aren’t I?). Our worlds we create in our minds really know no bounds and can require little to no effort to generate images of real (or fantastical) places. All you have to do is close your eyes and you’re instantly transported…*closes eyes* look, I’m in Iceland now! We really can be in a world of “pure imagination”.

Speaking of Iceland, I have found myself recently watching YouTube videos of high quality drone footage/videography of places and beautiful landscapes. Well, if I can’t physically go to these places I may as well enjoy what they look like via other means, yes? I’ll share a few that have really wowed me:

Elements of Iceland – 4K

Iceland in 4K Ultra HD

Switzerland in 4K

Also, thanks to the rise in technology, virtual tours have not only improved in quality, but have seen an increase in usage and a number of popular tourist destinations (e.g. museums, galleries, nature and theme parks, zoos and aquariums) now run an online equivalent. Furthermore, whilst reading I’ve found myself sometimes having a train journey through Europe going on in the background to be a really nice experience, although it’s probably a tad too eccentric for most. It helps with travel ideas.

Now is a good a time as any to start planning your next travel itinerary. There’s loads of time to think of places you’d like to go, research them, and begin preparing a detailed journey schedule for future trips. Plan some drive holidays and local trips, and don’t forget to support your local businesses during this difficult and uncertain time.

So, in testing times, I call on the wisdom of stoic Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, “People try to get away from it all — to the country, to the beach, to the mountains. You always wish that you could too. Which is idiotic: you can get away from it anytime you like. By going within.”

And in the meantime, that is probably our best bet. It may end up doing us some good in the long term, learning to be with ourselves and looking inward, being ok with being alone and not having to rely on external stimuli to fill our lives, but I’ll save that for another post.

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