A wanderlust is someone who travels All. Of. The. Time. For those most afflicted, planning the next adventure begins immediately after returning from the last one. And, while the outdoorsy and brave wanderlust will have no fear toward foreign fare or critters (the former often includes the latter), a well-off wanderlust might prefer the comforts of a 4- or 5-star hotel. Even though closed borders and travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic have put a serious damper on many a wanderlust, we’ve got some ideas.
Business trips have yet to resume. So what about leisure travel? Glenn D. Fogel is CEO of one of the biggest travel search engines, Bookings.com. Travel companies have has already seen steep declines and Fogel thinks recovery in travel and travel-related services is going to take years not quarters. Wait, really? But for so many of us, the grocery store has been the main destination.
So whether you’ve been entertaining yourself by pretending to be the next America’s Top Chef or struggling to balance working from home while homeschooling children, remember you’re not alone.
Let’s Wanderlust Together (Either Alone or in Our Quar Pod)
Spring is in the air, and let’s face it, we’re all a little stir crazy at this point. If you’re dreaming of escape, leave the dishes in the sink, the laundry in the hamper and go. Here are a few ways you can live like a wanderlust this weekend.
The most invigorating part of travel is the constant novelty, the ever-continuing discovery of new things. When we travel, we automatically switch into adventure mode and become more alert and in awe of our surroundings. But you can train your mind to think like a traveler. Be grateful and impressed by every sunset, even when you’re seeing it from the same standpoint. To stay refreshed, curious, and adventurous, find a different vantage point to watch the sunrise or set. If you can get to a body of water, go there super early in the morning and watch the world awake.
Taking photos is another activity that occupies the intrepid traveler. Grab your old camera, smartphone, or both, and pretend you work for National Geographic. You’ll see the world from a different vantage point and boost your Instagram account. Perhaps it’s less about how far you go and more about how you think about where you are …
Take a Trip Outside
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
Grab your backpack and fill it with sunscreen, a hat, water, snacks, and other supplies you’d think to bring if you were traveling outside the country—hint: camera. Go to your furthest outdoor state park or off-the-beaten-path destination (be sure it’s open before you go) and spend the day in nature, And please, go ahead and take off your shoes. Wanderlust Tip: The experienced wanderlust always carries a bee sting kit and knows to arrive early to beat the crowds.
No Passport Required
“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” – Danny Kaye
As cities and towns across America are opening up during the coronavirus pandemic, the beaches, state parks, and popular tourist towns and cities will most likely attract crowds this weekend and several weekends ahead. If you’d rather avoid them don’t despair. You can still take a trip. Simply, grab a folding camping chair, hat, and find a piece of deserted nature to read a book. Disqualifiers are your couch or backyard.
You’ll be surprised how quickly reading a book will transport you to that place your reading about. While it won’t make your wanderlust worse, it’s not guaranteed to cure it. Wanderlust Tip: Bring a picnic lunch filled with the types of food your protagonist might eat. See suggestions below:
On the Road, by Jack Kerouac
Written in 1957, Jack Kerouac’s Beat Generation classic is a timeless travel novel. The story follows his character, Sal, as he leaves New York City and heads west, riding the rails, making friends, and partying the night away. The main character’s frustration and desire to see the world are themes that can resonate with many of us. “An authentic work of art . . . the most beautifully executed, the clearest and the most important utterance yet made by the generation Kerouac himself named years ago as ‘beat,’ and whose principal avatar he is.” –Gilbert Millstein, The New York Times
Picnic Pairing: Mid-century Americana cuisine is dominated by Jello and Spam, which might just be your excuse to eat unhealthy for a minute. Although Sal and Dean did eat a lot of Mexican and Chinese food on their road trip.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, by Katherine Boo
National Book Award for Nonfiction
Behind the Beautiful Forevers, written by Katherine Boo, is a powerful book about what it is like to live in poverty in a slum in Mumbai. Warning, it is not a pretty story. It will shock you and most likely have you feeling frustrated. So why read it? Katherine Boo holds nothing back, informing us what it is really like to live in extreme poverty. It is informative and eye-opening, a look into real life in this world. “Reported like Watergate, written like Great Expectations, and handily the best international nonfiction in years.”—New York Times Book Review
Picnic Pairing: Simmer onions, carrots, and potatoes in store-bought curry sauce and pour over steamed rice. Accompany with garlic naan and lemonade or iced chai tea.
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel
National Book Award Finalist
PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist
Station Eleven is a beautifully written novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse (yes, after a flu pandemic), that tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Buzzfeed, and Entertainment Weekly, Time, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Minnesota Public Radio, The Huffington Post, BookPage, Time Out, BookRiot. “A superb novel . . . [that] leaves us not fearful for the end of the word but appreciative of the grace of everyday existence.” —San Francisco Chronicle
Picnic Pairing: Tuna or grilled cheese sandwiches, jerky, oranges, or a ground-beef burrito with chips and salsa.
Most of us just simply aren’t hardwired to sell the house and a lifetime of worldly possessions to live life with complete abandon. But if you really want to try out the wanderlust life, then start by storing your belongings in a secure, climate-controlled storage unit. You can lease for as much or as little time as you need while you lease out your home. Moreover, according to articles like the one featured in Politico, we can expect mass migrations out of big cities into more rural areas post-coronavirus. If you’re going to be regularly quarantined, it might as well be someplace where you can enjoy the perks of being a wanderlust even it if just a nice walk in nature until the travel bans lift.