Well, COVID sucks. I know many of us are eager to start traveling again. I’ve booked flights, then canceled them. I’ve talked about booking things, I’ve thought about booking flights for next year… it all just feels too soon.
One thing that this break from traveling has made me grateful for? The fact that I did so much traveling in the past. I’m glad I made the effort to make as many trips as I could, when I could. So many people talk about going away ‘one day’… when they have more time or money, or even when they retire!
There are so many places I want to see, and it takes so much time, I don’t think I could even fit it all in after retirement! The other realisations are that a) you never know how long you will actually live (I could get hit by a bus tomorrow) and b) many people don’t have the physical capacity to travel when they make it to retirement.
I think finally, a lot of the people who intended to travel ‘one day’ are now actually ready to do it. You just want it more when you can’t have it! I think being stuck indoors away from loved ones (and vacations) makes you realize that you just need to enjoy everything when you can, before the opportunity is unexpectedly taken away from you.
I’m grateful for all of the trips I have taken in the past. There has never been a time when I stretched my budget or travel ability and regretted it afterwards. It has been worth taking the time off from work, stretching my money as far as I could when I had less money (cheap bus rides, hostels, and instant noodles), and splashing out on amazing experiences like safari in Namibia and Botswana, when I had more money. I’m glad I decided to go on those solo trips, despite my reluctance to travel alone! Living abroad in NY, Morocco, and Costa Rica are experiences that have shaped the person I am today. It has helped me to keep an open mind to other people in the world, various cultures, and all the different ways of living life. I love the friends I have traveled with, the people I have met, and the new friends I have made on those journeys. Sharing a travel experience with friends or family is a wonderful memory.
Some of my favourite experiences include kayaking in Tortuguero Costa Rica with a random dog that kept following me, working on a wildlife sanctuary with cheetahs and baboons in Namibia, seeing wild lions and leopards on safari, staying on a sailing house boat and watching a ladyboy show in Thailand, seeing wild scarlet macaws in Quepos Costa Rica (that literally brought a tear to my eye), eating the spiciest and tastiest chorizo on a wine tour in Spain, staying on an Airbnb boat in Amsterdam, going to the wedding of one of my best friends in Hong Kong, standing in the middle of a herd of wild elephants in Zimbabwe, and making an awesome travel buddy for life while teaching English in Spain.
Even the ‘bad’ experiences are great tales now, like staying at a hotel in Paris where the people in the next room could walk straight into our room! Even funnier was that the receptionist had to ask if we really wanted to move to a different room (yes!!!). Luckily we got a refund afterwards!
Not only has this break from travel made me feel grateful for my past travels, it has also consolidated my wish to continue traveling as much as I can in the future. I wholeheartedly encourage anyone who has been thinking about traveling to just take the leap… when it’s safe to travel again, of course.
On a final note, here are some of my favourite images that I’ve taken while traveling. Here’s to more travels in the future!