As a travel writer, my job is to be inquisitive. To be curious. To look for the story hidden within the minutiae. This year, when the world all but stopped and our lives’ regularly scheduled programs were put on hold, all our norms were questioned.
How close is too close? Are we sanitizing properly? Are facemasks the new accessory?
With the borders closed, planes grounded and suitcases unpacked, life in a world without travel was obscure to me. Only, our world wasn’t necessarily without travel.
As a travel writer—a relatively inquisitive, curious person—it should have been obvious. Travel isn’t just about venturing to places across the globe, but rather finding the adventures in a given moment, wherever we are.
It took the world shutting down for me to see the beauty that hides in the shadows of what we take for granted—our home countries.
If you ask any avid traveller, many of them will have a hard time telling you where their favourite place is. This is because we recognize that there is beauty within every destination.
Travel in 2020 and leading into 2021 is about learning to embrace adventure near and far, supporting our local communities, and finding ways to be curious in the age of COVID. It is about re-envisioning our definition of travel.
In the upcoming year, let’s rediscover adventure. Read on for tips on how to do just that.
Explore Local: A Change of Mentality
Globally, the tourism industry is suffering. The best way to help this is to start locally, as our small communities are in need of our support now more than ever.
For me, I had to change my mentality about being home. Home always felt comfortable. It was the same. I felt like I knew everything I could because I’ve lived here my whole life.
When I venture to a new country, I immediately feel the urge to explore every nook and cranny—to push the boundaries of my comfort zone. As opposed to when I’m home and my curious nature seems to take a backseat.
This year, I shifted my mentality. I strived to find local gems. I explored more of Canada in 8 months than I have in my entire life. I found new favourite coffee shops, swim holes, waterfalls, bridges, hiking trails, and hole-in-the-wall diners that I never knew existed.
Soon enough, that exploring local mentality seeped into other aspects of my life—shopping and eating. Rather than consuming products and food from big box stores and chains, when possible, I supported the little guys.
In 2021, challenge yourself to take time to map out 3+ new spots close to home that you’ve never explored. Do your research and go on an adventure, just as you would when you’re on trip.
Be Curious: A Taste of Travel
Half of travelling is about being curious. It’s about asking questions and finding stories.
2020 was a year of turmoil. From the pandemic to the Black Lives Matter movement, we saw uproar, but we also saw uplifting passion, demand for change, and movements that sought to change not only the minds but hearts of individuals across the globe.
The Black Lives Matter movement took over many of our streets and feeds, challenging our thoughts, laws, and societal norms.
The phrase, “I don’t see colour” was challenged with the reply of, “see me and my culture.”
As humans, we will never know everything about anything. This coming year, be curious and strive to learn. Listen, watch, and read stories about people, places and their history.
Whether it’s weekly, monthly or even just once, try inviting a new culture into your kitchen by playing with recipes from around the world.
Transport yourself to a different country by exploring new spices, vegetables and dishes. If you’re not much of a chef, order in! Simply because we’re in our own spaces, doesn’t mean we can’t get a taste of travel.
Keep Hopeful, Keep Planning
One day, the world will reopen. As much as I urge you to embrace the now, I also encourage you to keep hopeful for the future. A time when we are able to support other communities, as well as our own.
In my case, planning trips and researching destinations is therapeutic. I love the process. I love getting excited. Though this is a lesson in patience, one day, our research and planning will pay off. When that day comes, be ready.
Life is a careful balance of planning for the future, learning from the past, and being in the now.
Take this time to figure out new things you like to do—and then incorporate these things into your future travel.
Do you like to dance? Virtually learn to waltz and when you go to Vienna, waltz the night away.
Do you enjoy reading Shakespeare? Get lost in some of his works and map out the locations from his plays to make the ultimate Shakespearean getaway.