It’s such a great feeling knowing that the next vacation has been booked! You mark it on your calendar, or add a reminder in your phone counting down the days like a little kid on Christmas. We all love the excitement and exhilaration of leaving the worries and stresses of everyday life behind, but for many of us, 2020 threw a wrench in those plans.
Personally, 2020 left me feeling empty, confused and frustrated. I know Covid impacted everyone in some way shape or form. Some had extreme loss in their lives, from careers to loved ones. Others felt trapped, lonely, and stripped of every day joy. Regardless of how it affected each of us, we have to try to find a silver lining and get back to our “normal” selves. For me, my normal self was a dreamer, an adventure seeker and avid traveler, but I feel like Covid stole my whimsical spirit and travel mojo.
I used to say that I worked so I could travel, but my last international trip was almost four years ago. Since then, I have not left the country and it's really weighing on me. I used to see travel deals and book them on a whim. I even booked trips to places I’d never heard of just because it was an adventure. I always believed traveling abroad was an opportunity to unwind, re-connect and submerge myself into another culture. When that was not possible, it changed how I felt about travel. I could no longer seem to day dream about my next vacation and it felt like I was experiencing “travel depression”.
Is that a thing and does anyone else feel the same?
I recently talked with a friend, a fellow lover of travel, who motivated me to kick this negativity. She helped me realize that I was not alone in feeling travel depressed. She reminded me that since most of the world is open again, I should find a way to re-ignite my fire and find my passion for travel. But how? How do you find what motivates and drives you to finally book that trip overseas?
Do you really have to put in the work? Can’t we just snap our fingers? That would be so easy, right? Sadly, that’s not how it works, at least not for me. I’m not a mental health expert but I thought if I shared my journey, maybe it could resonate with someone else. Also, since I had not openly discussed my travel depression, I felt that the process of sharing through a blog would be cathartic.
My personal journey in overcoming this travel depression involves journaling. Journaling is a common practice for me, something I do on a daily basis because it allows me to get my thoughts out of my head and down on paper. I start by writing down my travel bucket list. Then I ask myself some questions, like what sort of vacation would excite me? What would light me up inside? Is it food, culture, fashion, art, architecture or just drinking a cold beer on the beach staring at the waves and doing absolutely nothing? After I have answered those questions and more, I choose a country or two and start doing a lot of research. I love this process! Google and Pinterest are my best friends! I also submerge myself into magazine articles, blogs, and travel reviews.
In research mode I look at everything from boutique hotels, to mouthwatering restaurants, to breathtaking beaches and cultural cities. I don’t look at the price of anything in this stage mostly because that isn’t enjoyable. It’s way more fun to dream big and unrealistically in research mode. I’m not made of millions, so reality will be a little different when I realize there is a budget to adhere to, but the point is, this exercise excites me again! It allows me to visualize myself in these places and it gets me back in the mood to explore the world!
So where will 2023 take me? Possibly, Morocco. I’ve never been to Africa. Plus, I’ve heard wonderful things from friends who are from there and those that have traveled there in the past. Morocco is rich in culture, history, architecture, has excellent cuisine, vibrant marketplaces and even boasts beautiful beaches along the coast. I’d also be able to visit the manufacturers and artisans that create our Sand and Straw bags. I am proud of our bags, and thrilled to partner with these talented artisans, so being able to meet these creators in real life would be so meaningful to me! I feel like overall the trip would be a source of great inspiration and motivation, things that I need in my life right now!
Regardless of where I go this year, I will go somewhere. I promised myself that this would be the year that I get back to traveling abroad again. After all, I can’t forget that “vacation is calling”. Now, where is vacation calling you this year?