What do you write about when the whole world feels like it’s holding its breath?
Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) an official pandemic. Unlike us, the virus did not need a visa to cross borders and it has succeeded at bringing a large part of the travel industry to its knees. I’ve spent each morning this past week checking my email, expecting to read that my two biggest clients (affiliated with the aviation and cruising) no longer need my travel writing services. All around the world, many are in a similar state of unease. Is the virus as bad as the media makes it seem? When will it end? And most importantly, will my life be seriously impacted next? Clinging to some semblance of control, we stick to our routine and consume articles that announce the next quarantine. And for some same reason, some of us even hoard toilet paper.
There are tens of articles that will tell you where to travel, when to travel, and why you shouldn’t travel. I don’t know whether now is the right time to travel, but I do know that it is the perfect time to dream.
If every country closed its border, which destination would you visit as soon as it was safe to enter? What country calls to your heart to experience it and your feet to stroll through its streets? The rest of the world will be waiting with open hotel rooms and empty restaurant tables once this situation has passed. In the interim, local escapes to natural areas will help satiate the craving for a far-flung adventure.
When was the last time you got lost in a book that had no motive but to take you on a journey somewhere — in a fantasy realm or in real life? If you’re one of the thousands of people who has been ordered to work from home in lieu of the office, what can you do with the extra moments that no longer need to be spent on a commute? Now might be the time to finally learn a new language, hand write letters to old friends, pick up a dusty instrument, or try a recipe from a foreign cookbook. At the beginning of the year, we posted ideas for New Year’s resolutions that you could actually keep. These resolutions included embracing microadventures, disconnecting from devices, and moving slower. Each of these can be done whether or not you’ve stepped into new territory.
This situation has given me step back and reassess how I’ve been spending my time over the past few years. Oftentimes, I’ve been a slave to my assignments, chasing after the stories that publications want–rather than the ones I’m itching to write about. When this is over, I want to return to the days where I pursued the topics I cared about rather than the ones that pay the bills.
I feel fortunate to write from an immense place of privilege. Even if both my partner and I lost our jobs, we would not starve or become homeless. We have no dependents. At the moment, no friend or family member of mine has gotten sick from the COVID-19 virus. Should this situation change, my mind will undoubtedly fall from the clouds. If you have already been severely impacted by the virus, I’m sorry. I hope that things get better and that you can have the trip you dream of waiting for you on the other side of this time of uncertainty.