Overseas adventures face an uncertain future after the COVID-19 pandemic. ANDREW EARL-PEACOCK explores ways you can keep your inner wanderer satisfied while staying local.
“Travel is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with existence or the exotic. It is almost always an inner experience.” Paul Theroux’s words have never seemed so relevant.
Borders shut, planes grounded, and the entire planet on lockdown. For those of us with wanderlust and a passion for sharing our experiences through words, the current state of the world is daunting. The global impact of the coronavirus has left many of us confined to our homes, with itchy feet and no way to cure them.
As nomadic journalists, we constantly feel the urge to journey to far-flung corners of the earth to make meaningful observations. Now – while our ability to jump on a plane to another country is restricted – is a good time to apply the principles of travel writing to your daily life.
Discover your local neighbourhood
Every town, city, and region plays host to a wide variety of people. There’s never been a better time to get to know those within your community; everyone has a story and any human interaction can be significant, whether it’s on another continent or at the corner store down the road.
Being confined to your local area is a great opportunity to explore it intimately. Maybe there’s a rough track that leads to a hidden beach around the next headland, where there isn’t a single footprint in the sand. Or perhaps there’s a hole-in-the-wall restaurant tucked away down a forgotten alley that serves the most authentic Mexican tacos in the city. An open mind and observant eye are essential in finding travel inspiration at home.
Dive deep into your memory banks
The past never dies.
You have a wealth of knowledge and experience you can call upon for creative stimulus. All the previous travel you’ve done now holds more importance than it ever has before; those thoughts, feelings, and observations from years past will always live on in the depths of your mind.
Now is the time to sift through old travel logs and photo albums; that mountain you climbed in the Andes, the time you rode a camel in the Sahara, the wise old man you met in the Cambodian jungle. You may find yourself looking at your travel history through a different lens and rediscovering the meaning and value of those experiences. Confucius said, “Study the past if you would define the future.”
Appreciate the intricacies of everyday life
Imagine you’re in a backstreet market in India. People are pushing past each other to haggle with the dealers, the heat is oppressive, the sounds and smells are overwhelming. For an observer from a foreign culture, it’s an unforgettable experience. For the locals, it’s just another day.
Now think of a regular occurrence in your own life. It could be listening to old tales and recollections from a regular customer you serve each day, or packing up the car with surfboards and searching for waves every weekend. Look at it from an outsider’s perspective; you may find it’s more unique than you give it credit for.
A travel writer wants to learn from a variety of cultures, lifestyles, and people; however, in the process of doing so, it’s possible to take for granted what others can learn from your own life.
Yes, our international adventures are on hold for the moment. Yes, it will be difficult in years to come. Don’t allow the restrictions to stop you from maintaining your creative flow. Look out the window and study the corner of the world that’s sitting right in front of you.
Through sharing your experiences and insights during these testing times, you can inspire yourself and others: not only to look ahead to your future journeys but also to appreciate the present day.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Earl-Peacock is a Kiwi writer in constant pursuit of surf and new experiences in the great outdoors. His travels have taken him to many remote corners of the world, including Iceland and Southern Chile, as well as the furthest reaches of the New Zealand coastline. Andrew is currently based in Dunedin, in the South Island of New Zealand, and writes articles for his personal blog: https://aephandmadegoods.com/blog/.