We Can Still Journey
Are you craving a change of scenery? Has boredom set in? Loneliness? I’m here for you. This isn’t a true Journeys newsletter. It’s more of a touching base, to share a little reading material (in case you’re running out of ways to entertain yourself) and let you know I will soon be publishing stories of far-off lands to help you contend with this grim, totally surreal moment of social distancing and sheltering-in-place. Now more than ever I feel like maybe it’s my job to transport, help draw you out of isolation and introduce you to places I explored in what almost feels like another lifetime. I’d like to distract you with something fun, adventurous and lighthearted. So let me know where I should take you—virtually! Do you have any questions re future trips? Pick my decently traveled brain, please!
There’s no question that most of us have been cut off from our worlds—and cut off from the world at large, too. Los Angeles currently feels galaxies away to me. On Tuesday I made it to Nairobi, Kenya, just before their travel ban began, to be with my sister as she gives birth to her first child. Travel is what I do. It’s my livelihood, so you bet I’m feeling these new limitations and closures in a very big way. I keep reminding myself, however, that just because we can’t physically travel doesn’t mean we can’t escape through words and pictures, all the while making mental notes (or even actual mood boards) about where we’ll venture when it’s once again allowed.
Still, let’s not live in anticipation of the future, or pine for the past. We must exist firmly in the moment, in this uncertain now, and take the opportunities afforded by extra time at home (time, after all, is a gift we overwhelmingly take for granted) to perhaps do some reading. Learning. Listening. Noticing. Being grateful. Truly, it’s the perfect time to practice empathy.
As segregated as the planet seems right now, broken down into country-sized puzzle pieces with impenetrable borders, I’ve realized that in a way, this is the most connected we’ve ever been. The concept of community has changed. This is the first time I’ve seen all of humanity in the same boat, walking in the same shoes. We are all affected by this. (Of course, many humans are preoccupied with far worse.) No matter who you are or where you’re from we are all suffering sadness and fear, confusion and frustration.
It’s like when hurricanes decimate Caribbean islands, or an earthquake shakes Indonesia to pieces, when tsunamis hit Thailand or bushfires devastate Australia and its wildlife. Except this time it’s everyone. I know tourism will play a critical role in getting Earth back on its feet. We will have to lean on each other, be kind, and be patient.
It may seem far off, but have hope. Our futures are no doubt filled with plans, travel and bucket-list ticks. In the meantime, let’s allow ourselves to feel inspired, and connected. In my coming newsletters I want to help you feel you’ve gone somewhere, by simulating experiences from my travels that might make you smile. I’d like this to be a conversation, so please say hi, and send me a note with your questions, thoughts and interests—I can’t wait to hear them.
For now, here are three mini escapes that take you on a journey from your bed, sofa or newly minted home office. Bon voyage and stay well!
(Drone photographer: Marie Tysiak, in Raja Ampat, Indonesia)