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Top 10 things for someone with itchy feet to do during self-isolation

Coronavirus has affected all our lives in one way or another – and the world is a markedly different place from where it was when we saw in the new year. It is a hard time for many and the level at which humankind has unified is a heartening thing. We are in it together… but I say that knowing full well that this togetherness is going to follow a period of staying at home. That in itself is a challenging thing and so we are looking to fill our days with meaning. Let me start by saying this is a necessary thing – we don’t travel today so we can travel tomorrow and you are doing a service to your community, friends, and the vulnerable among us by staying at home as much as possible. Normal is a state of mind – and this is our state of normalcy for the time being. While isolation and lockdown has perhaps given us a heightened sense of empathy, it is worth remembering that this is hardly our natural state. Faced with fear and uncertainty, being holed up at home is, naturally, quite challenging for many among us. Where we may normally find an essential escape in the form of a weekend in the country or the thought of that next big trip, this safety net has been somewhat removed while we wait to find out what happens next in what may be the most significant global social and economic event of our lifetimes. Photo of the Week: Matera, Italy That said, for those who consider themselves of the ‘itchy feet’ persuasion, being homebound is quite difficult at times. For most of us, being homebound for long periods of time is an alien and unusual set of circumstances. This situation is heightened by the grappling to understand why this is so. Why is it so hard to be at home? All I can say is that these are early days. While many work from home and we all spend more time than we are accustomed in the confines of our homes, it is worth getting into a healthy routine to get through the next period. This is a matter of body and, very importantly, a question of mindset. I recommend thinking back to your treasure of memories, but also looking forward. There are dreams to be had even during these dark times – and your next trip and adventure await on the other end of this – whenever that is. There are a few things you can do now to satisfy the urge to be elsewhere and that is what this blog is about. It is also worth trying a few things to try and alleviate the stuck-in-the-mud feeling that can very easily come from isolation. It is a feeling akin to limbo for anyone with grand and distant dreams of tomorrow. These are my suggestions for anyone suffering with itchy feet while we wait out the lockdown. These are things you can do from your home while you wait for that next big trip. Plan your next trip My one great appeal to you is to never stop thinking of the world with a traveller’s curiosity. In fact, isolation gives us all one more reason to hold that grand travel plan even closer in our minds. I am sure that this time in isolation is going to inspire many with a distant dream in their minds to finally take the plunge and go on that dream trip. You may not be able to leave tomorrow – but you can start planning. It might feel like a long way away, but planes will start flying again and the places you have yearned to see will be accessible to you once again. The only thing missing is you. This is one of those moments to be truly appreciative for the power of the internet. All the information you need is right at your fingertips – and I am sure there are many, many travel professionals out there who would love to assist you if the online world feels intimidating. There are many resources to choose from – but make A Luxury Travel Blog one of them. There are over 10 000 posts on our site alone. Among these, you will find reams of information on different travel destinations. And, if you don’t have a destination in mind, there is comprehensive information to get you started on many a travel dream. All you have to do is search the site using the search bar on the top right-hand side of every page. Comment and get involved Travel is a wonderful thing for the people you share it with. This goes beyond travel with family and friends. I’m talking about the people you meet along the way. This is another way in which the internet is a powerful tool in connecting us. There are no borders to our interactions with one another online – and that is an especially poignant idea at times like these. If you are a true travel-lover, you have probably been looking at travel sites and social media with a renewed intensity. If you haven’t, you should. The lockdown has not stopped incredible content being put out on the web and social media for you to enjoy and to remind you of the magic of the world. And, historically, this presents a unique opportunity to start a conversation with likeminded people around the world. Read articles, find out what there is to know about the places that interest you, and take this time to talk to people. While you are reading on A Luxury Travel Blog, start a conversation in the comments section (I would love to hear from you!). When you are done, head over to our social media platforms, check out our photos and posts. It is my hope that, during this time when we are forced to stay at home, we can create a meaningful online discussion with people who share our love of travel, our desire to see the world. All of you, I know, have amazing stories and inspiration to bring to the table – and this is the perfect way to share it. Read some travel books For those a little more solitary in their dreaming, you can’t go wrong by finding some inspiration in a book. So many people I know say they wish they had the time to read more – and now they have it. For book-lovers, this presents an excuse to be at home and cut into that to-be-read pile like never before. It is what you choose to read that will make the difference. The perfect isolation book merges escapism and inspiration. It will take you to a foreign land and make you forget the rest of the world for an afternoon, a day, a week. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you can’t use great literature to take you to other places. These could take any form: autobiographies that feel fantastic, adventure stories that inspire disbelief, a peephole into an exotic land. I recently published a post on the top ten travel books to read during isolation. These are a perfect starting point for travel-lovers looking to read their way through isolation. They also provide a healthy dose of inspiration and insight into some of the different destinations you can visit around the world. These are some of my favourites – classics that have inspired travel for decades, fed the adventurous spirit, and forged the travel genre into something so abidingly entertaining. These are just a starting point. I am looking forward to hearing about your favourite titles – and I would love to hear if you take anything away from mine. Watch travel movies and documentaries In a similar vein, film has the ability to inspire travellers unlike any other medium. The visual appeal of great camera work is undeniable and, thankfully, incredible films and documentaries are readily available online for you to watch and while away the time during isolation. From gripping true stories to comedies and fiction set in different locations around the world, there is something for anyone looking to zone out in front of the screen for a few hours. Films for the whole family. Films about your favourite cities. Films that take you, with fresh eyes, into the towns and cultures of small – perhaps well-known – towns, cities, and villages. Films that take you into wildernesses that hardly feel real. They can move you to tears, they can start contagious laughter. Whoever you are, if you feel the burn of itchy feet during isolation, this is a good tactic to soothing the travel beast. I have written about my top ten travel movies to watch during isolation and my top ten travel documentaries to watch during isolation. Give these posts a read if you are at a loss at where to start on your cinematic adventures. As with my top books, get in touch to let me know your thoughts. Would you go to Antarctica? Did you feel the urge to climb a mountain, cross a desert, give up your job and travel? If these movies have inspired you in any way, I want to know. Share your own travel experiences Travel makes us all storytellers. Some will share their tales freely. Others will need a little prompting. There are few things more uplifting, more unifying, than recounting a memory of a shared place. The reason for this? No two people will experience one place in the same way – and it is in the sharing that we are enriched. You could have ridden a motorcycle across a continent or have some grand tale of adventure. You could also be an average person leading an extraordinary life through travel. Whoever you are, your story is worth telling. If you believe you can give life to your adventures in words, this is the time to write them down. Write them for yourself. Write them for others in a blog. Take the time to go through those thousands of pictures, catalogue them, find your best. Post them on social media – you never know the good they may do to brighten someone’s day. This is the time to pay tribute to the beauty of the world and its potential to change lives. Great travel resources rely on a collection of voices to tell the world’s stories. We are always looking for budding travel writers on A Luxury Travel Blog. If you would like to add your voice ot the many others here (we have had more than 700 different contributors to the site to date), get in touch via our contact form and let’s talk about the different options for getting you published on the site. Work from home Some of you may not have a choice, but isolation is the perfect time to do that little bit extra by working from home. You may find it is a comforting shred of normalcy in these somewhat alien feeling times. If you work in travel, I join you in the quiet sense of togetherness we are going through within the industry right now. Planes being grounded, borders being closed, and people cancelling and facing uncertainty around their future travels is not encouraging for anyone running a business in tourism at the moment. These are hard times for travel and related enterprises – and we should all endeavour to help each other where we can. At A Luxury Travel Blog, we are always looking for help in the day-to-day running of our site. This includes a variety of tasks – everything from travel marketing to assistance with video editing. If you are skilled in areas which you think may help us and if you are affordable (these are tough times for all of us in the travel industry), get in touch with me through our contact form and let’s talk. This could be a chance to collaborate and grow in the industry we love so much and it is through great work created during this down time that we can keep the embers glowing. Everyone will look back and remember what happened during this pandemic. Let’s give them memories imbued with the hopes of amazing future travels. Exercise In the United Kingdom, we are allowed up to an hour of exercise beyond our doors every day. For some, that is a very limited amount of outdoor time but, whoever you are, I encourage you to take the time to exercise. Not only will it keep a steady flow of endorphins pumping during these mentally testing times; it will also give you an invaluable contact with the outside world. A regular exercise regime will also keep you healthy – and that’s what lockdown is all about, right? If you are looking to run across Morocco, go on a walking safari, or go on a tour of Barcelona when this is all done, it pays to be fit. Travel can be that little bit more rewarding when you have the physical ability to do more and see more in every destination. You don’t even have to breach the safety of your front door if you don’t want to. The internet is full of different exercises you can do without equipment and from home. If you are a beginner, YouTube is there to help you. If you are a very frustrated gym regular, YouTube is there to help you. This could be the time to supplement your fitness schedule with some new skills too. Whether you are keen on yoga or break-dancing, there are instructional videos on the internet – and these are potentially embarrassing undertakings that you can practise from the safety of your own home during isolation. Test your geography Could you point out Vietnam on a map? How about Iraq? Most people are notoriously bad at geography. If you are looking for something to take away from isolation, the internet (again) has a lot of online games and challenges to test your skills and increase your knowledge. These include map-based quizzes and trivia which could be great fun for the whole family. If you are interested in pure ‘where is this on a map?’ type of questions, a host of different online games await. If you want more than that, have a poke around on Google. You are sure to find myriad sites with trivia on flags, capitals, and natural features around the world to astound, flummox, and entertain you. If you love travel, this is a great way to whittle away some free time during isolation. If you are entertaining children, these also present some wonderful educational opportunities to keep them occupied and entertained while they are indoors. For a comprehensive page or world and specific-region quizzes, visit world-geography-games.com. Using Street View, you can have a lot of fun guessing the location of different streets and monuments on the world map with Geoguessr. Learn a language For all its negatives, isolation is a perfect time to stay at home and learn a language. Many people I know have the same approach to language when they travel: book the tickets and then wait until the week before to learn the basics. As experienced travellers know, it adds a different layer of mystique to your travels to travel in another language. This is the time to learn. While I encourage you to plan your travels while you are at home, I equally suggest learning the language at the same time. Brush up on your high school French for that trip to Paris. Immerse yourself in Italian culture by speaking the language to the colourful characters you meet along the way. Shock the shuka off the Maasai you meet on your next Kenyan safari when you talk to him in Swahili. There are abundant opportunities to learn while you are at home. Search for online courses and find out about remote language labs. There are a range of apps for popular languages on Android and Apple. You can also get e-books or order hard copy books for delivery online. There are a thousand ways to skin a cat when it comes to learning a language – but the main ingredient is time. Many of the more popular apps and online channels offer exercises in growing vocabulary and unpicking sometimes tricky grammar, giving you the foundation of fantastic conversational skills for your next trip. Do an online photography course If you are at a loss over what to do, try to keep the bigger picture in mind. I mean travel, but I also mean the things that add a new dynamic to travel too. The first thing that comes to mind is photography. In the world of aperture and exposure, photography can be as technical as you like, but one thing is for certain – your mobile phone doesn’t always do the trick when it comes to capturing memories. Everyone has suffered the limitations of zoom and focus with their mobile at some point in their travel histories. This is the best way to beat that – and boredom during lockdown. The world of photography can be quite overwhelming to a beginner, but online courses these days tend to simplify and encourage, with interactive tutorials and videos to help along the way. Photography Concentrate, for instance, can assist with everything from camera set-up to videography and photo editing and is a fantastic resource for those new to photography and those with intermediate skills. Keep picture perfect memories of every destination you see after lockdown by honing your photography skills. Photography drives some of the world’s most exciting travels. Whether you find your way into magazines or no further than your scrapbook and Instagram page, an interest in photography could see you going to some unforgettable places with your camera right at hand to capture the perfect image. One thing is for sure, whether you are doing award-winning photography or compiling a personal album, your travel photography will add a new dimension to your memories. This is something you will be able to draw from whenever you find yourself at home – a chronicle of your adventures and the beauty of the world to remind you of the far-reaching meaning of travel.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. I got a lot out of reading this post, as I’ve certainly been struggling a bit with being inside all the time. I know my dad has that same problem except for it’s a whole lot worse than how I feel about it! He’s been sending me a lot of pictures of him riding a stationary bike that’s also some kind of computer/video game where he connects with other bikers online. Pretty cool. I think learning a language is a great idea, plenty of apps you could use for that. And reading helps too, anything to keep your mind occupied and find the positive throughout all of this trouble.

  2. I have found that exercising every morning really helps me throughout the rest of the day. It’s not easy to adjust but I feel like once I’ve gotten into a new routine and stick to that, it’s a little bit easier on my mental and emotional state with this indefinite quarantine. A good book on an e-reader helps also.

    1. I’m fortunate where I live that there’s plenty of open space accessible from our doorstep. I have noticed it’s been much busier than normal as people take advantage of getting some fresh air and time out of the house. I’m running around 5K each day which is plenty for me at my current level of fitness, but will look to step it up soon. Our dog is certainly enjoying all the extra attention and walks that he’s getting from the family!

  3. Is working from home the new going to work? Two out of my three children are big fans. Those two say that many of the people they work with are for more efficient than they would have been in the office, partly because they weren’t in the office. They were often out of the office on long lunches with clients.

    1. Although no one really openly admits it I get the impression that people are working sensible hours whilst WFH. There’s no need to work silly hours to impress the boss anymore. Bizarre that it takes a virus to help us get our work – life balance right.

      Without all the commuting, from what I can tell from online meetings, a lot of people are looking a lot healthier. I think many of us are getting more sleep.

    2. I’m certainly getting more sleep! To be honest, other than not travelling, my routine hasn’t massively changed as I work from home anyway. It’s just a little different because everyone else is around also, but now it would be the school holidays anyway, so that’s also no real change. I definitely think it’s making people evaluate their lifestyles more – work out what is really important in life, how necessary it is for us to make journeys to meet up, how little we actually need to use the car, etc.

  4. Slowing down and having to stay at home means that I’ve been able to exercise regularly.

    About five years ago, my physio gave me an exercise regime for my bad back. Until now I’ve never had time for it. Now that I’m doing the exercises regularly I’m a new man.

    Once I’m back at work I’m going to have be disciplined and keep them in my routine.

  5. ‘Normal is a state of mind’, I like that. I think you’re spot on. We need to adjust our view of the situation if we’re going to get along with it rather than resist and get frustrated by it. I think a lot of the things you’re suggesting, like watching travel docs and films or planning your next trip, are part of cultivating hope and keeping a vision alive for the future, which is really important because we all need things to aim for and to keep us going.

  6. Good read! Finally something that could get me out of this boredom. I’ve been watching films and sitcoms endlessly these past few days and I’ve been thinking about other things to do besides laying on my bed or the sofa. I’ve tried exercising too, been watching workouts and dance lessons online which I find fun. My stationary bike is very helpful too since it sits inside the house. Although, after exercising, my body gets me back to square one, lying on my bed again and too tired to get up. Learning a new language is a great idea though! I’ve been wanting to know how to speak Asian languages such as Nihongo and maybe Spanish. After watching Sherlock Holmes, I’ve also wanted to have a journal of my travels and adventures like Dr. Watson. Time to look for online courses and apps for my new hobbies.

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