Having spent the best part of 20 years traveling for my work, mostly on my own, the lockdown at my home has given me the time to reflect on a few simple things.
1. To Not Travel Every Time, I Get A Few Days Off
With our hectic work schedules, we barely get time to spend some time with friends or step out during the week. So, we step out during the weekend and then end up having Monday blues. It becomes a vicious cycle of tiredness. How about staying at home for the weekend? Take baby steps. Read a book, take a long shower or just lie on the bed and stare at the ceiling. Yes, your room may not overlook a beach, or have a view of the valley, but you would feel just as relaxed.
2. Better Bonds with Friends
It’s always an easy option to go on a trip with friends. Everyone is excited, you are discovering a new place, and then there is a thrill! Now negate all these factors and see, if you can still have conversations? I have realised that during this lockdown. Video chat and FaceTime sessions are far more personal and less distracting. Yes, after five drinks, while you are sitting at the best bar in town, overlooking the skyline of a beautiful city, and you tell your friend that you will be there for them; would you have the same feeling with cold coffee, while you are at home? Think about it.
3. Fine Dine with Family
I am a solo traveller. I have enjoyed the idea of being all by myself and having some ‘me’ time. But I would not be honest if I say that I haven’t enjoyed this lockdown period of spending time with my family. It’s fun, listening to their experiences, their life stories which we never really got around to because whenever they would get a chance, they would head off, or I would. That morning coffee, or evening cup of tea, maybe even those weekend meals where I cook for my daughters their favourite meal, is far better than sitting and having a meal all by yourself.
4. Declutter and Unpack
One of the reasons we often end up travelling, which on certain occasions turns out to be a means of ‘escaping reality’ is because of the ‘mess’ we are in. Call it, physical, mental or emotional. But there had to come a time when you can’t distract yourself but get the courage to deal with it. And once you do, the energy and the confidence that brews in you is undoubtedly more than any vacation can ever add on to your personality. If you are losing focus, understand and eradicate the clutter, dust those bookshelves, empty those drawers and unpack that pandora’s box and experience the magical feeling that is in store for you.
5. We don’t need all this Stuff
I know we have heard and read it a thousand times, but yes, for my family and me, we tell ourselves we need all the stuff we have. Without it, we cannot live or thrive in the modern world. Live a productive life, replace “things” when things break or simply do not serve the function to which they have been created. STOP being programmed by exacerbated consumerism.
All this doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t stop travelling. It doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t go for my business trips or vacations. I earn and yearn to travel more. But, if there is one thing that this lockdown has taught me, is to stop and stare. My self-motivation, respect for those around me or appreciating my privilege – the COVID-19 lockdown has taught me so much and continues to teach me new things every day. For now, I urge everyone to use this time as an opportunity for self-reflection, so that when we return to our normal lives, we will be more grateful, concerned and compassionate.