I have decided to take a license to dream.
At this moment among bright spots (yay, vaccines) mixed with less optimistic news (boo, new virus strains), I am finding myself gravitating towards making plans; or at least beginning to dream and scheme.
As I think about getting out again, there is a hierarchy to my need for adventure that goes like this.
If you lived in an apartment like mine, you too would be eager to cover some ground. The joke in Manhattan is: “When did you last leave the island?” I am thirsting to watch the miles roll by. Maybe go out long enough to feel like part of the land, as the weather changes around me. After being cooped up inside, this is level one of reentering the world.
Possible outlets: This can be a day trip. A drive to the beach, yes even in winter. I’ve noticed it doesn’t take much. Even one day away turns my family into the joyful, goofy pack it is at its best.
#2. My Own Power
Once I am a little less caged in, I want to go again. But, this time under my own power. Meaning, I want to hike, bike, and/or carry something heavy over a long distance. You know...go back to my nomadic roots, traversing across the land.
Possible outlets: Something multi-day is best, like a backpacking trip. Maybe a bike tour across an area we never considered visiting. Or, float on a river. Everytime my focus is directed towards the tangible activities of finding my way, making camp, and preparing a meal, I reliably feel more alive.
#3. Solace and Wonder
Now we’re getting into the territory of culture, color, and spice that we adore in exotic travel that is foreign or unique. And, we know this is the toughest to reproduce right now.
So here’s my answer: I like to address it with a focus on the energy of a place. See a hometown as if it was a travel destination, by imagining it through someone else’s eyes. I know this is true, because I’ve lived in exotic places - like NYC and Hanoi, Vietnam - and while there, found myself getting caught up in the patterns of daily life such that I disconnected with the magic. But, when I reframed, the place reappeared, reminding me how much travel is a state of mind.
Possible outlets: Manufacture an adventure to go deep into whatever a particular place is known for. Exotic food can be take-out from exciting restaurants, culture can be a timed ticket museum entry; or a neighborhood you don’t often spend time in. If you look for them, you’ll find positives to the effect of Covid too. You might even enjoy what would be a typically crowded, but now (sadly) empty popular attraction. Gasp.
#4. Connecting with People
No doubt, this can be dicey as we combine risk with people we love. It has to be outside, which is harder in winter months. In response, I think the recipe for this is to make the time more structured. Present the gang a mission. Maybe take on something specific together, like an outdoor walking tour. Or, learn a whole new outdoor sport or activity.
Possible outlets: Cycling, kayaking, fishing, paintball, golf. The negative of Covid might drive you to something wonderful and totally new.
That’s my list. Most recently, the need for adrenaline led us to outdoor paintball in the Bronx, which led to tacos and a positively unreal hot sauce.
But, I also need to confess that an out-of-NYC kayaking adventure has nagged at me throughout the duration of this pandemic. I have a deep need to still make this happen.
If you do something great, or are generally scheming, I’d love to hear about it.