2020 was a missed year. Meaning we all missed out on so much. Hugs, parties, concerts, weddings, reunions, and as much as some might not like to admit it – a routine that involved seeing people in an office and grocery shopping without having to create an imaginary bubble around yourself. But for travelers, the global shutdown created a temporary void that is slowly but surely beginning to fill up with dreams, google searches, logistics, and plans. Beyond the actual adventure, here are 5 sure signs you have a severe case of wanderlust if you have missed these things.
The Little Ding!
Tech has brought so many virtual helping hands into travelers’ lives and in 2019 I decided to pay for the pro version of TripIt to help us navigate last-minute changes and the million booking notes, names, and numbers I kept making in fifty different locations on my phone. It was totally worth it! 2020? I missed the little ‘ding!’ that would alert me to an upcoming check-in or a gate change or a reminder about the information needed to check into our rental property. I am slightly embarrassed to admit that when my mum and stepdad took a short flight to spend time with his family (they all live in Australia, so it was a domestic flight), I added their details into the app just to get the notifications!
We’ve all been there. That moment when you head through security and look for your gate number . . . . only to realize it is miles away and you have to cart children/luggage/toys/your whole life in a manner akin to running the 50m Olympic sprint. You arrive out of breath, joining the last tiny stream of passengers boarding (oh, and forget your group number – we’re way past that now!), navigate the aisle, settling the littles in their correct seats, and finding space for everything you managed to not lose in your herculean effort to not miss the final call. Then, and only then, can you plop down in your seat and give yourself a virtual high five, hug, and cheer because you made it. And no one can take that away from you. Unless of course, you are at the wrong gate on the wrong flight (but let’s not go down that rabbit hole!). You are amazing and while celebrating even minor achievements during the pandemic is invaluable for our mental health, there is nothing like that feeling of accomplishment knowing you got everyone where they needed to be on time despite the fact that security and gate location said otherwise.
The Hole in The Wall
Pre-kids, with kids – no matter how we’re traveling we all can relate to that hole in the wall. That tiny cafe or restaurant that you just stumble upon at the perfect time (kids hangry meltdown, the toilet break you wanted thirty minutes ago) and discover a new drink, some different snacks that everyone loves, or receive the warm welcome that gives you a second to reset and get the team ready for another hour or two of exploring. The pandemic has given people a chance to perhaps find the hole in the walls in their own neighborhood and choose to support them when and where possible during the various degrees of lockdown throughout the world. These are the small local places that create their own menus, often sourcing local ingredients and bring their own unique personality to their hospitality. No matter where you are in the world they exist, but there’s something just a bit more special discovering them in a city or town (or even village!) that is new to you.
The Meet and Greet
I have an extremely soft spot for the arrivals lounge of any airport in the world. Even if no one is actually coming to meet us, there’s something very uplifting about seeing the sea of expectant faces, the whoops of joy when the long-awaited arrival appears, the flowers, balloons, and generally uplifting mood. Whenever I have to pick someone up from the airport (and it has felt like forever since I have had to do this!!) I intentionally arrive extra early under the pretense that I want to make sure I don’t get stuck in traffic and will be waiting when they walk out. That’s all (practical) nonsense to cover up the fact that I just love hanging out and seeing earlier flights arrive with many emotional reunions and happy, tear-stained faces. I know so many of us miss that feeling whether we are the waiting party or the traveler making their way home or to a new destination.
The Tiny Sparkle
This Christmas, some wonderful family friends gifted our daughter a year-long subscription to Little Passports. She was super excited when the first box arrived! One of the items inside was a chapter book introducing the two main characters on their first adventure to Brazil. One of them, Sophia, feels a ‘thrill of anticipation sparkle in her heart’ as she is speeding down a highway in Sao Paulo on a bright red scooter. I am sure we can all relate to that feeling. For me, it’s a mash-up of logistical anxiety, the buzz from seeing our daughter experience the same emotions, and the excitement of going off-script from our normal (though not dull!) routine and plunging into a new location with new people, food, and experiences. No matter if your feelings are just sold confidence or a mix of many like mine, travel anywhere provides that sparkle that is unlike any other. I know we will all be out there soon rediscovering that joy and handling all the challenges and adventures that come with it!
Do you have a severe case of wanderlust? Are you counting down the days until countries open their borders and you can jump on the next flight? Let us know what you have missed and where you plan to go when its safe to travel again!
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