Now on our third lockdown since our return to the UK in March 2020, things are beginning to feel a little weird. Last summer wasn’t too bad. In fact, the first lockdown was a breeze. The weather was glorious and we spent time working on the blog, taking long walks, hanging out in the garden and enjoying countless barbeques. When lockdown was eventually lifted for a couple of months last year, we managed to venture a little further afield. This included:
A pub lunch with friends
Travelling up to Norfolk to visit T’s parents and hike some of the Norfolk Coastal Path
Going out for dinner whilst in Norfolk
Squeezing in five housesits
That was pretty much it, but all of those things were big deal under the circumstances and we were grateful to do them while we had the opportunity. Also, we were lucky in that we managed to do at least some travelling at the beginning of 2020. However, now in the midst of the third national lockdown, we are having to be a little creative when it comes to keeping ourselves inspired.
The new strain of COVID-19 is raging through the UK at a time that we hoped things may have improved. Additionally, the weather has been wet or overcast for much of the time. Consequently, we have spent many hours indoors writing, reading and watching movies, venturing out when there’s been a break in the rain. We are both trying to stay positive by reading books that we find motivational and watching travel documentaries. We continue to use our time to do things that we wouldn’t usually have time for – indeed, we may be poor in monetary terms, but we are time-rich!
Our Wall of Inspiration
One of the ways in which we have motivated ourselves to stay inspired is to create a wall with photographs and postcards of previous trips on it. We have plastered the wall with images of Ganesh, road trips, landscapes, temples, hiking trips and other travel memories. Not only does it inspire for future travels, but it reminds of all the great trips we have taken and how lucky we are.
Creating a Tranquil Vibe
While we’ve been in lockdown we have made an effort to surround ourselves with objects that create an atmosphere of tranquillity and wellbeing. For Christmas we received a beautiful colour-changing aromatic Buddha lamp AND a Himalayan salt lamp. Additionally, we have a string of multi-coloured fairy lights festooned around the room which we decided NOT to take down after the Christmas festivities. The room looks like a fairy grotto and we are loving it!
Motivational Movies and Books
Lockdown has, of course, been the ideal time to catch up on some reading. In addition to some absorbing novels, we have read some excellent travel and motivational books. In My Midsummer Morning, Alastair Humphreys attempts to make enough money to survive from busking while taking a month’s walk through the countryside of Spain. What’s more, he had only been learning to play violin for a few months before hitting the road. We also loved Kate Humble’s book, Thinking on my Feet, which exalts the joys of walking.
In addition to reading, we have also watched some outstanding documentaries and films. The Meaning of Vanlife is about the freedom of the open road while Six Million Steps focuses on those who hike the 2,366-mile Pacific Crest Trail. Both films were hugely inspiring. We also enjoyed Epic Trails of the World, which features great hikes around the planet and New Lives in the Wild about people who escape the rat-race and start new lives in remote places.
We listen to music everyday and it never fails to lift our spirits. Bruce Springsteen’s sumptuously-produced Western Stars has been a favourite album during lockdown. Its beautiful melodies and references to the American South West, road trips, drifters and motels strikes a chord. Likewise, Warren Ellis’ soundtrack to the documentary ‘This Train I Ride’ is incredibly evocative. The film is about female hobos, women who live on the fringe of society and hop freight trains around America.
Additionally, we also love listening to BBC Radio Six on a Sunday morning. From 10.00 am Cerys Matthews plays a diverse range of music from all over the world (although her passion for yodelling tunes may be pushing it, even for our eclectic tastes!) Indeed, music is an integral and important part of our lives and lockdown would be a lot more challenging without it.
Being in the Moment
Being under lockdown has forced us to slow down and appreciate the small things in life. Whether it’s a favourite song which is played on the radio or a good book, lockdown is a lesson in being in the moment. It also reminds us of what is important. Many of us are separated from family, friends or both. This has made us realise how much those close to us are missed when they are no longer regularly in our lives. Zooming and Skyping certainly help, but it’s not the same as getting together in person. Additionally, not having been able to do many housesits, we have missed our pet pals!
Travel Plans – Adapting to a Change
We know that things are going to change as far as travel is concerned and we will consequently have to adapt. Our usual multi-country trips will potentially be too complex to organise post-COVID and we will likely focus on heading to one country at a time. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing as slow travel is how we prefer to roll. We also think that, initially, we will probably be venturing closer to home, perhaps exploring parts of Europe. We have already considered Turkey, Greece, Egypt and Georgia. Further afield (when the present situation and finances allow), we would love to do a US road trip, take a meander through South America and of course, return to both India and Mexico. Times are tough, but we are keeping the dream alive.