A Year Without International Travel

Okay, I know the title of this post screams privilege, and is a major first world problem. I recognize there are much bigger worries, and problems in our world today than poor little ol’ me not being able to travel abroad. However, I also know that a lot of people can relate to the giant hole in their life that they’ve had in 2020 from the absence of travel (among everything else).

This time last year I was wrapping up a trip through East Africa. It was a bucket list trip for me that I saved up for and did with one of my best friends. Little did I know this would be the last time I got on a plane, got lost in a new place, felt the adrenaline you feel when trying something new for the first time.

As someone who frequently travels throughout the year, and always has my next trip on the calendar to look forward to, the past year has definitely been weird.

One of the things that had made it easier than I ever expected was that most of the world has been on pause when it comes to non-essential travel. I’m not sitting at home watching my friends galivant the globe, while scrolling through Instagram feeds that make me envious. We have collectively all been in this pandemic together, and that has included (for those following the rules) a pause on travel.

But on the topic of social media, you can’t entirely escape FOMO (fear of missing out). Even though most of my immediate friends and family are being responsible, I know there are still a lot of people still traveling. Prior to our whole province being back in lockdown on December 26, most of Ontario were also living pretty freely with the exception of hot spots like Toronto. My friends and family outside of the hot spots could still eat at restaurants, shop at local businesses, and see people (indoors and outdoors). Making me envious and jealous that I was stuck in lockdown while they could live their lives a little bit more normal.

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It can be hard feeling very trapped in the place you call home. Toronto hasn’t felt like the city I fell in love with, and enjoyed living in since March. Restaurants and businesses that made this city what is is, are closing left, right, and centre, and it feels so beyond my control. That’s the thing about this past year, it is so out of our control, and as someone who has always felt in control of my future and happiness, this can be a tough one to swallow.

I’m not sure if it’s just that we’ve become immune to the terrible news we see everyday on TV and social media, but the case numbers continuing to rise each day, doesn’t feel as scary and shocking as when this all begun. Maybe it’s because I’ve become numb to it all after a year of just one bad thing after another. I don’t know. But the one thing I’ve sort of “accepted” even though I hate to, is that I have no idea when international travel will be within reach again.

In the meantime, as much as that makes me so incredibly sad, I’m trying to stay optimistic, and set “travel” goals for 2021 that are a bit more attainable, This year is going to be all about traveling in my own backyard, even more than 2020 since I didn’t really have time to set these sorts of goals with the pandemic hitting so unxpectedly.

To inspire you, and because I believe that when you write something down for the world to read, it makes it more real, and holds you more accountable, here is what I’m hoping to get up to this year:

  • Go camping
    I seriously don’t think I’ve gone camping since I was in high school
  • Hike more
    I started more of this in the fall of 2020, but I want it to continue into 2021
  • Travel to Western Canada
    Once this becomes safe again, I want to take this opportunity to see a part of my country I’ve never seen before (Alberta & British Columbia)
  • Visit the Spa Nordik in Quebec or Whitby
    This was on my goals last year, but unfortunately when I made it to Quebec, they were in lockdown and we could only get massages and not experience the full cold/hot water pool experience
  • Stay in a cute cabin or treehouse
    There are so many in Ontario and Quebec!!
  • Visit Quebec City
    So I can pretend I’m in Europe. I love this city, it’s so European and beautiful
  • Visit Tobermory
    A part of Ontario I’ve never been and looks absolutely stunning to visit in the summer
  • A wine tour in Prince Edward County or Niagara On The Lake
    Always love a good wine tour, and these regions are great to taste local wines and have a quick little weekend getaway from Toronto

What are your goals for 2021, recognizing this year may (once again) look a little different? Would love more inspiration of things to do in my own backyard and see how you’re enjoying your home countries/provinces! Comment below.

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