The other day, as I took my daily, distanced walk, I saw a bird and found myself asking her, “Are you aware of what’s going on in the world right now? Have you heard about COVID-19?” The bird didn’t seem to understand my question and flew away, but it left me thinking: as crazy and unprecedented as our current situation is, the birds don’t seem to care. They come and go as they please, migrating north as the warm weather returns, oblivious to the travel restrictions and shelter-in-place orders keeping us humans home.

The emotional journey begins.

At first I was jealous. As much as I want to keep my community safe by staying home and limiting my exposure to the virus, I miss traveling! I miss seeing new places and meeting new people. I miss exploring the many parts of this beautiful planet that I haven’t seen before. “It’s not fair!” I thought as I watched the bird spread its wings and soar into the sky.

With the jealousy came sadness. I had planned a year of limitless adventure all around the globe, and I am now back in the town I grew up in for who knows how long. It’s sad and it’s disappointing. I allowed myself to feel those feelings, trusting that like all else, they would eventually pass. After some time, they finally did and my spirits lifted. Seemingly out of nowhere, I was flooded with hope.

This too shall pass.

Just like my feelings come and go, so will this state of emergency and the confusion and fear that surrounds it. Everything is temporary. Once I remembered that, the weight on my shoulders seemed to lift slightly. I may not know when, but I know that I will travel again. 

An adventure mindset.

Adventure travel teaches you to roll with the punches. When things don’t go right, instead of shutting down or complaining, we can simply go left. We find a way to accept the situation, and work with it. And though travel in today’s world is limited, the adventure mindset is not. COVID-19 is not playing by our rules, so we must adapt. Allowing ourselves to feel sad and disappointed and maybe jealous of the animals with wings, and then reintroducing our brains and our bodies to hope and excitement. Adventure means stepping outside our comfort zones, and we must do that now.

I set out for a year of travel to learn to be alone and to plan less. This isn’t how I intended for it to go, but those lessons seem even more important now than before. Each day I am reminding myself that this situation is impermanent, and though I miss meeting new people and seeing new places, I can still strike up new conversations with the birds overhead.