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How to bring the spirit of travel into your life during Covid-19

For over 20 years, I have spent my professional life traveling. Planning it, doing it, filming it, talking about it, writing about it. That’s one of the biggest reasons 2020 has been so hard for me– how do you discuss travel when just about everyone, including yourself, isn’t traveling? I decided to reach out to other professional and avid travelers to see what travel during Covid-19 looks like for them. I love how inventive travelers are—so many great and inspiring ideas for infusing the spirit of travel into our lives during this complicated time!

Oneika Raymond

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Oneika Raymond is an award-winning travel and lifestyle expert, journalist, and television host whose adventures have taken her to over 115 countries on 6 continents.

How to bring the spirit of travel into your life during Covid-19

How have you been able to recreate the excitement of travel while staying close to home?
One of the things I love to do when I travel is sample the local cuisine. Luckily, with New York City being as multicultural and cosmopolitan as it is, there’s no shortage of restaurants serving up food from around the world. [As a New Yorker] I’m thus still able to keep the spirit of travel alive– though instead of using my passport, I use my MetroCard to get to different neighborhoods so I can try new restaurants serving international fare.

My explorations took me to Harlem a few weeks ago where I had Somali food for the first time at a restaurant called Safari. It feels good to travel the world in this way– there’s no need to pack a suitcase and I can support local businesses!

Are you planning a winter/fall vacation? How are you taking safety precautions?
Given the current situation, my travel dance card is thinner than it’s ever been! I do, however, have tickets to travel to Germany this fall with my husband and my daughter. My husband is from Berlin, so we’ll be visiting family as well as tying up some administrative loose ends over there. Whether or not we’ll actually go on the trip remains to be seen, however– so many of our plans have been cancelled due to Covid.

Should we go, we’ll get a Covid test done upon arrival in Berlin’s airport. Prior to and during the trip we’ll be taking all of the obvious safety precautions such as mask-wearing, washing hands, social distancing, etc. It’s become second nature at this point!

What’s the trip you find yourself dreaming of taking after Covid?
I would love to tick some African destinations off my bucket list: Nigeria, Namibia, the Seychelles, and Madagascar are countries I long to visit!

Cory Lee

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Cory Lee has traveled in all 7 continents in his wheelchair, while managing to run his travel blog CurbFreeWithCoryLee.com, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not so accessible, travel adventures with others.

How to bring the spirit of travel into your life during Covid-19

Did you take a summer vacation? Where? What did you love about it?
I have traveled to two national parks this summer so far, Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah, and an alpaca farm in North Carolina. These three trips were weekend getaways and not too far from where I live in northwest Georgia, but they allowed me the chance to get outdoors and see something new. After months of staring at the same walls every day, I was desperate to travel, even if it wasn’t very far away.

How have you been able to recreate the excitement of travel while staying close to home?
When I’m traveling, I love trying new activities and experiences. Even though I can’t go too far away from home during this time, there are still plenty of new experiences to discover. Just a few weeks ago, I stayed at an alpaca farm for a weekend and it was incredible. It was also something I probably never would have done pre-pandemic, so I’m grateful for the opportunity now to discover unique things in my own “backyard”.

Are you planning a winter/fall vacation? How are you taking safety precautions?
I am hoping to visit some more national parks in the southeastern U.S. over the next few months, but I’m being cautious with how I travel. I’m opting for full cabins instead of hotel rooms so that I can avoid the lobby and elevators, taking my own pillow and bed sheets, and cooking in the cabin instead of going out to eat.

What’s the trip you find yourself dreaming of taking after Covid?
I’ve been to New York City numerous times, but I desperately want to visit again in a post-Covid world. I want to see as many Broadway shows as possible, eat my weight in delicious food from great restaurants, and roll in Times Square surrounded by thousands of people… all things that I haven’t been able to do during these past five months. It’s going to be incredible.

 

Johnny Jet

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Johnny Jet has traveled over 100,000 miles a year since starting his newsletter in 1995 and has visited close to 80 countries. On his website, he writes about how to maximize your credit card points, how to find travel deals, cheap flights, and how to benefit from insightful travel tips. He travels the world with his wife Natalie DiScala, who writes the travel + style blog Oh! Travelissima and their two children.

How to bring the spirit of travel into your life during Covid-19

Did you take a summer vacation? Where? What did you love about it?
I had a dozen summer trips planned but sadly canceled them all. Just trying to be a team player and keep everyone healthy.

How have you been able to recreate the excitement of travel while staying close to home?
We go to the beach during the weekday when there’s not many people and it’s a great escape. Feels like we’re virus-free for the few minutes that we’re playing in the ocean. The other way I recreate travel is by watching this YouTube channel with live webcams from around the world.

Are you planning a winter/fall vacation? How are you taking safety precautions?
We hope to do a road trip but it all depends if COVID-19 cases go down. We’re in Southern California so it’s been a hotspot. If we do go we will make a lot of safety precautions like wearing masks, keeping our distance, washing our hands often, keeping them away from our faces….

What’s the trip you find yourself dreaming of taking after Covid?
I dream of giving my dad a hug in Florida, my mother-in-law a hug in Toronto, taking my kids to Europe and then Hawaii to relax.

 

Sarah Von Bargen

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Sarah Von Bargen is a teacher, speaker and coach who teaches people how to spend their time, money, and energy on purpose. When she’s not doing that, she’s probably planning her next roadtrip.

How to bring the spirit of travel into your life during Covid-19

Did you take a summer vacation? Where? What did you love about it?
Following the CDC guidelines, we took our four-person quarantined family from one house … to another house – a great Airbnb in Ironton, Minnesota. It’s near mountain biking and disc golf (for my husband and stepsons) and near mine pit lake swimming for me. And these lakes are off the beaten path and almost beach-less so you don’t have to contend with crowds!

How have you been able to recreate the excitement of travel while staying close to home?
We’ve been doing EVERY OUTDOOR THING EVER. Berry picking! Sculpture gardens! Botanical gardens! Just walking around pretty historical neighborhoods!

Are you planning a winter/fall vacation? How are you taking safety precautions?
It’ll obviously depend on state mandates, but if we DON’T get another shelter-in-place mandate, we’ll take a few in-state, not-interacting-with-anyone Airbnb vacations. When we do these, we drive straight there, bring our own groceries, and only get take-out when we’re in our travel destination. We plan to book places with hot tubs, saunas, or fireplaces and hopefully near cross country ski or snow shoeing trails

What’s the trip you find yourself dreaming of taking after Covid?
A big road trip in the direction of warmth during the winter!

 

Mike and Anne Howard

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Mike and Anne Howard left on their honeymoon in January 2012 and never came home. They created HoneyTrek.com to chronicle their journey across all seven continents and help people mobilize their travel dreams. They are the authors of National Geographic’s bestselling book on couples adventure travelUltimate Journeys for Two, and North America’s first glamping bookComfortably Wild.

How to bring the spirit of travel into your life during Covid-19

Did you take a summer vacation? Where? What did you love about it?
Our home is a camper so we’re always on the move, exploring the country’s wilderness areas and backroads. Since coming back from Europe in June (the pandemic “stranded” us there for three months), we’ve road tripped from Texas, across the south, up to New York State and are presently on our way to the Great Lakes. Spending time in nature has been the secret to having fun this summer.

How have you been able to recreate the excitement of travel while staying close to home?
That’s what’s so great about an RV is that you can bring your home on your adventures! We’ve been self-quarantining like everyone else, but the change of scenery keeps life interesting.

Are you planning a winter/fall trip? How are you taking safety precautions? 
We’ve been to 47 states and this fall we hope to explore our final three (Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota). Before we cross a state line, we always look up their COVID-19 regulations, pay close attention to signage, and wear a mask (no matter what the locals are doing).

What’s the trip you find yourself dreaming of taking after Covid?
This was our summer to road trip the east coast of Canada, to kayak the bay of Fundy, to learn a Newfie accent, and glamp our way through Quebec. With the border being closed, these plans were tabled, but not forgotten. See you next summer, Eastern CA!

 

Caz and Craig Makepeace

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Caroline and Craig Makepeace, global travelers for 22 years and founders of ytravelblog.com one of the world’s largest family travel blogs. They’ve been traveling full time with their two daughters for seven years. Follow their adventures on Instagram and YouTube.

How to bring the spirit of travel into your life during Covid-19

Did you take a summer vacation? Where? What did you love about it?
We spent a week road tripping through Natural North Florida, which is an off the beaten path area between Tallahassee and Jacksonville down to the Gulf Coast at Cedar Keys. The beauty of this region was surreal, and we experienced incredible family adventures like free diving for sea scallops, kayaking to offshore islands, and exploring the Wicassa River and its tributaries – one of the most beautiful rivers I’ve ever seen.

We also visited the charming, historic Southern town of Beaufort in South Carolina and enjoyed its fascinating Civil War history, delicious local seafood, and stunning protected beaches. Next week will be heading to the Outer Banks for more remote travel and family adventures.

How have you been able to recreate the excitement of travel while staying close to home?
Thankfully, we have recently launched our new site, ThisisRaleigh.com, which has motivated us to put on the travel glasses and explore more of our home region so we can share the magic of it.

We’ve been paddle boarding on lakes, eating delicious food al fresco dining style, and discovering new hotels hidden on secret lakes for a staycation experience. And heading to nearby Wrightsville Beach a lot for much needed body boarding time!

Are you planning a winter/fall vacation?
We’re considering exploring the North Carolina mountains and taking a road trip through the Blue Ridge Parkway for the Fall colors. As we had 18 months of winter before this summer, I will be doing everything in my power to make a warm winter vacation happen!


Rudy Maxa

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Rudy Maxa, one of America’s premier consumer travel experts, is the host and executive producer of “Rudy Maxa’s World,” the Emmy Award-winning, public television travel series featuring destinations as diverse as Korea, Argentina, South Africa, Tuscany, and Thailand.

How to bring the spirit of travel into your life during Covid-19

Did you take a summer vacation? Where? What did you love about it?
I did not take a summer vacation unless you count a couple of days with friends once on a lake in rural Michigan, another on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota.  However, I do intend to go visit my two granddaughters in London in early September.  I have not seen them since early January.  That would count as my summer vacation.

How have you been able to recreate the excitement of travel while staying close to home?
Um, not exactly.  But I have been working from home for decades now, so it’s not a new feeling to me, and I don’t find it confining. I live along the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN, and I have hundreds of miles of bike trails outside my door—that’s helped keep me balanced.  But I must need more, because I just started doing yoga.

What’s the trip you find yourself dreaming of taking after Covid?
There are some people I need to see in London and Bangkok who are very, very important to me.  Then, because I started a small, luxury tour company in 2019 with a partner, I want to get back on the road in Europe with my guests as much as I can.

Andrew Zimmern

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Andrew Zimmern is a four-time James Beard award-winning TV personality, chef, writer, teacher and social justice advocate. In 2020, Andrew returns to television with two new programs. What’s Eating America premiered on MSNBC in February and Family Dinner, currently in production, will air on the forthcoming Magnolia Network.

How to bring the spirit of travel into your life during Covid-19

Did you take a summer vacation? Where did you go?
7 days at Lake Mille Lacs in northern Minnesota was all I could muster, but I am so glad I took a break, I needed it. Lots of water activities, sun and of course cooking.

How have you been able to recreate the excitement of travel while staying close to home?
Zoom dinners with my friends. Travel has been painful to stay away from.

Are you planning a winter/fall vacation? How are you taking safety precautions?
No, it’s too soon and I believe people should not be traveling unless they absolutely have to. The safety precaution is to STAY HOME until we have a handle on Covid-19, which we don’t.

What’s the trip you find yourself dreaming of taking after Covid?
I am heading to the sea somewhere. Probably Asia, sailing the south china sea.

Heather Greenwood Davis

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Heather Greenwood Davis is a Contributing Editor and on-air storyteller for National Geographic Travel and a freelance Feature Writer with The Globe and Mail. She has been reporting and writing stories professionally for more than 20 years. She is also the voice behind GlobetrottingMama.com – an international, family travel blog that features the adventures she takes with (and without) her husband Ish and their two sons, Ethan and Cameron.

How to bring the spirit of travel into your life during Covid-19

Did you take a summer vacation? Where? What did you love about it? 
I did! When this whole thing started I didn’t think vacations would be possible, but we’ve taken two trips and are planning a third. All three are within our home province of Ontario.

First and foremost, that it happened! But also that in the midst of a time when the whole world is in turmoil, we were able to carve out a tiny space to feel some peace and gratitude. We’re learning new things about places close to home and that in itself is a silver lining.

How have you been able to recreate the excitement of travel while staying close to home? 
Everything feels exciting when you haven’t been anywhere since March! 😉  I’m a list maker at the best of time, so just the feeling of making a packing list, pulling out a travel bag and planning our road trip snacks and playlist was a reminder of “the good old days.”  And with every trip we take, we gain a little more confidence that we can take another.

Are you planning a winter/fall vacation? How are you taking safety precautions? 
Absolutely. We’ll still stick fairly close to home. Next for us is an RV adventure out to Manitoulin Island. We are using a company called Outdoorsy that lets you borrow someone else’s rig for your trip. And though we haven’t yet planned a getaway for the winter, if COVID-19 protocols allow, we’ll definitely try to escape our home hibernation.

We are very serious about safety. We travel with a full medical kit that includes a thermometer, oximeter and more. We have enough masks for every day of the trip and we carry a vat of hand sanitizer, as well as smaller pocket sized versions for each of us. This new way of travel comes with a lot of responsibility to keep the communities we visit safe. We’re so grateful to be able to go, so we don’t take it lightly.

What’s the trip you find yourself dreaming of taking after covid?
All of them. I want to go back to Africa and New Zealand. I want to finally explore more of Europe and of course, venture further afield here in Canada.

Mickela Mallozzi

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Mickela Mallozzi is the Emmy® Award-winning Host and Executive Producer of Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi, a travel series highlighting the diversity of dance which airs on PBS member stations nationwide and on Amazon Prime Video globally.  She has been featured in The New York Times, O Magazine, Travel Channel, Dance Magazine, Forbes, Condé Nast Traveler, AFAR, and more.

Did you take a summer vacation? Where? What did you love about it?
My “summer vacation” was a 10-day trip to visit my family back home in Connecticut and Boston, and I loved every minute of it.  The time flew by, but it was like recharge for my internal battery.  I got to see my parents, my grandmother, and my sister, all of whom are high-risk for COVID-19, so there was a lot of planning going into our visit – but the trip felt like a bit of normalcy in an extended period of time where nothing has been normal.

How have you been able to recreate the excitement of travel while staying close to home?
When COVID first hit, and all things travel had been initially halted, I asked myself what was the WHY for my travels?  And my answer was to connect with people around the world through dance and music, so I figured out how to replicate and continue that mission virtually!  I started a weekly #BareFeetLIVE series where I take viewers and fans around the world through dance and music via Facebook LIVE and Instagram LIVE!

Are you planning a winter/fall trip? How are you taking safety precautions?
My husband and I have plans to visit the Outer Banks in North Carolina with some of his family later in September, and we are really playing it by ear –  there’s a great cancellation policy for the house rental and ferry tickets, just in case things take a turn for the worst.  And my husband’s family decided on a house that they have rented before, knowing that it is isolated enough so we can safely socially distance.  I’m looking forward to a change of scenery!

What’s the trip you find yourself dreaming of taking after covid?
I have 2 trips I want to take – #1 is local.  I want to get together with my girlfriends and have brunch in New York City without masks or socially distant tables – I miss the mundane (Samantha, you’re invited!).  And my second trip would be back to Italy to see my family – I have gone back to Italy every year at some point for the past 20 years, and this is the first time I’m not able to go back and visit.  I’ll be so happy to know when that’s going to be a possibility again.

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How do you discuss travel when just about everyone, including yourself, isn’t traveling? I decided to reach out to other professional and avid travelers to see what travel during Covid-19 looks like for them. I love how inventive travelers are—so many great and inspiring ideas for infusing the spirit of travel into our lives during this complicated time!

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Hi Sam!
    This article was so great on so many levels! I loved seeing some of my favorite ‘travel people’ featured in your article, along with some new faces I’ve never known before! Great to see how they are keeping balanced, keeping travel dreams alive, and (quite honestly) taking some time to renew and refresh during these difficult times. So inspiring, so thought provoking! And how gracious of you to ‘share’ the spotlight on travel with other travel professionals and voices in the industry. That shows real class, grace, and compassion Sam, all of which YOU are the leader!
    Jim Brown in Orlando

  2. Thank you for putting all this together. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about each an every person you interviewed. A real treat! I too miss traveling, traveling to sell my art work, traveling just to travel, to see family and on the list goes. I have taken on a job working from home all day on the computer, and while it is not my dream, it is a job I am very grateful to have as so many others are loosing theirs. I continue to watch your re-runs on PBS and look forward to enjoying them again and again, but I am definitely looking forward to new shows, as I am sure you are as well, when available.
    Thanks again and keep the stories coming.
    Truly thankful,
    Kim

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