Who has the (travel) bug?

May 01, 2020 4 min read

Who has the (travel) bug?

Not sure about you, but when all this is over, we’re packing our bags, our vans, our cars, our boards and we are hitting the road... even if it is just down the way to our local surf spot or nearest campsite.

One thing this pesky virus has done is give as an all-time new appreciation for the outdoors, the ocean, going surfing with a mate and generally everything that goes with having a life centred around the sea.

So how’s that going to look? Restrictions won’t be lifted en masse around the world unfortunately, but regionally we will start to see things being eased and reintroduced slowly and systematically. For some it’s still lockdown central. But in some parts of the world we’re already seeing some beaches (that were initially closed) re-opened to the public, albeit under fairly strict social distancing compliance. And that’s good news, provided we all do the right thing.

But in doing the math, we realise our travel bug will have a few restrictions placed on it too. So while we’re bursting at the seams to chase adventures in faraway lands, we might need to be more realistic about the expectations we have. But that’s not all a bad thing.

It goes without saying that international travel might be a little challenging in the immediate future. With most international borders still closed, the likelihood of them opening up for all seems like a long shot... not until this curve is flattened, squashed like bug (not the travel one) and thrown in the bin, or until a vaccine is approved... but that’s a whole other debate. So for now our international travel plans to locations like Fiji, Mexico, Indo, Peru, New Zealand and Southern Africa etc. might need to be put on ice. Sorry bug.

Which leaves us with a second option. Domestic travel. It makes sense that local travel will open up first, and while it might not seem as exotic as an trip overseas at first, it does pose an interesting question: How much of our own country have we actually explored?

And we’re not talking all the common hotspots, unless you haven’t been.  We’re thinking small coastal towns, national parks, out of the way campgrounds, remote coastlines... or just your local car park if you’ve been in total lockdown 😊.

So if you’re frothing to get out like us, here are a few (realistic) ideas for planning your home grown travel adventure when all this passes.

Invest in a tent

If you haven’t got any camping gear, now is the time to start investing. A down payment on adventure if you like! And you can go as short or as long as you like here... from a mattress in your van, to a basic tent, to the full camper trailer set up.  Keep it simple, but make sure that you have the necessities – like a good coffee making option, decent shelter and comfortable sleep.  Surf camping is good for the soul, and if you have what you need at your fingertips, you can leave on a whim at anytime.  You’ll be surprised how refreshed you’ll feel after a weekend spent in nature.

Google Earth

First of all, how mesmerising is it to stare at this huge spinning ball from outer space! Once you’re snapped out of your trance, zoom in on a stretch of coast you’ve always wondered about.  We’ve spent hours tracking along the shoreline looking for tell tale signs of secret waves, new waves, novelty waves... not to mention empty beaches, little coves and little offshore islands with potential.  If nothing else, it feeds the imagination and gets the travel juices flowing.   Check out your countries entire coastline and pick a spot to start.  And there’s no need to share on social media... some memories are best kept to yourself.

Go to people, not places

One thing we’ve all been deprived of (aside from waves) is good old-fashioned human interaction.  Many a friendship has been kept alive via technology through this time but nothing can replace hanging out with friends. Telling stories, breaking bread and sharing waves are way better than any virtual hangout.  Very often it’s not always the destination that makes the memory, but the people you share it with.  Make a plan to travel to people; the destination, waves and good times will take care of themselves. 

Surf the waves

The other coast.

Some of us become creatures of habits. We only surf our regular spot, never adventure too far out of our own postcode and love the luxuries of our own bed. And that’s fair enough, but there wouldn’t be many among us that weren’t keen to get out of the house and broaden our horizons now, after what seems like a life sentence in one place.  If the bug is biting hard, then you might consider the ‘other’ coast of your motherland.  Many a territorial debate has been had over east versus west. East is least, west is best etc.  And we’re not about to add fuel to that fire... the point is, each coastline has its own unique feel, culture and surf vibe.  Some are even in different time zones, while in others the sun rises and sets in different places.  The point is there is diversity and adventure to be found within the borders of our very own countries; we just have to break out of our comfort zones to find it.

So what now? Take a step and make a plan.  You might not be in a position to execute the plan right now, but that day and time will be here soon enough. Plot your drive, choose your national park, find that campground, coordinate that visit, research that stretch of coast... and don’t stop dreaming. Oh and don’t forget to support local when you get there... shop where the locals shop, find the farmers market, support the local coffee guy and corner store... and why not order a board from the local shaper.

And if the only travel bug you have is to drive down to your local spot and surf it with your mates, then that’s ok too.  But whatever we end up doing, let’s do it responsibly so that the world can become our oyster once more.

Stay safe, and may the waves be good where you are!

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