At the beginning of this year as any other year, I got real giddy about all of my possible upcoming travels. As it has affected us all, something that starts with a C, known as the coronavirus pandemic has put a halt and has risen a lot of uncertainty on our anticipated travel plans. This year, I had trips in the works to Bethany Beach, Delaware for girl’s and family trips at our family beach house, Charlottesville, Virginia & Charleston, South Carolina for my 21st Birthday, East Grand Lake, Maine & North Lake, New Brunswick, Canada for a family reunion, Emerald Isle, North Carolina & Greenville, North Carolina to visit my roommate in a summer program, Boston, Massachusetts with a hopeful day trip to Newport, Rhode Island to visit my cousin, and a September trip to Asheville, North Carolina with my Honors Program for their annual Fall Trip (luckily, that one has been pushed back to Spring 2021 so fingers crossed!). However, each of those plans has been put on halt. Personally, I hate to say “cancelled”, as I believe that we will ALWAYS have opportunities to travel to the places that may have been crossed off of our bucket lists this year – 2020 is just not the year for some of our trips. While it may be saddening to watch many of our travel plans get put on halt, it DOES NOT mean that we cannot travel; we just have to travel in a different way. Although 2020 may not be the year for us to pack our bags and hop on a plane to someplace far away, it is for sure the year of traveling to places in our own backyards!

Dealing with Travel Uncertainty

Photo taken at Prince William Forest, Triangle, Virginia

I know that for myself, I have experienced the worries of when my next trip will be. For most of us, it appears as if most of our travels will be postponed and/or eventually put off for the 2020 year. While it is extremely hard to not know when your next big trip will be, do not dwell on it. Instead, focus on what you can control and try and explore some place nearby your home or go and visit a friend or family member in a different area (only if you both are comfortable and discuss precautions taken before the visit). Most importantly, remember that you are NOT alone. In fact, pretty much everybody is struggling with the extreme uncertainty that the coronavirus pandemic has brought upon us all, especially as it has affected many of our much-anticipated plans of all kinds. Through it all, we are a community of people that are each going through similar things during this coronavirus pandemic, even if you cannot see it on the surface.

Use This Time as an OPPORTUNITY

Photo taken in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Even though it is a real damper to see many of our trips be put to a halt, it is definitely not good practice to remain in a rut. Remember that it is OKAY to grief and you have every right to feel all the feels. On the contrary, those sad feelings should not keep you from living your best life, especially when it comes to planning new adventures. In commemoration of some of the trips that you were supposed to take this year, it may be fun to plan a day trip nearby or an overnight trip at a friend or family member’s place to still keep those travel feels going strong! Ever want to explore a trail nearby your house or even a State or National Park within a day trip’s reach?! Then, this is the time do it! Having limited time to travel leaves most of us to choose trips to places that are much further than our own homes, which leaves us with not much time (if any) to explore places nearby. For example, I took a day trip to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia – somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit yet never had the time (more on that later!). If you cannot think of any cool places near your house that you’re interested in visiting, then you may want to try Google searching places within a day trip reach of your hometown and see what pops up. You never know what you can find!

Be Sure You Can Keep Your Social Distance

Photo taken at Burke Lake Park, Burke, Virginia

While a trip to a big city may sound like an appealing day trip if you’re near one, I would not recommend putting it on your 2020 trip radar. The Covid-19 pandemic is still looming upon us, and it is not going away at least for now. That being said, it is important to take social distancing precautions while you travel. ALWAYS bring a mask with you no matter where you go, as you never know when and where you may need it. Consequentially, I would suggest keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer with you in your car and/or in your bag as well. Some of the best trips to take to social distance involve walking and hiking trails as well as parks that may offer opportunities for each. However, I wouldn’t discount towns that may have ice cream shops, cafes, or restaurants where you can social distance and still take a stroll. If you choose to explore a town, I recommend going to one that has some sort of outdoor activities or scenic views where you can still maintain your social distance. Additionally, vineyards/breweries are also a great way to take a fun and scenic day trip while keeping your distance.

My Summer 2020 Travels So Far!

Photo taken in downtown Clifton, Virginia

Although my summer travels do not look anything like I anticipated them to, it does not mean that I have not made the best of the current situation. Instead, I have decided to use 2020 as an opportunity to explore where I live. So far, I have explored: Burke Lake Park in Burke, Virginia, the town of Clifton, Virginia, Sugarloaf Mountain & Sugarloaf Vineyard in Dickerson, Maryland, Fountainhead Regional Park in Fairfax Station, Virginia, the town of Harpers Ferry along the Appalachian Trail in West Virginia, and Prince William Forest in Triangle, Virginia. While they are close to home, I have really loved getting to explore each of these destinations. In fact, Harpers Ferry has been a place that I have been dying to see for a few years now, and little did I know, it is such a gem and a great day trip from Northern Virginia. I never truly knew how great the non-suburbia parts and outskirts of the Washington, DC-Virginia-Maryland tristate area were until just a few weeks ago. Personally, I really wish I got to know my backyard outside of the city a lot sooner!

Photo taken at Sugarloaf Mountain, Dickerson, Maryland
Photo taken at Fountainhead Regional Park, Fairfax Station, Virginia
Photo taken in downtown Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Photo taken at Sugarloaf Vineyard, Dickerson, Maryland

Future 2020 Travels

Photo taken at Holts Landing State Park near Bethany Beach, Delaware

Having traveled to various places close to home, I am very excited about some of the upcoming travels that I have planned for the remainder of 2020. While past the summer is up in the air at the moment, I do have some exciting adventures planned for the rest of the summer. I will be spending about two weeks including the Fourth of July at my family’s beach house in Bethany Beach, Delaware. After a few weeks of relaxing seaside, I will be heading for the mountains for an unplugged few days in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia right nearby Shenandoah National Park. My Big Sis (essentially a mentor and potential best friend for life) from college and I are also planning a vineyard outing in the upcoming week. There is also a creek right by my house that I’m hoping to plan more outings to with family and friends as well (social-distanced of course!). Excitedly enough, I am planning to share posts on my travels to Bethany Beach, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the vineyard that my Big Sis and I visit in the coming weeks!

With most of us scratching to get out of our homes, I highly suggest taking a day trip (or two or three) whenever you can. Travel may not look the same right now, but it does not mean that you cannot get out and explore. What the coronavirus pandemic has taught me is to always prioritize travel. Travel has been one of my biggest passions and has taught me SO much about different people and cultures. At the same time, you do not have to go far to meet and see a new culture – there are so many places within a day’s reach that can provide you with just that! Whether you’re in a small town in Virginia or a big city in Europe, there is always room for learning, growth, and exploration along with culture. Just look around: there is SO MUCH adventure out there!

XOXO – Katie <3

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