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How to deal with anxiety around Coronavirus + travel

How to deal with anxiety around Coronavirus + travel

By anyone’s standards, we’re living in troubling times. Coronavirus messaging is overwhelming, from the media, governments, employers and family members – how to deal with anxiety of it all then?

With very few details to go on, the only consistent message we had for months was to keep our hands clean and off our faces. Then hand sanitiser sold out! (well, except for the packs of six small bottles that you could buy on Amazon for the bargain price of £75 😠).

Travel plans are out the window and some of us face a very real threat of being separated from family, friends and the future we’d planned because the world is closed, indefinitely.

How to deal with anxiety around Coronavirus

The exceptional pace at which events have unfolded since January 2020 means people are living in fear. Unexpected lock-downs began in China, then Italy which we got caught up in. People worry about empty supermarket shelves, closed international borders and economic collapse.

All of this came out of nowhere. Our travel trends never predicted this in the plan. It’s new, and it’s upsetting.

I know you are stressed. Me too!

Friends have messaged me in tears. Fellow travel writers and bloggers have contacted us to ask, ‘what are you guys doing next?’ Another friend has been stuck on a cruise ship for over 25 days – no port will accept the passengers! If someone walks past and coughs, panic wells inside of us all. Our biggest international airlines have simply stopped flying indefinitely. The business landscape is changing, and many people are without work. It’s madness.

Social isolation is enforced globally, including here in the UK. We’re keeping our distance from other humans. Pubs are shut – it’s bad. That would be a joke if it weren’t for all the other businesses that have closed too. Hotels, restaurants, events, tours, even the famous summer festival Glastonbury has been cancelled, in what would have been its 50th year! Will summer destinations like Ibiza – heavily reliant on seasonal tourism – even be able to open this year?

I would have thought it was all a bit of a crazy media frenzy, if we’d not experienced all of it directly. Unfortunately, it’s all true.

It’s time to admit we’re in trouble when ‘wartime’ rhetoric is invoked, but admittedly I’d drawn these parallels already.

Coronavirus anxiety has been following Cooper and I for a while, from before our trip to Italy where we were set to attend the TBEX conference, here in the UK and in Australia.

The situation for digital nomads and the Coronavirus pandemic - what to do next

The situation for digital nomads and the Coronavirus pandemic

Last August Cooper and I set off on a grand adventure. For the first time in our lives we let work be a secondary concern. On a house sitting sabbatical adventure (that made international headlines) we had a world of opportunity at our fingertips. We’ve embraced a house sitting and digital nomad lifestyle – like thousands and thousands of others. This lifestyle has been accessible and easy for years now. Living a laptop lifestyle and all of that.

But what happens when you have plans to travel, live and work in different countries, but now deal with anxiety around what’s [not] on offer? The Coronavirus outbreak means for many of us that we need to return home before we want or intended to. When will we be free to travel again? It’s estimated that most airlines will be bankrupt by the end of May 2020. A staggering and saddening thought.

I remember the days when there was no competition and there’s no way an average family of four could fly from one city in Australia to another. We had to drive. I imagine it was the same in Europe. Now we flit from the UK to Spain on a whim. Well, at least we could do that three months ago.

Currently we’re in the UK where we have residency, thankfully for a little while yet. We were going to apply for indefinite leave to remain visas this year and stay. But we want to be at home in Australia too. How can we get there when all flights are cancelled? We are without a flat because we’ve been travelling. It feels like our options get slimmer by the day. Where’s safest in terms of wellbeing and the economy? No one knows from one day to the next.

Anxiety and stress: dealing with Coronavirus and an uncertain future

Whether you’re in a precarious situation like us, uncertain of the future; or, you’re feeling down, worried and downright isolated working from home for the foreseeable future, it’s easy to get caught up in the worry mindset. Oh yeah, I get that. There are people trapped in foreign countries right now, with no money or accommodation. Cruise ships with ill passengers being denied entry to ports. Sick with worry – that’s no way to live.

Author and spiritual teacher, Gabby Bernstein, shared very helpful tips that I’ve passed around to friends who are caught up in Coronavirus anxiety. In this blog, she talks about how to claim back a good night’s sleep, and about taking responsibility for your own thoughts. It’s worth a read.

How to deal with anxiety - our own experience

How to deal with anxiety – our own experience

Our ‘new normal’ includes:

  • limiting the amount of news and social media we’re consuming.
  • breathing! (don’t forget to do it).
  • we use ‘spare’ or ‘locked-in’ time to focus on creative projects, like our upcoming wellness travel podcast launch (perhaps timely, given the world’s predicament) – it’s called ‘Exhale’ which is referencing, appropriately, remembering to breathe!
  • taking the time to reevaluate what’s working in our business – getting prepared and positioned to be available when things pick up again and new opportunities arise out of such significant change.
  • acknowledging when things get too much and giving ourselves a break – there have been some tense moments over the past few weeks and it’s led to emotional and physical burnout for both of us.
  • looking for opportunities to laugh and live in the moment.
  • Keep the faith: our tips on finding hope in uncertain times are here
  • Yoga postures! See a tip from our friend Flavia Munn in the clip below, or here on Instagram.

 

 

Be present

As I write this, we’re safe at a house sit in the Bedfordshire countryside with our pups Maise and Mole and horses Haze and Roo. Cooper and I went into a 14 day self isolation after returning from Italy, and fortunately we are ok. Our biggest issue is sourcing groceries, but the kindness of neighbours has meant that strangers bring us food and check on us. Beautiful 💕

There are changes happening around us every single day, and we are practising the art of allowing and letting go of the plans we simply can’t make under the circumstances. We have a few options to consider, but are taking this day at a time. It’s taken some time to get to this head space though, to be able to write even this piece in a calm and collected manner. Tears and depression have presented. I’m a ‘planner’ by nature, and right now I can’t plan. It’s tough, but we’re all in it together regardless of status, race or colour. It’s like a disaster movie and we’re all playing a part.

Moving forward

There’s people I work with who hate the term ‘moving forward’, but I this it’s appropriate here and hope we can do it soon. Let’s pray the airlines keep running; that lost jobs are found again; and that we can continue to travel in the direction in which we’re called.

I hope wherever you are that you feel safe and connected, despite enforced social distancing. This too shall pass. And, it’s an opportunity to think about your future and how you’ll embrace change on the other side.

If you have tips or stories on how you’re going through all of this, let us know in the comments or on social media.

Tourism trends 2020: wellness and fitness

Tourism trends 2020: wellness and fitness

With greater numbers of Brits embracing a healthy lifestyle, it’s no surprise the tourism trends for 2020 and beyond are all about wellness tourism. Wellness retreats and fitness-based trips are an increasingly popular choice for holiday-goers looking to de-stress, rejuvenate, get inspired or achieve weight loss.

Experts from the diverse range of travel companies exhibiting and some of the expert speakers from Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show, the UK’s leading and longest-running travel event, have shared their recommendations.

Here’s their pick of what’s happening across tourism trends now.

 

Tourism trends 2020 means more of us are hiking the world's most beautiful rainforests like here in South America

 

Talking tourism trends 2020

Lares and Inca Trail Trek

Michael Witt from Kusa Treks, tells us that as far as tourism trends go:

“We offer a variety of fitness-based itineraries that enable our clients to improve their physical strength while also giving back to the communities of Peru.

An example of this is our Lares and Inca Trail Trek, which combines two incredible hikes into one. The Lares Trek takes visitors to remote villages in the Andes where they will hike 15 miles over two days, reaching an altitude of 15,000 ft!

You’ll then have the opportunity to donate school supplies and toys to local villages where they will share meals and play games.

The third day is spent hiking 8 miles on the world-famous Inca Trail, during the hike, our guide leads everyone on a trail restoration project.

Finally, on Day 4, the group will reach Machu Picchu, where holidaymakers will have a professionally guided tour of one of the World Wonders.”

Go hiking in Peru and boost your physical and spiritual wellness

Sacred Valley Yoga Retreat

Michael Witt continues:

“This trip offers an escape to a beautiful lodge deep in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. At the lodge visitors are led by professional instructors through various yoga and fitness classes during their stay. In between classes clients can choose from various “volunteer” activities that benefit the surrounding area and communities, or they can choose to take short tours of the surrounding area.

These tours include horseback riding, paragliding, ATV tours, day hikes and more. Throughout the trip, fabulous meals are served with a range of healthy and nutritious snacks and supplements to help aid fitness.”

Tourism trends 2020 will see more people flock to yoga experiences

SwaSwara in Gokarana

Vimal Matthew, Head of Operations at Authentic India Tours, says:

“The SwaSwara in Gokarana wellness retreat is located on the pristine Om Beach.

Crafted in colours of the Earth, and in harmony with the land that nurtures her, SwaSwara is designed for holistic and transformational experiences; a space where the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and Yoga embrace you to rejuvenate body and spirit.

The programmes here blend the healing powers of Ayurveda, yoga, meditation and art to offer a rejuvenating holiday experience.

The goal is to offer a life plan for the ‘reconstruction’ of mind and body to bring about balance and harmony within.”

 

Kalari Kovilakom

Vimal Matthew continues:

“Kalari Kovilakom is located near Kollangode in the Palghat District of Kerala by the majestic Western Ghat mountain ranges. The 200-year-old palace of Ayurveda is certified and accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare (NABH) so that history meets natural tranquillity.

The treatments provided are strictly according to the tenets of ancient Ayurveda. CGH Earth took over the reins of this palace and converted it into a traditional Ayurvedic healing facility, while keeping its historic legacy intact.

Kalari Kovilakom is set within the palace grounds of the old Vengunad kingdom and offers 19 well-appointed suites with modern amenities and a clinic with 12 treatment rooms. The living spaces and gardens here complement the healing process, with their nurturing and warm environment.”

Cocooning in the forests of Finland are a big tourism trend for 2020

Arctic Cocooning

Linda Harris at Scott Dunn, says of upcoming tourism trends:

“An increasing demand for alternative and boundary pushing wellness practices sees Scott Dunn offering tailormade tours to lesser-known parts of Finnish and Swedish Lapland.

Arctic Cocooning sees guests become immersed in the Finnish Forests, wrapped in an insulated cocoon and soothed by the gentle swaying of the trees and pure Arctic air. A specialist guide takes guests through mindful breathing practices that leave them feeling de-stressed and motivated.”

Swedish Lapland

Linda Harris adds:

“In Swedish Lapland, Scott Dunn will feature the highly anticipated Arctic Bath hotel.

Set within an extraordinary timber structure, which floats in the middle of the Lule River, guests will experience Arctic Wellness rituals with a giant ice-bath at its core. Guest activities will be tailored to explore the pristine natural surroundings under the Northern Lights.”

Cycling holidays are ever more popular as a wellness travel escape

Exodus Walking and Cycling Holidays

Jenny Cox, Product Manager at Exodus, says:

“Exploring destinations under your own steam, on foot or by pedal power is not only low impact on the environment but it enables you to escape the crowds and reach places where vehicles can’t.

 

 

On a walking holiday you can venture where there are no roads and often limited signs of civilisation. Breathe in the fresh air, disconnect from the modern world, and take in the natural beauty of the landscapes around you. It may sound like an oxymoron but I always find active holidays more restful: think ‘active body, restful mind’.

After burning all those calories in the great outdoors you’ll be sure to have a contented night’s sleep.

At Exodus Travels, we offer walking and trekking holidays across the globe at a range of activity levels, so whatever your budget or fitness level, there’s a trip for you.

Enjoy home-made picnics on our week-long Walking in Mallorca Holiday, sleep under star-strewn skies in Jordan on our Petra & Wadi Rum Desert Trek, camp in Central Asia’s celestial mountains on our Challenging Kyrgyzstan: Tian Shan Gorge Trek, or take on a summit and lay your claim to the ‘roof of Africa’ on one of our Kilimanjaro climbing routes!”

Tourism trends 2020 explore the rainforests in the Carrebean

Caribbean Island Walking – Dominica

Caroline Phillips, Product Manager for Walking & Trekking at Explore Travels, says:

“Discover the rainforests, mountains and hot springs of the Caribbean’s ‘Nature Island’ on this unique trip. Hike to the Boiling Lake, one of the world’s largest hot springs, swim in Middleham Falls and walk the Syndicate nature trail.

Explore’s first walking tour in the Caribbean, this trip covers most of the island, taking in coastlines, volcanoes and colourful hillside houses.”