There is still a lot of uncertainty of how things will play out with the current Covid-19 pandemic. And there are certainly no guarantees about when it might be okay to travel again, especially internationally.
At least some national parks have announced that they will have limited or no backcountry access in summer of 2020 due to being unable to house seasonal rangers in the usual dorm style accommodations.
It is also unclear when tourism companies will be opening their doors again.
For these reasons, you may be holding off on planning your next big adventure. While these concerns are all valid, I feel that delaying the planning of your next adventure is a mistake.
I would strongly encourage you to start planning your first big post-quarantine adventure right now. Here’s why.
#1 – Planning A Trip Is Good For Your Mental Health
This pandemic has challenged our mental health as a nation like very few things have before (perhaps with the exception of war).
Social isolation, lack of meaningful work, and stress about health and financial systems make it extremely important for us to be proactive about taking care of our mental health.
Research suggests that planning a trip is good for your mental health, even if you don’t know exactly when you’ll be able to take it.
“People are at their happiest when they have a vacation planned. The anticipation of an experience (like a trip) can increase a person’s happiness substantially.”
Scientists have shown that the anticipation of something rewarding can often be just as good, if not better than the actual reward.
This fact can be explained by a chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine is released when we anticipate a reward (like a trip), not when we actually receive the reward. When released, dopamine causes feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.
You may have experienced this effect yourself when you’re just grinding away at work day after day with nothing to look forward to. But then, all the sudden if you start planning a vacation or an adventure, and you feel better right away. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, you’ve got something to look forward to!
We could all use something to look forward to after our social isolation, why not an adventure?"As humans, we spend a lot of our mental lives living in the future. Our future-mindedness can be a source of joy if we know good things are coming, and travel is an especially good thing to have to look forward to." – Matthew… Click To Tweet
#2 – Planning An Adventure Gives You More Motivation To Train
This whole Covid-19 pandemic has made a lot of people realize how much they’ve taken their health for granted. Now is an amazing time to re-prioritize your health by becoming more active.
However, it can be hard to stay motivated with the goal of just improving your health or even looking better. These are great goals, but for some reason, they aren’t usually enough to keep us running mile after mile or lifting rep after rep.
However, training for something, especially something you enjoy, can be much more motivating! Planning out an adventure that you have always dreamed of doing is a great way to keep you moving towards building healthy and more active habits. As an added bonus, training for an adventure will also improve your health while making you look, and feel better. Win-win!
There are a few reasons why having something to train for can be more motivating than just working out to get healthy:
- First, an adventure is much more tangible than “getting healthy”.
- Second, all the hard work of training pays off for the big reward of getting to go on an adventure you’ve always dreamed of!
- Third, by training for an adventure, you can choose workout types that you actually enjoy, which helps you stay motivated and stick to your goals. (Check out this post to learn how to stop hating, and start loving your exercise.)
#3 – Planning An Adventure Gives You And Your Adventure Buddies Something To Bond Over
Quarantine is tough, and can be really lonely for many. Humans are social animals, and it’s easy to feel disconnected when we aren’t able to see our friends and family as often as we are used to.
Fortunately, modern technology makes it easier than ever to stay in touch. But after months spent at home mostly binging on Netflix… you may have run out of Tiger King gossip to chat about.
Planning an adventure with a friend can be a really fun and exciting way to connect. Why not call your best adventure buddies now for a planning sesh?
Planning Your Post-Pandemic Adventure
If you’ve decided to plan an adventure, there are some things that can be planned now, and other things that would probably be better to wait for.
There is still a lot of uncertainty with how things will play out with this pandemic, and no one can say for sure what types of adventures we will be able to do first. But, if I had to guess, I would say that international travel might be one of the things that take longest to open back up.
If that does end up being the case, it might be a good option to plan for adventures closer to home. Maybe a site-seeing road trip, a visit to a national park, or a backpacking or camping trip in a local wilderness area?
What You Can Safely Plan Now
Unless you have a specific adventure in mind already, I would suggest making an adventure bucket list. Brainstorm all the adventures that you’ve always wanted to do, and write them down.
Don’t let your current fitness level discourage you from choosing more active adventures – remember, you have some time to train!
Now, after making your list, choose which adventure you would like to be your first, post-quarantine (I know, easier said than done, right?).
Once you’ve picked your destination, research the best sites to see there, and figure out logistics like mode of transportation, as well as what route or trail you’ll take.
If you choose a physically demanding outdoor adventure, you may also want research:
- What this adventure will require from you physically.
- Ex: if you are planning to backpack a certain trail, what is the distance and elevation change you’ll need to be prepared for each day? What is the terrain like?
- How you will need to train for that adventure. What sorts of exercises should you be doing? What do the experts recommend? How long will you need to safely train for this adventure?
- Temperature and weather patterns common to the area.
- What sort of clothing, gear, equipment, and food you’ll need.
- If permits are required.
These are all things that can take a bit of time to plan. So make sure you do your research and are prepared so the adventure goes smoothly.
What You Should Probably Wait To Plan
I would strongly recommend not getting too attached to any specific date for your adventure. If you have to keep pushing it back it will be more discouraging than uplifting.
So when planning, just be flexible on dates. For this reason, I would wait to buy any plane tickets or make any hotel or gear rental reservations. You will likely also want to hold off on requesting any vacation from work.
Hold off on making these particular plans until the authorities have said it is safe and allowed to do the type of adventure you are planning.
Even with all of the uncertainty that Covid-19 brings, I would still recommend planning your next big adventure. It will give you something to look forward to and be a great way for you to connect with friends.
Plus having something fun to train for will give you more motivation to get active and improve your health, win-win!
Have you ever felt much happier when planning a trip or adventure?
Have you decided what your first post-pandemic adventure will be yet? If so, is it something you can start training for now? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!