It’s been raining non-stop for over 24 hours. The sky is a solid grey, the roads a patchwork of wet asphalt and puddles. The grass in the garden is a soggy, albeit very green, carpet with splashes of yellow autumn leaves.
In stark contrast with this Irish November landscape, my computer screen is an extravaganza of nuances of blue and whites: I am looking at entries by my travel blogger friends, reporting from the other side of the world, and while I wrap up in one more woolly jumper, I take in the white sandy beaches and the crystal clear waters they are tipping their toes in.
There is no doubt: I can’t help but feeling a bit depresses. I want to be on a beach too! I want to be on a beach, with infinite time, infinite money, infinite energy and no worries.
Because no matter what they are actually writing about their time away: in my photo inspired daze all I see is this – they are in a tropical paradise and I am not.
This feeling has a name: travel envy, and since I am not going to a tropical paradise anytime soon, I decided I better find a way to get rid of it quickly.
The way I found is a mix of realism and planning and it seem to be working: I‘m turning envy into inspiration.
This is how I did, a short list I should keep handy for myself when the envy hits again.
First of all, a reality check: there is more to life than travel.
I think sometimes travel becomes an obsession and photos shared on social media make us think that, unless we are discovering some faraway land, our life is boring and empty. Of course, this is nonsense and how social media (so amazing for certain things) can become dangerous. Travel is fun, but so is seeing your friends, playing with your kids; travel can teach you things but so does engaging with your community, getting involved with local projects, helping friends or being there for your family. Travel photographs well but this doesn’t mean less photogenic things are less interesting or less worthy of your time. Travel should add to your life, not take away the pleasure from your daily accomplishments: I better remind this to myself often.
Travel should inspire awe for the world, and this should include home
One of the many things I hope my kids will learn from travelling is an appreciation for our wonderful, amazing world. But our wonderful, amazing world is not only far away: if we let travel envy take hold of us, I worry we might pass onto our kids the sense that home is just not good enough and this is the exact opposite of what travel, I believe, should inspire. When travel envy hits, I remind myself ‘My local is someone else’s exotic, let’s try to look at it with their eyes’. I tell you, it works! And writing a blog about it helps too…
Plan your next holiday
This is my favourite part of dealing with travel envy: using the amazing photographs I see to plan our next holiday! Putting on paper bucket lists and a first idea for itineraries channels my energies into something constructive: these lists then become the basis for future more accurate ones, to include budget and timescales and eventually real trips take shape. I find that as soon as ‘I wish I was there’ turns into ‘let’s see how I could go there’, the envy dissipates and becomes a much more positive, useful feeling.
Do you get travel envy? and how do you deal with it? I’d love to hear your tricks!
Ps the photo above this post is Dublin and wants to be an ode to my current, wonderful home!