FROM A TRAVELER TO HOMEBODY: WHY I’M NOT TRAVELING IN 2021

Year 2021 is a brand new year and a new beginning. As we wave goodbye to 2020 A.K.A the worst year of our lives, a ray of hope welcomes us because of the creation of the new vaccine for Covid-19 virus. Although many people are skeptical about it  the others are looking forward to it because it can be the key for us to go back to our old lives. But, is it or is it just another extension of 2020? Whether 2021 is a good beginning, I already made up my mind not to travel this year and here’s why.

Things Are So Uncertain

The roll out of the vaccines should give us new hope for the light at the end of the tunnel but it seems the opposite of what we are expecting. With the mutation of new variants from late last year, the whole world starts to shut down again. From flight bans to border restrictions, it is just too risky to book a flight or to even step outside.

Traveling these days is just too much work.

Before, I used to be excited to plan my DIY travel. There’s just a thrill within me while working on my itinerary, booking my flights and searching for my accommodation online but now I get so frustrated going through all the requirements in order leave my small town and to be allowed to enter a certain destination. From securing travel authority and medical clearance, to taking swab test, it is just too much of a hassle for me and I’m not cool with that.

I’m not Up For Any Adventures

Being locked up at home with no travel for a year except in the grocery store made me a very lazy ass. I already have a routine that I am used of and I don’t think I’m quitting them in no time. Although I miss traveling so much especially when I look back at my old photos, I can’t see myself roaming around especially with a threat of being infected is everywhere. I will wait for the time when I can freely wander so for now I will stay home and watch Netflix.

I’m Too Cheap to Willingly Pay for the Requirements

I miss the old times when I used to spend a very little amount of money to have a weekend getaway. In the past I can work on the cheapest budget I have and have loads of fun exploring places. This time, it’s the opposite. Aside from the money you have to shell out for the anti-gen test, you also need to book in an accredited hotel with a private room which is not my jam. The prices of bus fare and other public transportation doubles too plus the humongous amount of cash you have to allocate for travel insurance. These actually made me realize how poor I am to be able to afford to travel these days.

I’m not ready for any “What ifs’.”

I associate what ifs’ with regrets. As I mentioned, everything is just so uncertain this time. The borders might be open now but probably might not be the next days. Flights may be available now but could be cancelled the last minute. Your accommodations might be booked already but you can be prohibited from entering your destination when you get there. The guidelines for traveling changes so often and I just don’t want to go through the hassle of last minute surprises. I’m not good at dealing with those kinds of situation.

Someone told me that this pandemic might stay until 2024. I came across another article mentioning we’ll go through this for 7 years and it might be impossible to go back to our old lives. These things sound pessimistic and alarming but I am hoping and praying for a better situation in the near future so we can go on adventures again.

MUSIC VIDEOS THAT WILL MAKE YOU WISH YOU ARE TRAVELING RIGHT NOW!

With most of us still on quarantine we can’t help but to wish to be on holiday somewhere except our house. Given the situation all we can do for now is to reminisce the old days when we used to have all the freedom to be anywhere in the world. As we wait and hope for this pandemic to be over, here are the good old music and their videos to enjoy and remind us how traveling used to be.

I Got U by Duke Dumont ft. Jax Jones

This music video will remind us how good life was before pandemic happened. How a lot of us are wishing to escape that city life and spend holidays in the tropics. With the world shut down and border restrictions, how we wish we have that VR giving us a close to reality experience of the tropics. Resort living, white sand beach, swimming in a clear blue water and sipping cocktails on beach parties, you would wish you are in Bangkok and Phuket, Thailand right now where it was shot.

Perfect Strangers by Jonas Blue ft. JP Cooper

This is literally a story of travel romance a lot of backpackers can relate to. When a man and a woman traveling on their own cross paths, and ended up being together or maybe just another casual travel fling. As travelers, we can totally relate to the music video scenes where a traveller got attracted to a fellow traveler at first sight. Keep on bumping on the same stranger in different places and having mutual connection that usually ends up hitting it off together. Watching the music video makes me miss dating on the road such as a day hike, a motorbike city tour or simply just watching the sunset together by the beach. Whether it’s a casual travel fling or start of something serious, you can never deny that travel date is the best date ever.

Guns and Roses by Helly Luv & Ardian Bujupi

The first impression I got in this Kurdish song basing on the title is drugs and killing. (Please don’t come after me for thinking that way.) Thanks to Google translator and the English part of the song I came to understand it’s about working hard and luxury living. However the best thing that hooks me into the music video of this song is the location. It features fast cars in the desert, sailing in luxury yacht and simply enjoying life. This song can be an inspiration to hustle now and enjoy our travels later when everything is back to old normal.

Tropical Love by Nadro and Timmy Commerford

The lyric of this song is a message for those who want to travel long term, book one way ticket and never look back. Aside from the lyrics the views in its music video are also spectacular. Beaches, safaris, waterfalls plus a drone shot of Table Mountain in South Africa. Remember the time when you were waking up with the view from a villa in Bali Indonesia? The next thing you know you are catching a flight to South America. Ahhh, The good old days!

Sweet Chin Music by Kid Ink

This 3-minute track features Kid Ink rapping in the bustling city of Bangkok showing the busy streets filled with tuktuks, temples and hustling people.

If Life Is Too Short (Cover) by Music Travel Love

A cover song of the original 90’s soundtrack of The Mofats by Music Travel Love features the foggy view of the Pu Chi Fa Mountain in Chang Rai, Thailand. The mountain is well known for many tourists catching the glimpse of the sea mist at dawn. If you are on a hunt for acoustic versions of songs in the 90’s with top notch sceneries on their background check more of Music Travel Love videos on YouTube.

Lean On by Major Lazer & DJ Snake Feat. MØ

The 18th most viewed video on YouTube is a track shot in the beautiful state of Maharashtra, India. Although some scenes were filmed in the Golden Hall of Stockholm City Hall, the musicians showcased their modernized Bollywood dance. Major Lazer mentioned that they were always been a culture mash up and to them, India feels like some kind of special creature with one foot in history and one firmly in the future.

Came Here For Love by Sigala, Ella Eyre

Sigala and Ella Eyre released this song in 2017 and it is still on my playlist up to this date. The song says “I came here for love.” And for the love of traveling we will surely appreciate the music video that was filmed in the colorful houses of Las Palmitas neighborhood in Pachuca, México. It will remind us of the other colorful neighborhood in South America such as the Favela in Brazil and the hillside houses in Lima, Peru.

This Girl by Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners

The remix of this track has the catchiest beat of all. I don’t remember anyone not liking this song when I introduced it to them way back years ago. The music video shows a boy and girl meeting on a cruise ship then later became a couple. When the ship reached the shore, they explored the land, coming across lakes and hills. They later discovered a cave and begin dancing in the cave over a bonfire. It shows another travel fling but this time focused on young flame. Well, it can’t be helped and a lot of travelers are aware of that. The stunning place is the Greek island of Milos, in the Cyclades.

Nobody to Love by Sigma

Although the lyric of the song is repetitive, the music video exhibits a fresh view of Cape Town in South Africa. It shows two girls on a road trip enjoying life and some African dancing talent. The message of the song is probably when you got nobody to love go grab your bff and hit the road together.

*Bonus: If you are into EDM check out EDM Crusher on YouTube. The channel has great travel music video uploads.

I QUIT SOCIAL MEDIA AMIDST PANDEMIC AND HERE’S WHAT HAPPENED.

Social media has been a part of most of us since its birth in 2009. With them installed in our smartphone we can easily access up-to-date information, see people’s posts and share things about our lives. It made us keep up with each other’s lives even from far distance. However with the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus it becomes an overwhelming information overload from heartbreaking news, political controversy to personal rants. Although there are still positive posts available to lighten up the day, they are easily buried when an update about the virus is uploaded.

WHY I QUIT?

As of this writing I haven’t been on social media for more than 5 months already. Since the outbreak in March social media became a toxic place to check in and unfortunately I also became that toxic person who complains about the situation. For months being locked up at home and still having an alarming rise of positive cases, I can’t help but to put my frustrations on social media. For me the more increase in positive cases means the longer it takes for us to get out from this dark tunnel we are stuck in. I became very opinionated in a bad way constantly battling with people I don’t even know on the comments section of news articles. Things got worse for me when I see my friends’ posts overseas back in June when they can already do non-essential travels domestically and nearby countries because the borders are already open for them. I know that FOMO should not be present in this time of pandemic but as much as I am happy for them doing fine and having the freedom to roam, I find myself pitiful for not being able to step outside. My mental well-being and productivity was affected badly. I realized I have to do something about it so I quit.

HOW I QUIT?

I thoughtfully consider a lot of things before quitting such as where to get updates and information. Social media is the fastest and most accessible source of up-to-date information. I still want to be informed so I watch news on T.V and read articles that appear on my Google app. I also subscribed to a local news blog in my hometown that regularly post announcements from the mayor’s office and regional Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) including scheduled power interruptions.  

For the moment of truth, I don’t want to just disappear online leaving my friends wondering what happened to me so I posted both on my Facebook and InstaGram that I will be taking a break from social media. I apologized in advance for any messages that I can’t read in the future but I assure them that they can reach me thru my phone number. Right after that I uninstalled all my social media accounts including Messenger and Whatsapp. I decided to include my messaging apps to experience living offline more.

WHAT HAPPENED?

CONSTANT DEBATE WHETHER TO GO BACK TO SOCIAL MEDIA OR NOT

The first two weeks is a continuous argument within me if I should re-install and log in to my accounts again. I am worried if I am getting enough information or I am missing out with important ones. However, when a close friend mentioned how stressful it is to open Facebook. I figured out I am on the right track.

I LOGGED IN TWICE

I had two “cheat days” on my social media cut back. On Day 6 and 24, my two close friends from overseas were having their birthdays. I re-installed my InstaGram to send them my best birthday wishes since it is the only way we can connect. Upon receiving their replies, I immediately uninstall my account again. That way, I can save myself from any post that can trigger me because to be honest I am not yet confident that I am mentally and emotionally stable from what is happening at that time.

I GOT THINGS DONE

For a short amount of time, I was able to have my anti-flu vaccine, visit my dentist and take my glasses to my ophthalmologist. These are essential appointments I put in the back burner believing I don’t have time. But the truth is, I got distracted with the notifications that appear on my screen. I spend hours and hours browsing on social media starting when I woke up and in between my daily task not realizing how much time was already wasted.  When I quit, I got more time for meaningful task to be done and build productive routine.

MY PHONE BATTERY LASTED LONGER

During my social media detox the main function of my phone is an alarm clock for work. I still receive messages from work thru skype and e-mails so I use it to communicate with my boss and some friends. I also use it to read news from Google and watch YouTube videos on my free time at work. Surprisingly, I only charge my phone once in 2 days. I never expected my phone battery to last that long especially in the past when I used to live for social media I need to plug my phone twice a day and carry a powerbank everywhere.

I WATCHED TV A LOT

Since I started working in college, I was too busy to sit down and watch T.V. I was not a T.V- person for 10 years now. In the age of social media, we can say that T.V is not a necessity because we can now access everything on the internet and even news can now go live on Facebook or YouTube. But when I decided to live offline the only entertainment I have is the television in our living room. I watched Asian dramas dubbed in Tagalog and Filipino dramas, which I keep track of every episode. I also regularly turn on the T.V at noon to watch a noon time show that features inspiring stories of people in this time of pandemic. I discovered how I like to watch more on bigger screen than the small one on my phone.

I READ A TON OF BOOKS

I’m a reader. I grew up reading encyclopedias, dictionaries and Guiness World of Book Records. I also have a good amount of book sitting on my shelves that were hand me down by my friends and family. However when social media took over my life, they end up collecting dust and never touched simply because I prefer to read blogs on social media plus I  became more drawn into videos. When I left social media for a while, I got fascinated how fast I am at reading. I was able to finish 3 books in a month and go through all those books I have. I also became a regular customer of a Book Sale store near my place. Something I love about reading print materials is it takes me to a different world where I don’t have to worry on what is going on. I just have to go with the flow with the story I am reading and just look forward to the ending. It helps me reduce my stress and anxiety.

I RENOVATED MY PLACE

On the second month of my journey, I got inspired with all the videos of room make overs and house tours that pops on my YouTube feed. I decided to go all in and change the aesthetic of our house especially my room. For the past years, I never paid attention to my place simply because I have been constantly traveling most of the time and was never at home. With the community quarantine that is still going, I am forced to stay at home so I witnessed how our house was falling apart. With social media out of the way, I have more free time to nitpick the things to be done at home including the smallest details that needed repair. I used my travel fund to convert my old room into a functional bedroom and work space. I never thought that I have a creative side when I handed my design to the contractor for the renovation. This is by far the most productive thing I did during the whole quarantine.

I FOUND CLEANING TO BE VERY THERAPEUTIC

I am a clean and organized person to begin with but throughout this journey, I got myself into doing more household chores. I doubled the amount of housework I do with my excess time. I cleared and dusted every corner of our house and regularly cleaned the bathroom twice a week. Cleaning became my daily home workout. I felt better after getting rid of dirt. It also made me feel accomplished when I go around the house with dry and dust-free counters, tables and floors. This task is my escape from negativity of what was going on because it made me focused on making my place better without thinking of anything else.

THE RESULT

When I re-installed my accounts including my messaging apps my messages was blown by my friends who showed their concern for not hearing anything from me for quite some time. Although I’m better at handling things I saw online now I will still not be active and I will continue to log out from time to time to make way to more productive stuff and projects I am working on. Gladly, my absence in social media made me built a productive routine that I religiously follow. There is something peaceful about not knowing anything. My social media detox made me realize a lot of things. Social media is not bad at all. It is just how I dealt with it in the past. Unfortunately, I handled the things I saw badly. I focused more on the negative side than the positivity it brings. I let my insecurity won over other things I should be grateful of such as staying healthy and still having a job. Along the way, I had deep thoughts and evaluated my relationship with social media. I figured that I am okay without them. I can totally get by.  However, I also miss so many things on social media. I miss seeing and liking my friends’ posts. I miss keeping up with them. It felt so weird when I logged in again for the first time in many months. I was totally clueless of what happened to them especially when two of my friends got married and I wasn’t able to congratulate them. I started reaching out again to them although I am not as active as before. I also wanted to go back to reading useful articles about travels and watching entertaining videos. I realized that the comment section is a huge trigger to me especially when it comes to controversial news so I decided to quit reading and leaving comments on any articles to make my life at peace and also to save my time. These days whenever I see a controversial articles I just skip it to save me a lot of energy and remain unbothered.