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One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to go into a new city and walk around alone. I usually pick a hotel or an Airbnb close to museums or other tourist zones. That way, I can walk to where I want and be safe. Having never lived in a metropolitan city, I soak in the feeling of anonymity and picture myself as a member of the bohemian community living there.
A few summers ago in New York City, I had to climb the steps of a brownstone to make way for a huge group of people passing on the sidewalk. It was dusk in August and the heat and sun shimmering reflections had begun to die down. I felt awkward at first. What if the owner came out? As I began to peer down the road in front of me, I couldn’t help but notice, there was one three to four-story uniquely architected building after another. Yet somehow they all belonged together in harmony. That’s how NY has always felt for me. I breathed in and imagined I was the owner out on my porch on a lovely night.
In the era of COVID, at least in 2020, those memories of densely populated cities are all that remain. Most people I know opted for driveable remote vacations this year. They rented homes to socially distance in. That’s if they went on vacation at all. Will we rethink the concept of going back to those busy places?
It seems that for many Airbnbs and VRBOs of the world, that would be OK.
According to Tom Canton of AirDNA “In truth, vacation rentals are simply becoming the preferred lodging type in an ongoing era of social distancing, The amenities, the ability to cook, the ability to rent entire-home listings, the supply in remote locations, the availability of larger, 2+ bedroom properties that accommodate entire families — all this points towards vacation rentals rebounding, even given the current state of the world.”
.Let’s face it unless you are in the hotel business, that might not be a bad thing.
I’ve certainly regained an alignment with nature. We took one trip to the scenic southern Rockies and a few day trips to rivers and lakes in Wisconsin. There’s a sense of stoic calmness when you get off the grid. Many of us overworked, overstressed, always playing catch-up with time, family and kids had a moment to breathe. Don’t get me wrong, there’s an awful pandemic going on right now. Though I ask, why would you go through life without (sometimes) trying to find the silver lining?
That brings me to the ultimate joy we’ve found over the years in single-family accommodations. Relatives and friends, I love you but sometimes a family just needs a space to chill out in on their own. I don’t miss the buzzing lobbies or pools of screaming kids. Nope! It’s freeing to walk through the door of my very own short term vacation rental. I can eat when I want, breakfast in my underwear, if I so desire and at night, my husband, children and I can have the hot tub all to ourselves.
Now, this makes me sound very antisocial, I realize. I assure you I am not. It’s the excursions and the big meals that I want to host and share with you. Truth be told, most of the time, I volunteer to do the cooking. For me, sharing food and creating memories with friends and family are what vacations are made of.
Have you found any silver linings in family travel this year?
If you are reading this, you’re probably undergoing self-quarantine as well. Welcome! It may not be ideal, but I am on day 5 and have relied heavily on making the most of it. I am usually pretty good at doing nothing and staying inside, one of my many talents, but it’s different when you don’t have much of a choice. Staying inside and taking proper safety precautions are important during this time, but it doesn’t mean we can’t entertain ourselves while staying in. I’m going to dive head-first into this isolation situation for you all. We will explore this quarantine from all different directions. Whether you live alone,with your parents, with friends or roommates, we’ve got you covered.
Living alone does not mean complete isolation. Luckily COVID-19 can’t kill the internet (that we know of so far), so utilize this resource. Staying connected with family and friends is extra important during this time. One of the nice things about modern technology, is that it is a great tool to stay connected. Exhaust this, call your family and friends each day or set up facetime dates. But also be cautious about exploring social media, this is a stressful and uncertain time for everyone and some are reacting differently than others, and this can affect you. Make sure you stay informed and keep in touch with those important to you, but don’t get stuck in a twitter thread conspiracy theory that will keep you up with anxiety all night.
Now let’s talk coloring books. Adult coloring books and pages are the new wave. And I have to say, I don’t recall coloring ever being so satisfying.
If you are a gamer, now is the time to download new games and dive in. See how many campaigns you can finish by the end of your quarantine. It is time to make your home as comfortable as possible, bring out your favorite fuzzy blankets and make yourself comfy. If you are now working from home during this quarantine, make sure you separate your work space from your hangout space.
This is the time to break out all the face masks and beauty products you have, go straight to relaxation mode while keeping yourself healthy. It’s especially important to be taking your vitamins, and maybe some extra. Keep that water bottle close and always full, hydration is key.
Living with roommates or friends during self quarantine is almost as good as it gets (if you like them). You may not be able to go outside, but human exposure is important. Bring out all those old board games and cards, and maybe some alcohol, and take a trip down memory lane. Download some interactive games on your gaming station that everyone can join in on. Cooking a homemade dinner for the house is also a fun way to keep things moving. Take it to the next level and have everyone get ready and dress up for the meal. It’s always fun to get ready, even if you can’t leave the house. We all love a good theme night, so make a list and pick one for the night, create dinners and games that tailor to your theme.
Rely on each other to keep yourselves moving and entertained, turn that extra space you have into a work out or yoga area. Download some apps to help guide you and go at your own pace. If you live with roommates, make sure to take that extra step to clean after yourself and remember that you all are stuck inside. I know it can be overwhelming, it’s different to stay in for a weekend binging netflix when you are making the choice to do so. So make sure your quarantine environment is one you feel safe and relaxed in. Arts and crafts can be fun for people of all ages, let’s get real. I’m 24 and we have a painting night set up for tonight in the house, clear out some space and channel your inner DIY crafts mom.
If you have pets, make sure you are stocked up on their necessities. This is a weird time for them as well, so try to keep to their routine as much as possible. Keep your dogs entertained with a motivating scavenger hunt. Literally just hide treats around the house, my roommate’s dog loves it. Your cat will love self-quarantine, they were made for this.
Just make sure you are staying inside, even if you are feeling okay. This is a time of uncertainty and the best way to act is to stay safe and aware. By keeping yourself healthy, you’re helping keep others healthy. Check in on your loved ones, play a board game, try something new, and stay safe!