I’ve had cabin fever and wanderlust for more than a year! We’re coming out of our third Covid19 lockdown in the UK, I’ve only been outside of my local area five times in the last year and I don’t know when I’ll be able to travel again.
Even though I am privileged enough to live in a nice place with easy access to outside space, the Covid19 restrictions have been hard to deal with. In the first lockdown, especially, I was really struggling with cabin fever. I felt trapped and my mood was affected.
One of the coping mechanisms I employed was to reminisce about travel experiences in exciting, far-flung places. In particular, I found myself dreaming of being in wide, open spaces, roaming vast landscapes and sailing on calm bodies of water – some of the places I’ve felt most free, I suppose.
It was more escapism than a cure for itchy feet (the figurative kind, not the literal kind, of course!) – but I found it so much easier to cope with the lack of freedom when my mind was in the deserts of Namibia or amongst the islands of the Dalmatian coast.
Here are some of the memories of open landscapes which helped me during lockdown.
1. Aegean sea, Greece
I’ve definitely spent some time thinking about early morning sailing on the Aegean Sea, the silky water blending into the sky.
I’m not a morning person (at all!), but being on the sea in the early hours is magical – the light is so soft and the water its most beautiful.
All of the Cyclades Islands were gorgeous, but this particularly dreamy spot was near Poliegos. It was heavenly.
2. Black sand beaches of Iceland
I don’t know what it is about Iceland’s black sand beaches which move me so much… Something about the absolute black of the sand contrasted against the white surf… Maybe also knowing they originated in a volcano… Certainly, the craggy cliffs and cold winds add some drama.
Whatever it is, they make me feel awed. And lost in time.
My first black sand beach in Iceland was at Solheimasandur. I did the long walk across the gravel plain to the famous plane wreck, which was really cool. But, knowing we were close to the sea, I couldn’t resist walking a bit further to see it.
There are way more famous and photogenic beaches in Iceland, but the experience of being on this one – raw, completely deserted and seemingly endless – was special. It was just me and the elements.
3. Clifton beach, Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town proves that even cities can have spaces that feel vast and freeing. When I visited, my friend did an amazing job finding a swanky Airbnb overlooking Clifton beach (one of those high up in the background) and surprised my husband and me with it on the first night – we arrived just in time to toast the sunset with a glass of wine.
On the last morning, we took a farewell walk on the beach. The Atlantic was roaring, the sea mist hanging in the air. It felt like we stepped out of real life for a moment.
4. Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
Sailing in Croatia was a revelation. I’ve always loved being on or near water, but living on a boat on the Adriatic for a week and having views like these every day was pure bliss. I couldn’t take my eyes off the water, especially in the serene mornings – it was so mesmerising and calming.
Our fellow passengers competed for space on the sun deck, but my husband and I preferred the front of the boat, eyes on the charismatic sea. It seemed so full of possibilities.
5. Driving in Namibia
The open road in Namibia is such an adventure. The gravel roads are hard-going, but the scenery is endless and endlessly captivating. I lost myself in the scale and brusque beauty of that landscape. Our progress was hampered by me wanting to stop for photos every five minutes.
The occasional plume of dust from another car was a reminder that civilisation did still exist and we weren’t actually alone in the barren wilderness.
I think our favourite road was the C34 north from Swakopmund up the Skeleton Coast in the Namib Desert – it’s a smooth straight salt road into what feels like a desolate, thrilling wasteland.
6. Bahia de Casilda, Cuba
Sea like silver… My trip to Cuba was low budget. Pretty much the only time we spent much money was on a boat trip across the bay from Trinidad de Cuba to Cayo Blanco. It was such a treat after so many bus journeys and living out of a backpack.
The water was smooth and knowing, like mercury. In the morning light, we could barely see the horizon. It felt almost like flying.
What about you?
So, as you can see, I’ve be been trying to keep my wanderlust in check by reminiscing about these wide, open places. Does that work for you, too? Where in the world have you been dreaming of during lockdown? Have you discovered any other cabin fever remedies?