If you are feeling stuck at home and unable to move about, what is the best thing to do if you have that spirit of adventure? Should we try traveling abroad during a Pandemic or should we settle with Adventuring in our own backyard?
Flights are extremely cheap right now and therefore tempting, but many countries and even some US states have tough regulations and hurdles upon entering the country. If the country itself does not have regulations upon crossing the borders, then many of the cities themselves have their own sets of curfews and regulations that are implemented the week of, making it difficult to scout this ahead of time.
To show a first-person example of this, I recently flew to Medellin Colombia to stay 4 weeks over New Years and into 2021. Having bookmarked the website of the US embassy in Colombia on my browser, it seemed rather mild in terms of Covid 19 restrictions leading up to my travels. Upon arriving at the airport, customs was rather straightforward and I had no issues getting in to the country. Upon arriving in Medellin I heard that they had recently issued a stay at home order for the following weekend (Friday 8pm – Monday morning at 7am). This meant that all normal businesses and bars would be forced to close during this entire time – including for outside dining and the only option available for food or drink was delivery to your doorstep.
I quickly learned that this was more than just a 10 pm curfew every night, they called it a “toque de queda” and it was a pretty severe stay inside your home order. That Sunday I grew tired of being stuck at home and decided to go for a short couple blocks walk right outside my apartment. The local cops drove by and literally stopped in front of me, asking me to return to my house immediately. I was not even allowed to explore the streets. Of course I had a mask on but that didn’t matter to them whatsoever. This was much more extreme than the US Embassy web pages led on and I was disappointed that I was not warned of the severity of the Covid 19 restrictions down in Latin America.
Therefore my goal in writing this is to encourage travelers that NEED to get out of their house to take road trips to national parks in your vicinity. They are easier to get to and you can stay healthy and isolated in your car while traveling to your destination. You don't need to fly somewhere to adventure.
National parks are of course naturally ventilated and allow for easy breathing and easy social distancing. The amount of national parks in our beautiful country is pretty amazing because our past leaders have done a great job of protecting the land that they inhabit from development or overuse. Although Americans like to hate on our past and even present capitalist ideals and infrastructure, I believe we as Americans have done an amazing job with our park systems across the country, and we all deserve to see them for ourselves.
Instead of deciding to get out of the country with a long flight to Mexico or Costa Rica during this difficult time, think about asking a friend to take a 5-hour road trip with you to a national park or check out a beautiful hike in the US that you have never explored. You could even bike somewhere without having to get in the car.
We all have an itch for adventure, but sometimes adventures are much easier to find than we think. Sometimes the best adventure is right in your own backyard.