How Quarantine Made Me Want To Discover My Own Country


This post was contributed by Kassandra Giroux.

I was supposed to be teaching English in a school in Brazil this summer. I was supposed to live in a house by the beach and learn how to speak Portuguese. I was supposed to explore the Amazon Rainforest and sleep under the stars.  For very obvious reasons, my volunteering trip is not happening anymore.

For a little while, I was obsessed with knowing when I would be able to feel that amazing way I do when I hop on a plane again. I was convinced that I needed to have a one-way ticket booked to feel like a fulfilled human being. I kept glancing at my brand new traveling backpack, wishing on the day I would get to pack it again. I read through my old travel books and journals, hoping for a miracle. Mostly a vaccine. After weeks of dreaming about beaches and picnicking on top of mountains in Europe, I finally came back to my senses: the day I’ll be hopping on a plane again is far.

And it is okay. Being stuck in my hometown made me rethink the way I see traveling.

I always claim that I love traveling, that I want to continuously try new things, discover new cultures, and go on adventures. I thought it meant seeing as many countries as possible and going as far as I could. But maybe I was wrong.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of traveling is: “going to different places instead of staying in one place”.

To me, this means that traveling can be almost anything.

You are traveling when you visit your friend’s college town for the weekend. You are traveling on your Sunday morning walk. You are traveling on your way to work. You are traveling when you walk by the river near your house, even though you have seen it a million times.

For a while, I won’t get to use my passport, but that does not mean I won’t get to travel.

We are so focused on “seeing the world” we sometimes forget that there is so much to admire around us. Maybe we should start to appreciate eating our cream-cheese bagel at our local coffee shop the same way we do in a terrasse in Paris or Berlin. Maybe we should camp in our backyard more. Maybe we should start conversations with our neighbors the same way we do so easily with strangers we meet in hostels. Maybe we should not wait to move to Germany to practice our  language skills. Maybe making some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a good music playlist, and driving around town with our best friends could be the best adventure of all. Maybe exploring a nearby town and renting a cute Airbnb for the weekend can be as fun a trip to Bali. Maybe we should take the time to look at sunsets and stare at the stars the way we do when we are in a foreign country.

Of course, I’ll be more than happy the day we will all get to travel internationally again, but, in the meantime, I think we should try to make the most of what we have.

For a while, I won’t get to use my passport, but that does not mean I won’t get to travel.

Meet Kassandra: My name is Kassandra and I am currently a student at the University of Ottawa to become a Teacher in English as a second language. I live by the expression: “Not taking the risk is risky too, so you may as well.✨” Keep up with me on IG. 

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