After two decades of holding my horses, I grew into a working adult with reasonable savings to fulfill my grand plan. Money, however, has suddenly become a less concerning factor for travelling since early 2020 with the acceleration of COVID-19, but health does!
The pandemic causes many countries to enforce lockdown for the sake of safety. In conjunction with this, Malaysia has gone through the circle of MCO, CMCO, and RMCO at times based on pandemic situations. Just on 11th January 2021 itself, the Malaysian government implemented MCO 2.0 on six states (Penang, Selangor, Wilayah Persekutuan, Melaka, Johor, and Sabah), CMCO on five states (Pahang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu, Kelantan), and RMCO on Perlis and Sarawak, all for two weeks. More worrying, there’s no assurance if the orders would be lifted or extended after the period.
The rules, especially for those states with the MCO, involve SOPs such as 10km radius travel restriction without exceeding two household members in a car, no dining in the F&B outlets, the prohibition of social activities, the limitation of sports and recreation among members of the same household (with 2 meters distance applied), and more.
If you have watched American Horror Story, you may know that people who passed on their life are stuck in déjà vu forever. Those unsettling and disheartening emotions might be something we’re experiencing now with the repetitive of the existing curtailment, thanks to COVID-19 (sarcasm intended).
While protecting our physical health, let’s not forget about safeguarding our mental health as well. The early implementation of the SOPs wasn’t discomforting that much as many of us enjoyed picking up new hobbies, indulging ourselves in movie-binges, reading and learning things that we always wanted to explore but never had time before, and spending quality time on video calls. Certainly, when the routine starts to wear you off, it’s definitely a time for you to find other distractions.
Despite the restrictions, travelling is, in fact, still a thing we could do at the moment, as long as you’re creative about it. Thus, without further ado, I hereby bestow upon you the six ways to be a tourist right in your neighbourhood during this more intense pandemic season.
Leisure time in the recreation park
One exciting activity that we’ve been taking for granted is to fill our leisure time in the park. Whether it’s sports such as cycling and jogging or reading books in a quieter area, either of them would be a great way to kill your time. While joining group activities such as playing captain ball or joining Zumba are temporarily tabooed in the public area, it’s also never a bad idea to do your own meditation on the sun-splashed grass and bond with nature.
Other than that, making your own sandwiches and juices for a small picnic could be another pleasant thing to do in the park. All these recreational activities are some great proposals to ease your MCO days, but make sure to check the weather forecast before carrying out your plan.
Play folklore music in your room
“In your room”? For real? Yes, you didn’t see it wrong!
This is a way to stretch your creative capacity to its maximum extent. Most people might not find it realistic, but it’s definitely an effective weapon against boredom, if you know how to play it well.
My advice on this is to put on any cultural music of your preference. Ranging from European medieval lullabies, ancient Chinese orchestra soundtracks, Malay country songs, Arabic traditional numbers, old church hymns, to modern pop playlist such as Taylor Swift’s latest album “Folklore”, these are the golden pieces that would escalate the cultural sense without even getting you to be physically in places associated with the genres above.
In addition to that, you may play the inaudible travel discovery video of places you intend to visit simultaneously. Try to watch the screen from your point of view while listening to the music through the audio streaming tool. This would make your whole imagination journey to be realistic as if you have really been to those places in person. There’s no restriction when doing this, so feel free to expand your imagination as wild as it goes.
Woods exploration and hiking!
While many adrenaline junkies cultivate the weekly habit of hiking or exploring the woods, it’s not a fading fact that people join such activities while travelling to a new place as well. With that being a norm, it would be a brilliant thought to search up for a place near your area and start exploring. Whether it’s hiking on a winding road or camping in a random forest, this wouldn’t only give you a new perspective of travelling, but it also helps you to understand your place even more.
Photo journaling perhaps?
Have you ever practiced the tradition of writing diaries or journal entries to record your life experiences? If you haven’t done any of them yet, it’s time to pick up one; if it’s a daily check for you, that’s awesome, perhaps you should consider expanding it into photo journaling instead.
Courtney Ackerman, the author from Positive Psychology suggested that doing visual journaling has higher effectiveness in mood-boosting, increasing our sense of well-being, reducing intrusion and avoidance symptoms post-trauma, eliminating the symptoms of depression, and refining our working memory. Also, most of the tourists, especially those photography enthusiasts like travelling and doing photo journals for future flashbacks.
Regardless it’s a village or a city you live in, there are always scenic and picturesque places that could be your photography materials. With the given advantages, it could be a healthy activity to nurture even during the pandemic when travelling restrictions are adopted everywhere.
Tour for historical or iconic landmarks
As mentioned above, there are many attractions that are worth discovering within the place we live, that includes some historical or famous buildings. We might be passing by them almost all the time and get a quick glance, but how much do you know about them?
For instance, I live in one of the small towns in Penang. There’s a notable stadium that accommodates big fairs, sports events, and celebrity concerts located 10 minutes away from my house. I never really enjoy its view as it’s something that I get to see almost everyday, but my friends from other states or overseas would always come to my hometown and urge me to take them there. In times like the current pandemic season, it may be a good opportunity to give these used-to-be mundane places near your house a chance for a tour.
Stay at the nearby hotel and pretend like a social media celebrity
Tired of scrolling through social media and having to see all the online influencers with their staycation photos in hotels? Here’s the good truth for you. Everyone deserves the right to enjoy themselves in the way they desire without the fear of getting judged by others as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. With that, you don’t have to be a well-known person for fun. Try getting yourself a room, wearing any attire you like, and snapping an aesthetic image of yours to be posted online.
Furthermore, waking up early for breakfast and being served by the hotel staff is another factor that adds value to your mood as well. Not only do you get to relish yourself away from home, but you are also supporting the hospitality business in this difficult time.
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By adjusting your strategy in taking pleasure, your strolling routine within your neighbourhood could become a fascinating adventure that you never had before. Still kicking your heels? Begin your escapade planning now. You will be amazed how a little bit of action shifting can bring a satisfying impact to your life.