Be the Helper: Doing Some Good in These Crazy Times

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’

Mister Rogers

If you’re searching for hope, look for the helpers. If you want to inspire and instill change, be the helper. Sometimes I have insightful thoughts like these. With people hoarding hand sanitizer and toilet paper and hearing about the virus and its horrors non-stop everywhere we turn, it can be hard to have hope.

As I write this, I’m currently self-quarantining to do my part in stopping the spread of Covid-19. My introverted side is cheering and my extroverted side is crying, so it’s an odd experience, but I’m making the most of it.

Regardless of where you’re reading this, there are plenty of things you can do. Wait… I thought this was a travel blog? Don’t worry. I’m getting to that. While your travel plans are and should be cancelled for the foreseeable future that doesn’t mean you have to lose sight of the things that make you happy. For me, travel is a huge part of what makes me happy.

Here are some of my ideas and a few I’ve seen going around that can inspire hope, keep you sane, and make these crazy times a little less insane and whole lot more happy. Some of them will directly help you cure the travel blues and others will help you cure your cabin fever. I hope at least one of them helps you!

All-Around Feel-Good Things to Make Your Day/Quarantine/Life Better

  1. Meal Prep — It sounds boring, I know. Why not make your favorite recipe but on a bigger scale. Freeze a few portions and drop them off at your neighbor’s house to spread the joy of a home-cooked meal.
  2. Date Night — No one ever said you had to leave the house to get creative. Put on something other than your pajamas, cook together, play a game, or just enjoy snuggling by the TV with candles lit. You do you. But go all out.
  3. Get Together Virtually — People used to talk to each other before technology took over. Why not use that technology to have a game night with friends or Skype/FaceTime with family/friends you haven’t caught up with in a while?
  4. Offer to Teach — Do you know someone who is slowly dying from watching their kids all day? While we know parents love their children no matter what, they need a break too. Offer to virtually read their kids a book or teach them a lesson since schools are cancelled.
  5. Offer Support — Call a friend who suffers from anxiety and let them know you care. It will go a long way.
  6. Eat Locally — If you have to go out, shop at local grocery stores. Lots of restaurants are also offering delivery or take out options. Small businesses need support the most during these times. Treat yourself to a night in with your favorite restaurant’s take out options.
  7. Shop Locally — Have a favorite local store? Buy something online to keep them afloat! Everyone is worrying during these tough times. If you can, make a donation to a local charity or buy a present (even if you save it for Christmas) to help make the impact less awful.
  8. Be Kind to Yourself — It’s easy to lash out and feel ashamed and unworthy if you’re out of work or even working less hours. Go easy on yourself and remind your brain how much worth you have to offer the world.
  9. Exercise! — My other favorite. You don’t even have to have equipment. Walk around your yard, participate in a virtual class, put on your favorite fitness YouTube channel, do body weight exercises, the list is endless. You will benefit from the endorphins and the self confidence.
  10. Deep Clean Everything — As a kid, this would sound like a nightmare to me. As an adult, it’s a necessary sacrifice of my time and an excuse to play loud music and dance clean. You can also enjoy this and a sparkling clean home that normally only happens when you have people over.

Travel-Related Things to Help You Look Past the Negatives

  1. Try New Recipes — Where were you planning on going before everything got cancelled? What was that destination’s signature dish? Cook it! Since you can’t bring your stomach to the forge in culinary delights, bring them to your kitchen. Not feeling wild? Go order a new spice and figure out how to use it.
  2. Learn the Language — Why not become even better at your destination’s language? Just think, with even 10 minutes of practice a day in between looking at memes you could get that much closer to being an expert.
  3. Research — Can you honestly say you’ve planned the ultimate vacation? Choose a destination, plan all of the fun parts like what to do, little known places to visit, restaurants you want to try, and more. Once it’s time to book your trip, you’ll be so prepared that you will barely have to lift a finger.
  4. Virtual Reality Trip — If you’ve already got the gear, why not go on a virtual trip somewhere. You can see what you like and don’t like without having to spend money at all.
  5. Books! — My favorite. Sink your teeth into a good travel book to keep those wanderlust urges under control. If you can’t get the real thing, most public libraries have free e-books and audiobooks you can check out.
  6. Organize Those Trinkets — Who else has so many travel items that they never did anything with? Now’s the time, friends. Put your pictures on display! Make your postcards into a book!
  7. Go to a Virtual Event — Broadway has online shows right now. Museums are giving free virtual tours. Choose one that interests you and go have some virtual exploratory fun!
  8. Hone Your Skills — What’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to improve for your travels? Photography was one of mine. Challenge yourself by using manual mode or finding fun ways to photograph ordinary things. Take self portraits. The more you do it, the better you’ll become.
  9. Update or Create a Bucket List — Give yourself some goals to hit and trips to look forward to. Everyone needs something great in their futures, so treat yourself to something that will truly mean a lot to you.
  10. Take a Class — Want to learn more about another culture? Maybe you want to prepare a foreign dish. There are tons of out of work artists, chefs, photographers, and anthropologists to name a few that would love to share their knowledge and are offering courses. Help them through these tough times by showing them some support while improving your skills!

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