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Can't travel? You are grieving!

Can’t travel? You are grieving!

Can’t travel? Here is the thing. First, the whole world couldn’t travel thanks to Covid-19. Then, some borders started opening up to some people, with some nationalities, living in some countries. Still, many restrictions, getting in the way of travel but also such a refreshing change and welcomed feeling for so many around the world: a sense of return to what we once knew the world of travel to be before the pandemic. 

However, besides passport rules, vaccinations and quarantine guidelines, there is still life. So, people who are able to travel, have to generally meet the following criteria: 1. Don’t have small children or if they do have small children have the patience of a saint; 2. Can afford travel and are reasonably financially secure; 3. Have flexible jobs e.g., can work online or have the privilege to ask for time off; 4. Are physically able to travel (able-bodied, not in cancer treatment, not on bedrest etc.); 5. Are generally not afraid or anxious about covid-19. 

Now, if you don’t meet the above criteria, it means you most likely haven’t travelled since 2020. Ouch! And, if prior to 2020, you enjoyed travelling, and had a glimpse of the joy, freedom, sense of peace, calm and also adventure and awe that comes with travel, then you, my friend, are having one of the worst experiences of withdrawal in your life. It’s a real grief and loss that cannot be undermined. 

Of course, it will make you sad, and it will be like a wave that hits you, especially when you see other people moving on and travelling. But you are strong. You can move through that pain. The pain won’t last forever. Nothing does. Summer and holidays will come and go, and so will the Instagram posts. Just take a social media detox if you have to. Don’t flood yourself with pictures of people on holiday if you can’t travel. Be kind to yourself. Please. This is not the time to test your ability to withstand envy. 

If you think that this is a silly reason to feel depressed, you are mistaken. This is hard! 

Whatever you do, please don’t tell yourself or those you love to “get over it!”

We have to allow ourselves time to grieve the loss of the world as we knew it and come to terms with it, slowly. We have to begin to somehow integrate and make meaning of our experiences of travel. What meaning those travel experiences hold and how we can cherish them, reminisce about them, and keep their memories alive by talking about our experiences. 

You still have the gift of imagination! We all do. You have to allow yourself to imagine what it will be like to travel again. Where you would go? Who you would go with? What you would do? How long you would travel for? Imagine! 

Today, maybe John Lennon would write something like  “imagine there’s no COVID, it isn’t hard to do, nothing to kill or die from, and no pandemic too, imagine all the people living life in peace…” No, he wouldn’t! I’m overindulging. Even though we are grieving, we have to honor and remember what we used to have. And we have to continue to imagine how it would be like to travel again- hopefully, sooner rather than later.

If you are still unable to travel but are looking for a break from the everyday norm read our blog post on “How to reset yourself

Dr. Ava Ghasemi (Holdich) is a licensed Psychologist with 11 years experience in the U.S., Canada and the Middle East. She has a practice of individual and couples therapy at the MapleTree Center in Dubai.

This article features the advice of a licensed expert, but it is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment from a trained professional. In an emergency, please seek help from your local medical or law enforcement services.

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