A list of 17 ideas of how to switch into travel mode while staying at home

Covid-19 is a real bummer for job searchers. Companies are freezing their hiring processes because they are fighting to survive. With so many people working from their home office, it’s harder than ever to reach out and get a reply. The few job ads you find that are at least somewhat relevant for you are boring or fake – usually both. There’s not much you can do now except sit this out.

Do you believe any of what you’ve just read, and does it make you feel depressed or anxious? If so, you might be stuck in your lockdown-self. “Lockdown-self” is a term I just made up. I use it to describe a mindset that is subdued, passive, and depressed. We don’t actually need an external lockdown to experience an internal one. But I believe that an external one, like the ones we have been experiencing this year, can increase the likelihood for an internal lockdown. And while it’s not easy to simply shift out of this “lockdown-self”, it is certainly possible – unlike a state order which we have to follow if we want to behave with ethical and legal integrity.

I don’t think I need to explain why “lockdown-self” will give you a hard time for your job search experience and other career-related endeavours. But perhaps you’ll wonder what an alternative might be.

Let me introduce you to: travel-self.

The idea for it came in one of my coaching sessions a few weeks ago. My client admitted that after the struggles and frustrations of her previous employment, she did not actually feel ready to face the challenges of finding a new job. Almost bashfully, she said that she had a longing to take time off and to travel. I took her up on that and asked her – as I ask you now: “What is it that you love about traveling?”

Then she told me about all those wonderful things she associates with traveling:

  • I am open towards new things.
  • I have this sense of adventure.
  • I get to know another version of myself.

And I thought to myself: “These are exactly the kinds of thoughts that people have told me about who have successfully created new careers for themselves – and that I have experienced myself to be helpful during my search of a new professional identity.”

So switching into travel mode will have a positive impact on your job search and other career-related endeavours.

Why? Because, when we travel we’re open to new experiences, we expect unpredictable things to happen each day, thus becoming more resistant to interpreting obstacles as failure – because there is no such thing as failure when we’re in travel and adventure mode.  

When we travel, there are new friendships to form, hidden views to discover, new words in another language to learn, unknown foods to taste – and another self to discover: a self that is more relaxed, more creative and more curious than our “lockdown-self”.

Will you believe me when I say that all of this will help you with your job search?

If you do, you hopefully won’t hesitate to try out one or several of the ideas below of how you can switch into travel mode whilst staying at home. If you don’t believe me, try one out anyway, and see what it can do for you:

  1. Take a walk when the sun is shining. Close your eyes, face the sun and imagine where else on this planet this same sun is shining.
  2. Listen to a radio station on a faraway island or in a city where you’ve spent happy traveling time: http://radio.garden/search
  3. If you could go anywhere, where would that be? What kind of food would you eat there? Go and get the ingredients that you need for a typical dish of the place of your choice.
  4. Expand point 3 by inviting some friends to join you for dinner via a video conferencing tool. Send out the recipe beforehand and each cook the same meal for a soirée of whatever local cuisine you’re choosing.
  5. If you’re on public transport, get off at a station you’ve never gotten off of before and explore what it looks like above ground. (This was my client’s idea. She did it and loved it.)
  6. Take your mattress to an unusual place in your apartment and sleep there.
  7. Take point 6 even further and spend the night in a sleeping bag on your balcony (if you have one and it’s big enough). Alternatively, put up your tent, turn off the heating, open all the windows and spend the night in your tent.
  8. Attend a live-streamed dance session.
  9. Take photos whenever you leave the house and share them with your friends and family.

Travel diary entry: 9 November, Berlin, Hermannstraße. People here are strange. Today, I saw someone taking her cat out for a walk. I am told that this is quite normal for Neukölln. [I really did see this woman walking her cat on Hermannstraße on the 9th of November.]

10. Find a (virtual) travel buddy with whom to share your travel experiences of the day.

11. Find a native speaker of the country you’d want to travel to and have an online conversation with them.

12. Go to a supermarket and only buy products you’ve never bought before.

13. Start learning a new language.

14. Research your next physical trip and make plans.

15. Find a picture that symbolises travel and adventure for you. Put it somewhere you can see it every day.

16. Write postcards to your family and friends.

17. Start a travel diary.

Observe if and how this changes your mood and affects your thoughts. Live each day as fully as you do when you travel. Your new travel energy is likely to spill over on to other aspects of your life. I invite you to enjoy the journey.

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