Today, a break from our series on mortgage qualifying . . .

Are you getting tired of lock-down? Are you, like me, getting itchy feet?

I browse through information and images of countries still on my bucket list.

I look over photos from road trips I’ve made through Canada and the United States—and long to return to those places.

I even reflect on the limited travel I did last summer, and hope for a return to even that compromised time.

I dream, and plan, of what I might do when this is all over—places I’ll go, things I’ll do, people I’ll meet.

Are we born to wander? That’s the question that headlines an article in the latest National Geographic magazine. (Yes, I’m devouring that, too.)

“It’s not natural for us to be sedentary. Travel is in our genes,” writes Eric Weiner. “For most of the time our species has existed, ‘we’ve lived as nomadic hunter-gatherers, moving about in small bands . . .’ (quoting Christopher Ryan.)”

Steven Pinker puts it this way, “Human beings have always been peripatetic, moving to where they can make the best lives. Roots are for trees; people have feet.” (Enlightenment Now, p 451)

“What if we can’t move, though (as in this pandemic)?” asks Weiner. “What’s a traveler to do.”

Grow despondent? Lapse into despair? After citing several stories of growing despondency, he concludes, “It’s not me; it’s the pandemic.”

But he does not despair.

“I think hope lies in the very nature of travel. Travel entails wishful thinking. It demands a leap of faith, and of imagination . . . hoping, wishing, for a taste of the ineffable. Travel is one of the few activities we engage in not knowing the outcome, and reveling in that uncertainty. Nothing is more forgettable than a trip that goes exactly as planned.”

“That’s why,” he goes on: “I’d argue that (travel) is an essential industry, an essential activity. It’s not essential the way that hospitals and grocery stores are essential. Travel is essential the way that books and hugs are essential. Food for the soul. Right now we’re between courses, savoring where we’ve been, anticipating where we’ll go. Maybe it’s Zanzibar and maybe it’s the campground down the road.”

Reading that was, itself, food for my soul. I can totally relate. And I’m feeling validated in my antsy-ness about this chicken coup world we’re in.

Will it ever be over? Certainly. And we’ll travel again. The travel industry has always recovered, and gotten stronger. And we’ll once again enjoy the nourishing that travel provides.

“Travel is not about the destination or the journey,” Weiner continues, “It’s about a ‘new way of looking at things’ ” (quoting Henry Miller).

In this “between courses” time, we should look ahead to how we will emerge when we re-engage the soul food of travel.

He advises: “Now is the time to embrace the fundamental values of sustainable tourism and let them guide your future journeys. Go off the beaten path. Linger longer in destinations. Travel in the off-season. Connect with communities and spend your money in ways that support locals. Consider purchasing carbon offsets. And remember that the whole point of getting out there is to embrace the differences that make the world so colorful.”

“So go ahead and plan your trip,” he says. “Our future-mindedness can be a source of joy if we know good things are coming, and travel is an especially good thing to have to look forward to,” (quoting Matthew Killingsworth).

I’m all in!

Yesterday, I was thumbing the pages of my large American map-book, reflecting on past experiences and imagining future ones. A quick check indicates a still open page on my laptop for Cartegena, Colombia, from a few days back.

Food for the soul!