My two favorite activities are traveling and playing poker. However, today I find myself unable to do (or even reliably plan for) either one. I feel fortunate that all of this craziness started pretty much the day that Paul and I were returning from our most recent poker trip to Tampa. I remember sitting in the Tampa airport on March 1st waiting for our flight when Paul turned to me and said “My mom says there are two cases in Tampa”. And that was the last time we have been farther than 30 minutes from our house. Our visit to Derby Lane the day before was the last time that either of us played live poker. Almost five months later it is pretty safe to say that I am an extremely frustrated traveler.
I know I’m not alone. While I figured out how to handle poker withdrawal (mostly) a couple of months ago, I am just now managing to figure out how to address my wanderlust. Below are some of the remedies that Paul and I have come up with to keep travel alive in our hearts. If you too are a frustrated traveler, you might find them helpful.
Take a Mini-Trip
We are currently planning to take a one or two-night jaunt. As we live in New England, we are in a cluster of very low-risk states. Using Hotels.com, AirBnB, and other resources, we’re identifying options within a couple of hours drive. We’re avoiding beaches, population centers, and other high draw areas to lower our risk. But we REALLY need to get out of the house that we have been hunkered down in for 139 days (who’s counting?). We are thinking somewhere in the mountains near good restaurants that have outdoor service, perhaps? And definitely some nice places to hike. Normally, we would be centering an overnight around a nearby poker room (like Portsmouth, NH). But the frustrated traveler takes what she can get these days.Eventually the world will open back up to us and we will be traveling once again. In the meantime, we'll continue trip planning, mini-vacations, and virtual visits to keep us sane.Click To Tweet
Plan Your Next Vacation
Perhaps not down to the last detail, but you can at least start the process of planning a future vacation. Paul and I are planning a cross country trip next year to spend the fall in California. This will not be the year-long Poker Pilgrimage that we are targeting for 2022, but rather a shakedown cruise of sorts. Our two youngest head off to college next year, so we’re planning to spend the fall touring and playing poker on the West Coast. We’ll leave once the kids are safely tucked into their dorm rooms and return by Thanksgiving. More details coming soon.
We sat down this week with our Map of US Poker Rooms, and Google (to determine driving distances from place to place) and planned out our route across the country stop by stop, and room by room. We also identified a couple of places that we would like to visit on the way. I am, by the way, obsessed with The House on the Rock, which I learned about watching the TV show “American Gods.” I have therefore decreed that we are diving up into Wisconsin for a couple of days, despite the fact that Paul is now convinced that I am demented. We were also able to identify the general areas where we want to spend more time in California, as well as a rough route home.
It is early yet, so we are not yet identifying hotels, AirBnBs, or other details for this trip. But as long as the world (and poker rooms) are open again next fall, we have a place to start. We will continue planning this trip over the coming months, identifying attractions, potential places to stay, and tournament schedules. We also need to problem solve in a number of areas. Will we give up our rental before we go? What does one take on a 3-month journey in a Mazda3 (read very small car)? And how will we keep up our work hours over the time we will be gone? We will work to flesh out our plan over the coming months.
Make a Virtual Visit
Frustrated travelers can also take virtual trips to attractions all over the world. Art museums, tourist attractions, and even nature walks have been advertising the ability to visit online. You can visit zoos through publicly available webcams. You can even visit foreign countries from your couch. If you are dying to see Copenhagen or Paris but Europe won’t accept your American passport, you can at least see the sights. Virtual tours can provide a more vibrant sense of a location than most guidebooks. It’s also a great way to put firm images in your head of places that aren’t your living room.
Now, obviously, virtual visits aren’t going to replace the real thing. But at least you can learn more about other places. Maybe you will find some new cities for your bucket list to visit when the world opens up again.
- 5 Ways to Beat Poker Withdrawal
- My Poker Bucket List
- 6 Reasons to Visit Las Vegas Even If You Don’t Gamble
Remember That You Won’t Be a Frustrated Traveler Forever
The last key to surviving this time trapped in our houses is to remember that it will end. It’s easy to descend into feeling that we’ll never be able to leave our houses again. Paul and I often travel to Montreal in the winter to enjoy the city and play at The Playground and Casino de Montreal. As of now, the Canadian border is closed to United States citizens. I’m already wondering whether we’re going to have to forgo that trip this year. Even if we do, 2021 is just another year away. Eventually, the world will open back up to us and we will be traveling once again. In the meantime, we’ll continue trip planning, mini-vacations, and virtual visits to keep us sane.
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