I look forward to summer every year because I love the longer days, warmer weather, and of course, going on vacation. I often begin planning for my summer vacation in January and scope out everything from restaurants to hotels to attractions months before the warm weather hits.
So when the COVID-19 pandemic began, I worried that I wouldn’t have a typical summer vacation. As restaurants closed and travel restrictions cropped up, it became evident that this summer wouldn’t be normal. And just like that, I couldn’t go on that perfect summer vacation.
But even though I couldn’t do as many fun things or travel to exotic places this summer, the summer days flew by. Thanks to COVID-19, I took a different approach this year and made this summer unforgettable. Here are four ways that I made the most of a vacationless summer:
1. Became a remote ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.
Early in the summer, a school that connects North American teachers with overseas students hired me to teach English. Even though several weeks required me to work for six days straight, teaching ESL was a rewarding way to help students on the other side of the world. Even though I couldn’t go on vacation this summer, in a way, I traveled overseas daily!
2. Hiked at local state parks.
My cousin and I love to hike, so with the help of the AllTrails app, we visited some scenic hiking trails located right in our backyard. We designated Sundays as our hiking day, and we stuck to that plan every week. Exploring new trails made us feel like we were going on weekly vacations!
3. Finished unfinished projects.
Over the years, I’ve started many different projects over the years, including an Etsy store. I had started an Etsy store two years ago and added products here and there, but with the extra time this summer, it was perfect for getting my store really up and going! I also took an online watercolor course and started some paintings. I had no time to really finish them in the past, but now I did! I felt like this summer was the perfect time to finish everything I wanted to do!
4. Experimented with new recipes.
Cooking is a fun pastime, but I’m often too busy to make extravagant meals. This summer, I dove into some sophisticated recipes and expanded my culinary expertise! Some of my favorite dishes that I have added to my recipe book include Szechaun Beef Fried Rice, Zucchini Lasagna Roll-Ups, Bacon and Spinach Stuffed Chicken, Italian Egg Bake, and Savory Chicken with Peppers.
5. Perfected my photography skills.
I love photography and always want to improve my skills, so every week, I attended photography webinars. Thanks to COVID-19, I had the time and energy to dedicate myself to my passion.
Not taking a vacation this summer felt strange and a bit depressing, but I still made time for plenty of adventures. I learned so much about my interests and myself this summer, but I still hope that in 2021. I can start planning another vacation. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder, so my vacation next summer will be extra special.
How did you spend your summer? Did you vacation or stay at home? Let us know in the comments!