It used to be that I travel almost every week. It used to be that I board a plane at least once every month. It used to be that my wife and I go backpacking for two months around the globe every summer. Now, we just stay at home. We really didn’t have a say on it. The pandemic happened. And oh, yes, a baby also arrived too!
So what does a housebound travel blogger do in times like these? Well, actually, a lot. I rediscovered a lot of my previous hobbies prior to living the jetsetting life. And then there’s being a daddy too!
During the start of the pandemic, I thought about lessening—or completely wiping off—my travel backlogs. A lofty goal, for any true blue travel blogger or micro-influencer out there. But I thought better of it, I mean, no one’s really gonna read these travelogues during the pandemic. It’s like rubbing salt to a bleeding wound. So, I did the next best thing, I went back to my articles and started adding internal links, much needed affiliates—so it’ll be ready once the pandemic goes away, and editing for grammar and content—a really cringe-worthy task, I tell you, lol.
But editing your own blog all day is a bore. So, I started looking around our house and noticed the heaps and heaps of travel memorabilia I’ve stashed away after all those years of traveling—beer cans, beer caps, vodka bottles (read more, it’s not all about alcohol, I promise), and, err, Starbucks city mugs. Being on the road more than half of the year, one would hardly have time to sort these things out. And having that half year back, I guess, made me try and make sense of what I already have so I wouldn’t keep on buying stuff-that-I thought-I don’t-have-but-turns-out-I-already-have.
With cans, caps, bottles, and mugs sorted, catalogued, and boxed—yes, I still don’t have the space to display them—I moved on to my pre-traveling collection; books, music cd’s from the seventies, eighties, and nineties, and toys.
Amongst piles of books, compact discs, and action figures, I found that there were a lot of stuff that holds no more magic for me now like it did back then. Add the duplicates I’ve unearthed from my travel collections, I thought about ways to dispose of them. Give them away? Throw them out? Box for the next ten years? Sell?
Sell it is. I gathered everything up, took pictures, and posted them online. I found out that most of the stuff I kept in boxes for the last twenty years has gone up in value, especially the toys. Surprise, surprise! No income coming in from the blog? Well, hello there income!
With extra money on hand and with malls, souks, medinas, night markets, souvenir stores, and pop-up shops off limits, I then turned to online shopping. I was astounded by the amount of things that can be bought online. Toys. Lots of them. Lots and lots of them.
With this, I rediscovered toys. I used to collect a lot of these during and after my college years, particularly Star Wars stuff. Now, I started recalibrating my Star Wars collection, buying only a single particular line—Star Wars Unleashed, really beautifully fashioned seven-inch wonders that are more sculptures than toys—and selling off all other else.
I also resurrected my music figures—literally dusting off my McFarlane Slash and NECA Kurt Cobain toys. I started hunting for missing rock icons from my collection—Freddie Mercury, AC/DC, Axl Rose.
A newfound fondness for Lego minifigures also cropped up by this time. And it was intermarried with my two previous collections, Star Wars and rock music figures. A massive Lego Star Wars figures started to build up underneath our bed—where I store them as of the moment, lol—and a small (harder to find) Lego music figures also started to sprout up in front of our TV, to the chagrined annoyance of the wife.
But all of these things are nothing but miniscule distractions compared to my life now as a father. The pandemic happened the same time as we’re raising our first-born son, Akira. We knew before then that our haphazardly-planned backpacking trips and quick weekend getaways are now a thing of the past. We knew that we’d be lucky if we’re able to fly out of the country before Akira was a year old. But then the pandemic happened. And now, the chance of us traveling, has fallen to absolute zero.
Life has totally taken a different turn. House chores would run from the time I wake up to prepare breakfast, to after lunch time—after the dishes are washed. Then it was Akira time, playing and taking care of a small person who recently discovered the joys of walking is an absolute full time thing. Squeezing in a bit of personal time in-between these is quite the challenge.
Still, we are happy and content. Despite the pandemic. Despite zero travel. Despite the massive effort of raising a child.
I have a wife that has the same wavelength as me. I have a very lively and inquisitive son. And in between these, I have my memorabilia and toys to boot too. For us, traveling can wait.