You are probably sick of it, we all are. Still staying home, still not seeing many people. In order to keep things in perspective, let me take you back to March 2020…
"I did it!" we heard her yell as her face popped up on the screen. After several reiterations of the directions over the phone, Rita finally figured out how to log in to zoom - with camera and microphone! For someone that deemed herself, "tech challenged" it was no easy feat.
I loved witnessing the transformation - first fear, then frustration, any finally success! Rita felt a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Being able to participate on Zoom allowed her to stay in touch with friends during a time when being with others was impossible. But honestly, it was also a great feeling for me, to know that I had a small part in helping her achieve that goal.
Next came John. With a little help from his daughter, he showed up to the meeting with a huge smile and a background picture of Bermuda! Eventually it was everyone; one by one, my friends from Senior Source learned to login to a weekly zoom call to chat, share stories and just be there for one another.
Many great things came out of that experience. First and foremost was the ability to connect with others and feel a sense of community and belonging during such a difficult time. Likely, you too learned some new ways to connect online. Now that you have those skills, let's build on that and use the technology for some creative ways to keep us connected until we can be together again.
I am happy to share some of the fun ideas that have been helping me and my friends get through 2020 and beyond:
1. Scheduled Time Online
Having a scheduled date/time and knowing there are others waiting for you is important to keep you accountable (and dressed!) Whether you use zoom, facetime, google hangouts or any of the numerous apps available doesn't matter, and as long as you are staying connected with friends and family. Our chats are weekly but do whatever works for you. We have discussed so much including politics, movies, Netflix shows, sewing masks, swapping puzzles and even tips for growing an indoor garden!
2. Online Games
My original group met when I taught Mah Jongg at Senior Source of NJ. When we all finally got online, we shared websites to play Mah Jongg and - Viola! - a new online gaming group emerged! Four or five women met online and played Mah Jongg just like we had done in person!
I have played many other games on Zoom calls such as Bingo (we use a bingo generator website and I share my screen), Battleship if both parties have the physical game on hand, trivia, and I even participated in a scavenger hunt - running throughout the house to grab an item and get back to the screen first! These are just a few ideas we tried, if you have others, please tell me about it in the comments section below!
There are endless offerings for online workouts.
My friend Heather runs Walk Live Westchester where she guides people interested in walking to maintain or improve their health; if you are local, feel free to visit her website or Facebook group! If you are not in Westchester, check your local library or try SilverSneakers on Facebook.
Also, if you have a Fitbit or Apple watch or simply a phone that calculates your steps - there is probably a way for you to add friends and share the journey. It's always easier to stay motivated when sharing the experience with others.
4. Go for a Drive
If you are local to me you are probably in a suburb of NYC and you likely have a car to get around. Taking a scenic drive can really clear your head. We are so lucky to have incredibly beautiful landscapes at our fingertips. I have visited Harriman State Park, Bear Mountain, Liberty State Park, Dingmans Falls and taken some scenic trips through the city including a drive-by to see the tree in Rockefeller Plaza. If you've taken a drive, let me know where in the comments below!
5. Take a Virtual Vacation
So many museums, tourist boards, and destinations are offering free visits online. I hosted 4 weeks of virtual vacations with my group, visiting Greece, Italy, Hawaii and London - it was amazing! We shared stories, memories, and travel tips that took us away, even just for a little while. I am continuing to offer these virtual vacations, so if you want to learn more, let me know!
*I am scheduled to host another Virtual Vacation with the Ellenville Library on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 time tbd. If you would like more information so you can attend or if you are interested in hosting a virtual vacation for your own group, contact me!
6. Lastly, I leave you with this thought - Help Someone.
I promise, it feels just as good (if not better) to be the giver rather than the receiver.
And if you think you have nothing to give, think again.
Make a call, send a letter, whatever is available to you. I assure you the person on the receiving end will be grateful. I have benefitted from these readily available gestures so many time throughout the past year and it has given me so much pleasure to be the one to give it away as well.
Stay safe and well. I hope we can travel again soon and get back to experiencing new places and meeting people from different cultures. I will be here to help with all your travel needs when the time comes.
In March of 2020 I was busy rerouting clients and getting them home in order to beat the travel bans. Once clients were home, it was time to start to postpone upcoming trips. As the travel delays continued, more and more trips were cancelled and postponed until there were no trips left to work on.
It was weird having no trips to plan. I wasn't sure what to do with myself. I dove into education, learning about new destinations and strengthened relationships with suppliers. That lasted a while, but I still felt a bit lost and if I felt lost, I can only imagine how others who were alone felt.
My volunteer relationship with a senior community presented an opportunity to help connect with seniors. I started to call people from the senior center that I knew and help them access Zoom or Facetime. Slowly, one at a time, they were each able to gain access independently. Once a few people were online, I invited them to join a weekly chat session along with hosting a friendly game of bingo. Bringing everyone together gave me so much joy. We shared stories, showed each other our masks, discussed how we were getting food and were there for one another. We all felt a sense of belonging to a community and were thankful for a way to stay connected.
I loved seeing the seniors each week and, of course, I love to talk about travel so I decided to host a 'Virtual Vacation'. I took everyone on a journey. We looked at pictures, discussed food and culture and learned about history. Participants shared stories and spoke of vacations they took with their families and friends in the past. Before we knew it, we had visited London, Rome, Venice, Amalfi, Athens, Mykonos and more!
Although I wish I could be planning actual trips, I will settle for planning virtual trips until it is safe to travel.
In due time we will travel again, until then, let's continue to dream!
A Virtual Vacation is a way to experience a transformation from the mundane surroundings of your home to a far off land across the globe! Through video, photos and lectures, we immerse ourselves in new destinations and foreign cultures. It's easy to escape with great visuals and a little imagination! From historical ruins in Athens to a honey farm in Hawaii, the sky is the limit during a virtual vacation! (even beyond the sky - you can even find trips to Mars!)
I have taken groups on several journeys over the past few months. We looked at rich pictures, discussed culinary delights, and studied history. Participants shared stories and spoke of vacations they took with their families and friends in the past.
If you are interested in attending a Virtual Vacation by Sunlit Travel, please like Sunlit Travel on Facebook to register for future sessions!
I have an excellent reputation for matching clients with what they are looking for in a vacation! From planning to return and beyond, I find satisfaction in every happy client! I especially love working with baby boomers as I thoroughly enjoy the hand holding process that I take them through. I am a strong advocate for my clients when it comes to price, quality and service. Trust and building lasting relationships along with continuing education are all extremely important to my business.