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Goal Setting Through Vicarious Travel and Exercise

By Mary Lou Harris January 26, 2021 Travel

I feel we are on the cusp of gaining some freedom to travel again. Until that becomes a sure thing, I’d like to share with you some virtual activities that can benefit our wellbeing and substitute for our love of travel.

I have continually searched for new ways to satisfy my desire for real-time travel. Each book I read gets company from my atlas, taking a close look at where characters live and act and where events take place.

Most recently, I virtually traced the route of a young Maria Antonio as she made her transition to become Marie Antoinette. It was an interesting journey as she left her home in Vienna, Austria, to wed and live at the Chateau de Versailles outside of Paris.

To satisfy both my love of fitness and my love of travel, I recently took on another route that I have many times considered walking. I’ve put this off for a long time, but now I am virtually walking the Camino de Santiago.

In reaching my goal to complete this route, I will be doing it virtually with many other participants around the world. This was the route I chose, but there are many other interesting routes to choose from.

To do this, I have signed up with one of the many organizations that have developed on-line activities to provide vicarious travel challenges.

There are many organizations offering similar virtual activities to keep us busy until we are eligible for the vaccine and can once again travel.

Choose Your Organization

The organization I joined is the Conqueror Events. For the safety of my health, I have continued to walk and run solo-time in my realtime life, but online communities offer many benefits.

Here’s what I like about Conqueror:

  • Through social media you can see posts from people all over the world who are also participating in the event. In addition to the health benefits, most have their personal reasons for participating.
  • Many of us who don’t see ourselves as athletes or goal seekers have a place here. Steps recorded on your Fitbit or similar device can be used toward your goal. Others use indoor exercise equipment to log distance and activity.
  • Other choices for participation include covering the route distance by walking, running, swimming, or cycling.
  • You choose the length of time (weeks, months) you expect to need to get to your destination.
  • If you aren’t comfortable with collecting mileage over any of the online mileage platforms, you can submit your miles manually.
  • You can choose a distance anywhere from 21 miles (34 km) to 2,280 miles (3,669 km).
  • There is a choice of routes. While you do your miles or kilometers, you can follow your progress on the map and occasionally receive postcards with historic and cultural information about the area where you
    are virtually traveling, like the one below.

As I said earlier, there are many choices out there for doing similar activities. Most of them offer two goals for us:

  • An incentive to join others virtually in reaching healthy goals, and
  • The opportunity to raise funds through registration or additional participant fundraising for charitable or environmental causes. In my case, my registration fee will contribute to the planting of trees along my route.

How About a Do-It-Yourself Activity?

While joining with the large online platforms is a fine way to go, it’s also possible to do something similar on your own. Do you have friends or know people through your personal organizations who might be interested in joining in a challenge? This could be simply establishing your activity and goals.

It may get a bit more involved, but certainly possible to also act as a fundraiser for a cause you or your organization would want to support.

So, until we are able to move about with less fear, have received our vaccines, and national borders are once again open to travel, let’s get out there vicariously, get conditioned, and have fun doing it. We may even make some virtual friends with people around the world posting about their progress.

How are you scratching your travel itch while we are limited in where and how we can go? Have you looked into virtual organizations similar to the one I chose? If so, how is it going? Please share with the community!

Let's Have a Conversation!

The Author

Mary Lou Harris is a proponent of active living, community volunteerism and inquisitive travel. After a post age 60 retirement from a career in public service, she expanded those interests to include ultra-trail running, hiking and extended-stay travel. She can be contacted through her website https://stillarunner.com or on Twitter at @stillarunner.

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