On March 19, Marty Pollak and Monica Palenzuela journeyed from New York City to Patagonia, where they hiked the Perito Moreno Glacier, explored Torres del Paine and hung out with a herd of guanacos. Santiago and Buenos Aires were next.
Although stay-at-home mandates, travel restrictions and social distancing had become a new reality for billions of people all over the world, Pollak and Palenzuela’s five-month trip was very much alive – on Instagram.
Guided by their cancelled itinerary, the couple has been posting meticulously staged (and often Photoshopped) images and videos of themselves enjoying what would have been their adventure: say, gazing at a snow-capped peak, getting lost while hiking and taking a bus ride to Puerto Natales, Chile.
“You plan and God laughs,” said Palenzuela, 35, who is studying to be a winemaker. “But we’ve found joy in looking at what would have been. Seeing the itinerary day by day has helped us realise two things: One, this would have been an epic trip, and two, we can do it another year.”
With little choice but to stay grounded for the time being – and with plenty of time at home
– avid travellers like Pollak and Palenzuela have devised creative and meaningful ways to celebrate the vacations they have had to cancel because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We travel to escape – to unwind – but also to feel the thrill of doing something entirely new. So why not fake a vacation, if only to laugh and smile and feel something good for a minute? I’d plan a ‘fauxcation’ every day,” said Laura Dannen Redman, the digital content director at Afar, a travel media company.
As technology becomes an increasingly critical tool for everyone and everything, celebrations of “fauxcations” on social media are increasing. A video of a septuagenarian Australian couple – feet up, wearing robes, holding wineglasses and watching a YouTube video of the ocean on a flat-screen TV – went viral when their daughter tweeted: “Cruise cancelled? No problem.”
One post in Afar’s #TravelAtHomeChallenge, which started on Instagram in March, shows Dannen Redman wearing an all-white outfit with a red belt, being chased down a driveway by her 2-year-old daughter: a riff on running with the bulls in Spain.
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