It is usually around this time of the year that I start to get a little blue. It is mostly due to the cold weather that seems to never end, and the persistent gray skies. Like many people, come January and February I probably could benefit from some light therapy.
One idea that is free, but has helped me, is visualization. I take a photograph like the one here, and pretend that I am there. Using photos of places that I have been to, like this photo taken at a La Pesquera in Marbella, Spain seems to help me with the process.
My technique is to close my eyes, take a couple of deep breaths and then quietly walk into the photo. Think The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis or maybe The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. For me, I try to visibly relax my posture and with my closed eyes begin by hearing the sounds inside the photo.
Can you hear the surf? There goes a little boy riding his bike along the boardwalk. I can hear the sound of coffee cups in their saucers being set on the café tables. A big family just arrived and are noisily pulling out their chairs. The conversation is loud as their voices excitedly talk over each other, while looking hungrily at the menu. Off in the distance, I hear a jet ski fly across the waves. A well-dressed older lady slowly walks by, stopping suddenly to pet and kiss her little dog affectionately.
Next my nose starts to work, and my sense of smell goes through the photo. With this photo I immediately smell the Mediterranean sea. Next my nose picks up the faint scent of fresh fish being cooked in the kitchen of this restaurant. I smell the perfume of the mother sitting at the table near us. A waiter walks buy with a tray held high and I smell the seafood paella pan - the saffron rice aroma wafts above my head.
And finally, I begin to feel my way though the photo. My feet touch the wooden planks as I walk out to the put my toes into the sand. I bend down and scoop up a worn shell. My face gravitates towards the sun on the horizon, feeling its warmth even on this November day. The temperature outside is not hot, but my skin warms from a brisk walk to the waters edge and back. My arm feels the pull of my heavy tote, with its guidebook, camera and assorted travel contents.
I breathe in deeply all the smells around, listening to the music of this coastal town in Spain and decide to sit for a while – soaking up the winter sun, knowing that I have found one more place on Earth that speaks to me. Feeling this connection to a new place cheers me and adds to my certainty that I am a global citizen.
This sort of virtual travel only takes your imagination mixed with a little boost from your own photo. If you don't have any try using a travel magazine or the images at National Geographic. Being blue isn't fun for me and if you have similar feelings, maybe if you try something like this it will help - let me know.