Practice social distancing, but the travel mistake gnaws? Here are eight ways to enjoy traveling without leaving your home.
Learn a language
Most of the world speaks English. However, your international travels will get richer if you can at least speak a little of the national language. Your effort to learn key words and phrases is very important when you meet locals. “Thank you”, “please” and “where is …” are three that I always try to learn. There are several free and paid learning websites and smartphone apps that you can use to learn another language.
These include Duolingo (free app and website), Babbel (paid app and website) and Rosetta Stone (paid app and website). “Thank you” in French is “merci”, in Spanish “gracias” and in Japanese “arigatou gozaimasu”. Of course, it also helps to learn the local word for “cheers”. (Find and download apps from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.)
Take a tour from your sofa
Virtual tours and exhibitions from more than 500 museums from around the world are compliments of Google Art & Culture. The collection includes the tank room of the Natural History Museum in London, the J. Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Berlin Pergamon Museum. Visit famous landmarks like Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida and the city of Pompeii in Italy.
You can find information on popular websites around the world in real time EarthCam website. Use your computer to visit small towns, tropical destinations, landmarks, zoos and more.
Explore.org also offers real-time views focusing on nature, zen and stressful scenes. Observe the Redwood Forest River in Crescent City, California, the changing sky over Dumpling Mountain in Katmai National Park in Alaska and the Aurora Borealis in Churchill, Manitoba.
Check out for a glimpse of this world NASA and watch either live or recorded videos. Check out the moon as recorded by Apollo 13, follow the Mars Curiosity Rover exploring Teal Ridge and see the view from the International space station on UStream.
Read an adventure to leaf through
Spend time immersing yourself in a book and finding inspiration for your next adventure. If you don’t have one on your bookshelf yet, buy and download websites from retailers of electronic books like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Walmart. Better yet, use your library card and visit your library’s website and check out eBooks.
Include travel-related readings “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, “Ten Years of a Nomad: A Traveler’s Journey Home” by Matthew Kepnes, and “Wild: From the Lost to the Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed. (Most library card holders can download media from their respective library websites. For my friends in southwest Florida: Charlotte County Library System: www.charlottecountyfl.gov/services/historical/Pages/Libraries-Home.aspx;; Lee County library system: www.leegov.com/library/online;; Sarasota County library system: https://sarac.co.sarasota.fl.us)
Create a colorful culture
Stay within limits … or not. Coloring is therapeutic and here is a way to travel while sitting at your dining table. Find your crayons, markers, chalk or whatever, download them, and then tap your creativity. The library of the New York Academy of Medicine They have compiled free coloring pages and books from libraries, archives and other cultural institutions from all over the world and made them available on the website #ColorOurCollections. They’ve been collecting them since 2016, so there are hundreds of options to download.
The week #ColorOurCollections is usually the first full week of February when the new collections are added to the website. Travel-related coloring pages and books for 2020 include the Pritzker Military Museum & Library in Chicago, the Canadian Canoe Museum in Ontario and the University of Melbourne in Australia. The coloring book of the museums of Collier County (Florida) is of local interest.
Eat all over the world without leaving the kitchen
To experience a culture is to enjoy some of its traditional dishes. If you can’t travel to Thailand for Pad Thai or Portugal for Pasteis de Nata (pudding cake) or any other country, cook dishes from your favorite destination. No cookbooks available? You have the internet at hand and can search for recipes. If you don’t have the exact ingredients in your pantry and don’t leave your home, don’t fret. You can easily replace most of the ingredients by doing a quick Google search and asking, “What can I replace with XX spice?”
There is always the option of viewing videos from popular chefs to inspire a cultural culinary journey. My favorites include Anthony Bourdain, Julia Child and Jamie Oliver.
If you are not completely blocked, you can order the takeaway at a local restaurant. Try a new restaurant and a new dish that you have never tried. Not only are you trying something new, you also need to figure out what to cook for dinner. It is important that you support a local company.
Get Crafty with travel souvenirs
Do you collect postcards, pins, brochures, wine labels, cards or anything else on your travels? Bring them out of hiding and create a showpiece for your home. Pinterest is the perfect place to find artistic DIY projects. Look for clever ways to create a postcard travel diary, decouple furniture with cards, and put together souvenir storefronts with glasses, brochures, and small items that you brought with you from your travels.
Clean up the closet for your travel fund
Everyone likes extra money. If you are at home and not on a world tour, clean your cupboards, drawers, sheds and garage to find things that you no longer need. Sell these items to earn extra money for your travel fund. One person’s garbage is another person’s treasure. Look at websites as Ebay, Facebook marketplace, or Let go. Or hold a flea market or take part in a community flea market when we no longer have to practice social distancing.
Pop the popcorn
Turn on Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, or another streaming service. This includes using your library’s online service to watch travel-related films and documentaries. Some popular films to relax with a large bowl of popcorn are: roman vacation (1955), National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Arc (1981), Under the Tuscan sun (2003) and The secret life of Walter Mitty (2013). Watch the Ken Burns 2009 documentary on the PBS website. The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.
If you’re lucky enough to have yesterday’s family vacation movies or slides, bring them out. Now is just about every time to watch them with loved ones.
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