We are living in interesting times. Since March, many of us have gone undercover, and due to the worldwide pandemic, we emerge only to work, grab necessary supplies, and retreat to the safety and comfort of our homes.
For those of us that love to travel, living in times like this can really be difficult. Our desire to get out and experience the world has not been squashed, but it has been subdued greatly as we have had no choice but to retreat and maintain safe social distances not only from places, but people and loved ones.
For fear of going stir crazy, we need to find ways to satisfy our urge to travel and experience new places without compromising our health or that of others. The following tips can bring little pieces of our big wide world back to your home, allowing you to “travel” in safety and with a little creativity. Take these steps to bring a little foreign flavor to your home and to your family:
1. Peruse a travel-themed book
Reading is an excellent way to pass the time during quarantine, and also satisfy an itch to view a foreign land. Many quality travel books offer great tips and suggestions for travel, as well as provide beautiful photography and scenery that can allow you to dream about your next physical travel opportunity. Why not create a “fantasy vacation”, where you bring a little bit of South France right into your living room—French food, French accordion music, and some reading about the Eiffel Tower will put you in the mood to explore and plan your post-quarantine trip.
2. Speaking of plan…
Nothing brings joy and optimism quite like planning your next vacation. Whether it is a weekend getaway to the North Shore or something trans Atlantic, get immersed in the details. Do some research on travel companies, restaurants, and tourist destinations, and then put a good faith deposit down on your flight or hotel. Hopefully, you’ll be packing your bags and punching your tickets before you know it.
3. Learn a foreign language
Learning a foreign language is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the culture and feel of a different country. Watching educational videos, taking online classes, or listening to audio tapes are all excellent ways to dip your toe in another language, getting a feel for the country and its culture.
4. Decorate your home with travel-themed crafts
Turn your kitchen into a Spanish villa for the day, or craft a makeshift beach using sand in your backyard. Make it fun for the whole family as you place yourself in a different location for the day, dreaming about what it might look like, feel like, smell like. Would you rather go skiing in the mountains of Colorado? Fire up the Wii and play an interactive skiing game. See if you can sharpen your skills before you find yourself on the slopes once more.
5. Cook a meal that transports you to a different world
Discovering a culture through its food is one of the joys of travel to a different place. You may not be able to enjoy spaghetti bolognese in Tuscany, Italy, you can craft a killer pasta dish that makes you feel as if you were there. Add the perfect bottle of red and you have the makings of a warm Italian evening with delicious fare and great company. Or perhaps you can take a culinary trip to the American South and try your hand at some barbecue – electric smokers make the monumental task nearly foolproof.
6. Shake it up with cocktails from your favorite destination
If you have dipped your toes in the sand of Cancun and find yourself missing it, why not mix up a batch of cocktails and get ready for Hora de Feliz, Mexican style? Perhaps the cold sweetness will conjure up warm memories of moonlit nights, walks on the beach, and enviable nightlife that will have you planning your next getaway soon.
7. Get away… Locally
Sometimes, all you need is a little getaway. There are plenty of hotels that are practicing excellent sanitation measures and social distancing policies; escaping for an evening in a nearby hotel might be all that is needed to recharge and refresh. Call ahead to find out what the hotel’s safety and sanitation policies are, and take precautions to ensure that you stay safe while scratching that travel itch.
8. Soak up some sun… And nature
A little sun does wonders for chasing away the blues. Vitamin D is known to boost the production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, causing you to feel happier and more contented. Take it a step further by going for a nature walk or spending time around your favorite lake; bring a fishing pole and the kids with you for a fun day of kicking back and relaxing.
9. Watch travel shows and documentaries
You can get a good feel for a foreign place by simply viewing a show about it. The travel channel has scintillating content and innovative shows that can capture your attention and make you feel as if you were actually a part of the action. Make some popcorn, gather the fam, and watch the best of Yellowstone National Park without having to worry about Old Faithful….at least for now.
10. Make a spa appointment
When all else fails, reduce your stress by making an appointment at your own personal spa. Making a body scrub with some homemade ingredients, taking a luxurious bubble bath with essential oils, and playing some relaxing music will transport you to a completely different place altogether. Feed your body, feed your mind, feed your soul, and you’ll feel more at home than you have been in a long time.
You don’t have to travel far to have an enriching and rewarding experience right in the comfort of your own home. By utilizing these simple strategies, getting everyone at home on board, and using a little imagination, you’ll be able to weather quarantine and find your way back on the travel circuit once more. Bon Voyage!