Just because the backyard is the most exotic place you’ll probably visit for the next few weeks doesn’t mean your travel itch needs to go unscratched. Here are some creative ways to satisfy your wanderlust without leaving your home…
# 1. Master a foreign language
Now that you have nothing but time, think about where you wish to travel to next when COVID-19 eventually blows over, and get cracking on some language lessons! Your commitment can be to learn a few essential phrases or it can be a deep-dive for fluency – it’s entirely up to you. Language apps and online courses are a dime a dozen, and many are free!
- Try Duolingo, Babbel, and Busuu.
- Alternatively, if you prefer more formal instruction, you can sign up with a language school, such as Berlitz, Verbling, or FluentU.
- And when you’re ready to practice on a native speaker of your chosen language (and help them improve their English), try the Tandem, HelloTalk, or Bilingua
# 2. Cook an exotic meal
Food is one of the experiences that make travel so unforgettable, sending us home with hankerings for exotic dishes like kow pad gai, murg makhani, käsespätzle, and many, many other culinary delights. If you can order in, great, but if you can learn to master the making of these dishes, even better.
For recipes from around the world, try the websites Curious Cuisinere, allrecipes.com, or the Food Network Kitchen. Alternatively (or additionally) for online cooking classes from celebrity chefs like Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay, try the Masterclass series.
# 3. Read a book that inspires travel
If you can’t lounge back on a beach with a book in hand and the tropical sun licking deliciously at your skin, lounge back in your living room with a book in hand (and the family dog licking your feet). The imagination is a powerful thing so get on Amazon and check out any (or all) of the following travel inspired books:
- ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho
- ‘The Rings of Saturn’ by W.G. Sebald
- ‘Travels With A Donkey In The Cévennes’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
- ‘Love With a Chance of Drowning’ by Torre DeRoche
- ‘A Moveable Feast’ (Lonely Planet), edited by Don George
- ‘Shantaram’ by Gregory David Roberts
- ‘The Art of Travel’ by Alain de Botton
- The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca’ by Tahir Shah
- ‘World Walk’ by Steven Newman
- ‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac
- ‘In A Sunburned Country’ by Bill Bryson (or anything by Bill Bryson!)
- ‘Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to The World of Food and the People Who Cook’ by Anthony Bourdain
- ‘Unlikely Destinations: The LP Story’ by Tony & Maureen Wheeler (founders of Lonely Planet)
- ‘The Cat Who Went To Paris’ by Peter Gethers
- ‘Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road’ by Kate Harris
- ‘The Lost City of Z’ by David Grann
# 4. Listen to music from around the world
Steep yourself in the sultry strumming of the Spanish guitar, the plucky rhythm of Kentucky blue grass, or the exotic allure of the Japanese koto, and more. Listening to the music of a foreign country really evokes the heartbeat and spirit of these various places and, thanks to the Internet, there’s really no limit to where you can travel to in the audible realm.
Try Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify to search for foreign artists to listen to. The lattermost also has a Top 50 artists/songs by country feature so you can listen to what’s popular in countries all around the world.
# 5. Create a scrapbook of past travels
Many of us aspire to putting together scrapbooks, collages, photo albums, or even photo nets of our travel adventures. And yet, somehow, the time gets away with us and photographs of past travels remain tucked away in the virtual files and folders of our computer, a tragedy really. If you find the travel bug biting during lockdown, take a trip down memory lane by disinterring these pictures, printing out your favourites, and arranging them to be proudly displayed!
If you don’t have a physical scrapbook, album, or frames handy, there are several online platforms that allow you to create digital scrapbooks, slideshows, collages, photo books, calendars, and more. Try Shutterfly (for digital scrapbooks), Smilebox (for slideshows), and Canva (for all of the above).
# 6. Plan your next travel adventure
At a time when local and international travel isn’t an option, planning your next travel adventure may seem like a waste of time but, eventually, life will resume. Eventually, whether it takes months or years, life will get back on track, the roads will once again become congested with traffic, the shopping malls with people, and the sky with airplanes bound for exciting exotic destinations. So why not take the time now to plan your next travel adventure?
Really sink your teeth into the task by researching hotels, food, culture, attractions, and airfare options. You might even steep yourself in several international destinations…why not? Take this time and use it to update your bucket list and dig deep into planning your next few trips. You will emerge from the exercise invigorated and excited about the future of your travels.