For most of us, 2021 will be the year of the staycation whilst the world still struggles to keep COVID-19 under control. Governments—both here and abroad—have employed safety measures to determine which countries are ‘safe’ to visit and have rolled out strict (and costly) safety measures for tourists/workers returning home on flights to follow to limit the spread of COVID variants between countries.
Many people have decided it’s just too much of an upheaval, expense—or perhaps too risky—to consider travelling abroad this year and have decided to holiday closer to home. But despite immense travel restrictions and inconveniences still in force, we can continue to embrace our love of travel despite staying put at home.
1 Bring the world to you. Starting off with:
(A) Window Swap. This website shares videos of peoples’ window views from hundreds of different countries across the world. It’s real fine taking in the sites and sounds of so many beautiful places (and it’s very relaxing to view too). You might even want to consider sharing ‘your own window view’ and upload a video to this amazing collection yourself.
(B) Another way to embrace your love of travel is to get busy in the kitchen and re-create a favourite dish from your travels. Scent is powerful—nothing will take you back like the smell of something you ate while travelling. Google a recipe online and break out the spices, herbs, etc and bon appétit/ disfrutar de su comida / buon appetito / Απόλαυσε το γεύμα σου., etc.
(D) Learn a foreign language for free. Check out Nine places to learn a new language.
2 Go on a tour of the world by visiting Google Earth. Go on a world tour by picking out a different country to visit each day with Google Earth for Chrome. Fly anywhere in seconds and explore hundreds of 3D cities directly in your browser. Roll the dice to discover someplace new, take a guided tour with Voyager, and create maps and stories of your online travels. This website will soon be available to more browsers. It’s a fantastic educational website and sure to be a hit with family members, young and old.
3 Create a ‘favourite location’ themed night. Get together with friends or family from within your social bubble and recreate a fantastic location themed night. Splash out on decoration, food, wine, music, clothing, etc. If expense is a problem, encourage everyone to contribute something to the event which will help share the cost and really go for it.
4 Read a book about ‘travelling at home’. Check out The Art of Being a Tourist at Home, Holiday at Home or The Happy Traveler. Never have books been more relevant to our current situation than these! Each book provides lots of helpful tips and advice on holidays closer to home (or even at home).
5 Reminisce on past travels. One reason travel is so rewarding is that it adds so many rich memories to our lives. But how often do you look at photos you’ve taken or re-read a travel journal? Maybe a part of you was preserving all of those precious moments for now: for a time when you aren’t able to travel.
Set aside some time to look back and relive these good times. Share the memories with the people you travelled with. Reconnect with people you met whilst travelling. Or maybe this is the time to make that scrapbook finally, or to print, frame, and hang some favourite travel photographs.
Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.—Hazrat Inayat Khan
6 Make yourself a place of beauty—somewhere you can chill and relax with a long cool drink (and a good book perhaps). Or somewhere you can go to listen to your favourite music and shut out the world for a few hours each day/weekend. It may be in a favourite spot outside in the garden or a corner in the house.
Last year hubby and myself made such a spot in the back garden under a beautiful blossom tree. It included a seating bench, some flower pots with scented blooms, a few outdoor candles and a small fire pit. We enjoyed many long hours out there reading, chilling and drinking hot cocoa with melted marshmallows (even under the stars some nights—priceless). We also enjoyed BBQ’s and ate alfresco out there for a good part of the summer. A summer ‘haven’ doesn’t have to cost much at all. We certainly didn’t spend much on ours and yet the pleasure it brought us was immense.
7 Look ahead optimistically. We won’t always be living through a pandemic. While the questions of “when” and “how” we can resume travel are unanswerable right now, we have to believe that we will get to travel again. And when we can, it will be even more special and exciting than before.
Don’t be afraid to envision what your next adventure may be. Fantasize about it with your family and friends. If you’re so inclined, take action now to make your next trip even better. Start learning the language, for instance, or take an online travel photography class.
Whilst all these tips don’t replace walking along white sandy beaches or drinking a leisurely coffee in a Partisan café, I hope they can help cushion the blow while also giving you some fun distractions.
Now is the time to re-define what it means to travel and try to live by the words of Marcel Proust:
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
NEXT WEEK: Don’t forget to laugh!
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