As the people around the world stay home to ‘flatten the curve’ of the spread of COVID-19, museums and attractions across the world have also shuttered, but lots of them are offering virtual tours or live-streaming events, for free (below are a few links). Unfortunately, passively watching something can only go so far to quell doldrums of self-quarantine.
- British Museum, London Google Virtual Tour
- Guggenheim Museum, New York Google Virtual Tour
- National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Online Exhibits
- Musée d’Orsay, Paris Google Virtual Tour
- National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul Google Virtual Tour
- Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Google Virtual Tour
- The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles Google Virtual Tour
- MASP, São Paulo Google Virtual Tour
More importantly, the well-known health benefits of travel, including its correlation with decreased stress, better health, and enhanced creativity, mostly come from the real immersion in a new destination and culture which is something that can’t be achieved via armchair travel. Until we are able to take to the skies and seas again, here are some ways to bring the travel experience home to you during this challenging time.
Cook an inspired meal which will cause you to feel like you’re worlds away
Whether you plan your vacays around the best new restaurants or local food markets, discovering other cultures through food is one of unique and best pleasures of travel. While you’ll not be slurping down Spaghetti Bolognese at a Roman piazza anytime soon, a few Chefs are doing their part during the COVID-19 lock down.
Chef Silvia Grossi at Il Salviatino in Tuscany, Italy is hosting cooking lessons from her home in Florence via Instagram. In the spirit of #iorestoacasa, she’s only using ingredients most folks have readily available in their home pantries. Italian chef, Massimo Bottura, renowned from Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, is also hosting a virtual cooking series called Kitchen Quarantine.
Mix-up a cocktail or enjoy a fine spirit tasting from your dream vacay destination
You can help delivery services like Drizly, Saucey, and Mini Bar stay in business and practice social distancing by ordering exotic spirits to your door and create an at-home tasting or destination-inspired cocktail night. If your canceled spring break plans have you saying adios to Mexico, try creating a tasting of various tequila spirits from around the country.
Toast staying in with pastis or champagne if you’re dreaming of a vacay in France, or mix-up a tropical rum cocktail if your foiled Caribbean travel plans are still unsettling you. You can get inspiration from books like Carey Jones’ How to Be Your Own Bartender.
Study & Learn a new foreign language
One of the thrills of travel is wrapping your mind, and tongue, around a foreign language. Plus, there’s a known positive, lasting impact once you learn a new language, too. It improves brain function, including better memory, as well as increasing mental flexibility and creativity, per a study published in Frontiers of Human Neuroscience.
With many folks now working remote from home, it’s a perfect the time to learn Spanish or Japanese through online classes like Babbel or Rosetta stone so you are able to converse with the locals when you are able to travel again.
Experience nature removed from the crowds
The exhilaration of travel often comes from experiencing things for the first time, and many times this includes taking in vast, awe-inspiring landscapes. A study conducted by Stanford University has showed that being in nature has been proven enhance individual happiness and studies show new experiences provide a similar effect by activating dopamine pathways in your brain. Getting out into nature remains one activity we are able to enjoy while practicing social distancing, if we know where to go.
Search for a forest trail that you’ve never been to before, and reduce human traffic and contact on the well-trodden paths in national parks, by using with apps like Hiking Project and AllTrails, or consult an app like iNaturalist to help you find and learn something new about the flora and fauna in your own backyard.
Create your own spa experience
With oceanside massages off the table for a while, many hotels are sharing ways for housebound jet setters to bring serenity home. You can make your own body scrub with home pantry items like sugar, coconut oil, and olive oil, and add a couple of drops of essential oils if you’ve got them. Also try using coffee grounds which are proven to be good for circulation.
Try using essential oils and steam in the shower and then hydrate with fruit water afterwards, like watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon, to feel like you’re somewhere tropical. Folks also need mindfulness practices during this time more than ever so make the time to sit down in quiet meditation for a minimum of 10 minutes.
Be sure to keep a sense of perspective and research information and advice from credible sources to help stave off anxiety. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) and World Health Organization are good official sources to check frequently. If you do decide to plan a Vacay, you probably will want to consider a Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) optional travel insurance upgrade. True to its name, this additional option allows you to cancel your trip for any reason.