In January 2020 the year was just about to start, and as many of you, I was already planning my next trips. Shortly after that the coronavirus hit Europe, where I live, and many countries started closing their borders. Soon it became evident that free and safe traveling will not be possible in the months to come. The situation got worse with many people getting sick or losing their jobs. The newspapers were predicting lasting economical consequences. The future suddenly became a bit dark and uncertain.
Usually when my life gets hard or too stressful, I escape through traveling. This helps me recharge my batters and find the energy to deal with my problems. And I am sure that each one of you has a coping mechanism that helps them persevere. However, with traveling not being an option, I had to find other ways to balance my life. Then, I realized there are still many ways to travel without traveling that would help me get some inspiration and positivity.
These are a few things I did to keep the travel spirit alive:
10. Watching travel movies
This is maybe the most obvious and accessible choice. There are some quite amazing movies out there that will allow you to discover new places form the comfort of your own home.
I am talking about movies like Wild (2014), The Way (2010), A Walk in the Woods (2015), some classics like Out of Africa (1985), and many more.
You can also check Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel for cool documentaries about wildlife, culture and traditions around the world.
9. Reading books about traveling
Reading a travel book takes a bit more time than watching a movie but it is totally worth it, as it allows you to immerse deeper in the atmosphere. There are plenty of books to choice from, including both hard cover and kindle editions.
For a starter, books like “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert or “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer are two good options. There are plenty of travel memoir-like books out there depending on the region or type of travel you are interested in.
You can also check my 5 Book Gift Ideas article where I talk about Shark Drunk, and you may get inspired for a sea adventure.
8. Organizing old photos
If you have travelled as much as I have, I am sure you have million of folders full of photos from previous trip. Is your Google Drive flooded? Now is the perfect time to get those organized. This will also allow you to re-live some of your most treasured memories. Be aware thought that this activity may lead to some feelings of nostalgia.
7. Research new destinations
If you have ever planned a trip, you know that this includes a heavy research. So use these lazy weekends to dig in to travel guides, articles and blog posts. You can also learn some tricks on how to save money on tickets or accommodation.
Planning a trip, even if in the distant future, gave me something to look forward to and it helped me regain my enthusiasm for traveling.
And, eventually we will be able to travel again and should be prepared to take off.
6. Start a travel blog
If you are into writing, this is a great tip for you.
I have tried to maintain a travel blog many times before, but never had the time to write regularly. I decided to start again and this is how “Dots&Walks” was born. Now I can share my passion for traveling with others and find like-minded people.
5. Play games about traveling
Have you ever thought that you can experience traveling through games? These could be video games, role-play games or board games. And this is even better than watching a movie or reading a book because you are actually the protagonist of the story.
One of my favorite board games that I discover this year is Parks (2019). It is about hiking through the USA National parks and “taking photos” of beautiful places. It is easy, entertaining, and suitable for everyone age 10 and above.
4. Listen to traditional music from around the world
I am big music fan and songs have always helped me escape the real world. Music can also be used as tool to experience someone else’s story, even feel the “vibe” of a certain country, or understand its culture.
Bossa nova, for example, throws me instantly in Brazil. Country makes me want to live on a ranch in south of US. There are some nay different types of music, and why not explore different artists and traditional sounds from around the world.
3. Try new recipes
Cooking exotic dishes is one of my preferred ways of “traveling” the world. In the past year I got into Asian cuisine, and now I am curry master! Trying recopies from different countries allowed me to recreate a small part of them at my home.
You don’t have to be a chief or buy expensive ingredients in order to cook delicious foreign meals. YouTube offers plenty of cooing tutorials, and you can star with something easy and tasty like Tortilla Espanola or Risotto. Or, if you are feeling more adventures, you can cook my favorite Portuguese dish – Bacalhau a Bras. You can combine your dish with a good glass of (foreign) wine and there you have an amazing international experience.
2. Explore your own country
As travelers, often we are so focus on the wonders of the world that we forget some of them are hiding in our own country. And, even if you think you know your country, I am sure you can still find new places to see.
Without the opportunity to traveling abroad, I had the time and energy to explore the local beauty. I was hiking new trails almost every weekend, and I visited cities where I have never been before.
After all, traveling is not about the destination, but about the experience of discovery and adventure.
1. Travel virtually
We are lucky to be living in a digital era where we have easy access to things at the other end of the world. And this makes traveling without traveling truly possible.
Today many museums offer virtual tours. And, you get to enjoy art and culture without waiting on a queue. Check this article for an inspiration and ideas, or just make a Google search.
Speaking about Google, you know you can explore any city in the world with just a click or two on Google Earth. And if you are up for the challenge you can play GeoGuesser. It is a game that places you somewhere on the globe and asks you to guess where it is based on your surroundings. It is a lot of fun!
Although not the same as actually traveling the world, these ideas can help you keep busy and scratch the travel itch. If you have more suggestions, please share them in the comments below.