Don't let your travel dreams die while you stay home. I've come up with a list of things you can do from home to keep the travel fires burning and to get your travel fix while in isolation or just unable to travel.
I've updated this blog since I was featured in The Guardian - How to satisfy your lockdown wanderlust.
Isolation tactic #1: Virtual walking tours are the next best thing to travel.
I've written a whole blog on the joy of virtual walking tours. I really don't think anything has given me such joy as sitting on my couch with a cup of tea and my laptop, and watching a guide on the other side of the world showing us their amazing part of the world.
I absolutely love the website Heygo - previously known as Virtual Trips - the website is simple and easy to use. I love that when you leave a tip - a percentage of the tip is going to the guide.
So far I've been on a tour of Gaudi houses in Barcelona, the night markets in Luxor, Egypt, and the plum blossoms in Tokyo. You can read my blog about Heygo here and why I think virtual walking tours are the next best thing to actual travel.
I have done Tai Chi while having a virtual walk on YouTube through the Bryce Canyon.
This is when I absolutely love technology. I mean how cool is all of this!!
Exploring Gaudi homes in Barcelona on a Virtual Trip.
Isolation tactic #2: Listen to podcasts.
I'm a new convert to podcasts, and I absolutely love them.
What I really like about them is that they are pretty much all pre-covid! So there's no mention of this current madness.
My favourite one currently is "My Camino the podcast" by a Sydney guy, Dan Mullins. He interviews people who have walked the Camino and it's full of stories, packing tips (of course, I like them!!), walking tips, anti-blister tips... and descriptions of the scenery...or the crunching steps when walking the Mesata.
I can't wait to experience this all myself, but in the meantime, it is a real joy and distraction to listen to Dan.
Another travel related podcast is the Books and Travel Podcast by writer, Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn. Joanna interviews really interesting people and with great questioning we get to hear their fascinating adventures to some very different places.
But I'm also listening to podcasts on blogging, travelling, business stuff, crime stories, health etc. Honestly, think of any subject and there'll be a podcast on it.
Isolation tactic #3: Practice your packing light wardrobe.
Of course I would suggest this!
Being home is the perfect time to practice and refine your travel wardrobe. Packing a well-assembled, mix and match wardrobe takes time. You need time to ponder whether things go together, if it would cover cold days, or wet days.
Here's my light packing recipe:
- Start by picking your base colour that all things will go with (black, grey, blue, taupe...)
- Add 3 tees/shirts
- Add 2 warmer layer tops
- Add 3 bottoms - trousers, leggings, or a skirt
- Add 1 dress (if you wear these)
- Add 3 pairs of shoes.
- Place them all on your bed or table.
- Now pick 1 top, 1 bottom and 1 pair of shoes.
- See how many combinations you can create.
- Leave your clothes out so you can think about whether things really work well together, or whether you have something different you'd like to swap in/out.
Playing around with what to pack on my next trip.
Isolation tactic #4: Enjoy your travel photos.
There is so much joy in reminiscing over your old travel photos. There's nothing like a bit of escapism to lift the spirits and distract you from these unusual times.
Take the opportunity to make a photo book or create albums.
Create a video/slideshow and have a viewing with your family or co-isolators.
Reminiscing: My Tai Chi school near Yangshou, China.
Isolation tactic #5: Watch travel movies, documentaries and vloggers.
Learn more about the places you've been or the places you are planning to visit. This is the perfect opportunity.
Sign up to a TV network just for the months ahead to give you more options.
YouTube is another great place to watch documentaries and meet some vloggers (video bloggers) who really will inspire you. Yesterday I watched "The Way" with Martin Sheen. As many of you will know I was supposed to be on the Camino de Santiago in a months time. So this movie was a lovely escape to the route and the vibe of the Camino.
Ever thought of house-sitting? Check out Nathalie @marquestra and her YouTube video on house-sitting tips - You'll find out so much on how she does it, why, and what questions to ask homeowners, and what you need to think about for yourself. Prepare yourself for when the borders open up again.
Download movies - before we went to New York in December (gosh, that feels like a lifetime ago!) I googled New York movies - and watched a whole lot - just to get in the mood. It was delightful.
And I love watching movies currently set in Spain - while I can't be there walking the Camino I still get to escape there in my mind.
And my most recent travel joy series was 'Emily in Paris' on Netflix. It was so delightful with the scenery, the cafes and restaurants, the accents. Just divine and real escapism.
Travel movies: Great escapism.
Isolation tactic #6: Learn a language.
I had meant to learn some Spanish prior to walking the Camino in May, but that didn't happen.
Now I have the opportunity to learn more phrases. There are apps, videos, YouTube lessons and websites on learning a language. Really I have no excuse now!
Isolation tactic #7: Stay connected.
Right now I'm really loving my Instagram and Facebook community. They are a positive, uplifting and hopeful group of like-minded people who focus on being grateful and supporting each other. They are also located all over the globe and we truly are all in this together. It's an incredibly united front across the world.
Reach out to people who keep you positive and feeling good.
One of the things I have loved on social media is the sharing of where people are in isolation. It's just lovely seeing people showing us their gardens in England, Greece, Italy, Spain, Australia. The message is loud and clear - we are still here!
I also think we are connecting on a much deeper level. Messages and comments are more heartfelt and kind. Asking people how they are doing. Offers of support. It's a sense of community that needed reigniting worldwide.
Phone a friend! We're all at home - at least you can't use the excuse, "Oh I didn't know if you'd be at work or out!!"
Use a video-calling service like Messenger, Skype, Facetime, Zoom - and keep in touch with people around the globe. Last night my siblings had a video call on Messenger. There are six of us so we looked like the Brady Bunch on screen, and then someone changed the filters. It was highly entertaining, and brought us all together from around New Zealand and Australia.
Clowning around with my family around Australia and New Zealand.
Isolation tactic #8: Keep moving.
We need to keep moving whether we are in isolation or not.
But now's the time to check out those online classes, YouTube exercise videos, or getting outside if you're allowed.
I also double exercise with listening to podcasts. All of this is a great distraction. And it's really important to just switch off or change the channel!!
It also keeps me fit for when travel is back on the agenda. And the uplifting hormones get a boost with exercise so I just feel happier.
Quieter than normal New Zealand roads when we were in lockdown.
Isolation tactic #9: Cook up an exotic meal.
There's nothing like cooking up a meal with flavours from Morocco, India, China or any world cuisine of your choice to give us a taste of travel.
- Whip up a Mediterranean platter and imagine you are dining in the Greek Islands.
- Order in some Chinese takeways - if this service is available to you.
- Cook a Moroccan chicken tangine in your slow cooker, dim the lights, turn on some Moroccan music on Spotify and you've got your own Marrakech cafe!
- Cook a pizza, with some vino and Italian music and you're transported to the Amalfi Coast in Italy.
Once restaurants start opening, head out to the international ones in your area.
In New Zealand we are fortunate to be able to dine out at the moment. Going to my local Indian restaurants has me talking to the owners, asking after their families, and sharing our travel stories from our adventures in India.
There are plenty of ways to connect with other cultures, support each other, and bring some travel joy into our lives.
Enjoying pizza on the sea wall in Amalfi, Italy.
Isolation tactic #10: Have some fun.
Really want to feel like you're on the road? - here are some suggestions to cheer you up.
- Go into another room and skype/ facetime your family and pretend it's another time zone.
- Live out of your travel wardrobe for a week.
- Cook food from different countries.
- Have a shower and wash your clothes at the same time.
- Watch a foreign movie with the subtitles off.
- Brush your teeth with water from your drink bottle.
- Complain about the snoring fellow hostellers.
- Leave a mess in the kitchen and then complain about the messy travellers.
- Go outside and take a photo of something weird, while saying, "Oh my God, this is sooo amazing".
After all that, you'll need a relaxation day from your travels - so pull up a recliner chair and have a day off! You deserve it!!
Reliving travel days!
If you want to read where all this travelling light came from, read one of my earlier blogs , "How I started travelling light."
You see, I once was a heavy traveller, lugging my bags around … but that all changed...