With the borders slowly opening up, I can’t help but ask How Do You Travel Without Leaving Your Home Country? It’s been some months, surely all of us itchyfeets have been waiting for the lockdown to be lifted. Probably had been a bit frustrated with the flights that got canceled. Had the anticipation dying down for being at home too long.
Of course, once it’s all OK you can travel away, but it doesn’t mean it would be as safe. And it’s the same if one would travel within the country. But to minimize the risk, and probably you’ve anyway wanted to do this for so long: travel around your home country and appreciate what it has to offer for the meantime.
How to Travel Without Leaving Your Home Country? Simply put, TRAVEL VIRTUALLY, and there many different ways to do that. Thankfully, technology is much advanced now during the last time the world experienced a lockdown. Travelling virtually is just one, but there are a lot of ways of travelling the world that could occur from the comforts of one’s couch. Here are some we’ve listed down.
1. Travel Virtually
With the advent of technology, travelling has become easier, and less to think about. Bookings can be done online, although travel agents still exist, it is simply easy to choose the best flight by yourself with the help of search sites. With the help of travel sites and blogs, you can get information on the best hotels, the places to see, the things to do, and what’s best to eat and where to find them doing a quick read (and listing all these down).
Now that physically visiting the must-sees in different countries is not so much an option, technology is bringing them to us by the following:
a. Live cams around cities
Cameras installed around major cities give a live update of the city conditions. It’s usually a moving camera at certain spots but it will still give you a wide view of how the city looks like, especially if there are a lot installed. We even used to check the snow on ski resorts if we wanted to go snowboarding.
EarthCam and SkylineWebcams are two of what we recommend. SkylineWebcams feature mostly European cities, while Earthcam comprehensively has a lot on many US states arranged on categories, or where the cameras are: skylines, universities, tourist spots, and more.
b. Museum Online Tours
Have you ever wanted to tour the British Museum, or Musée d’Orsay or Uffizi Gallery? Here’s your chance to tour them without having to go on a long flight, and not having to pay a lot. These are just a few of the museums around the world giving free tours. Even if you’re just starting to know about art, your fascination and curiosity would surely be satisfied with all the collections being featured.
– Vienna’s Belvedere Live Tour
The Belvedere Palace holds a large collection of art, and houses Vienna’s top artist’s masterpieces. Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss is definitely the highlight but all the exhibition are worth checking out. It costs 15€ to see the collection at the Belvedere, but it’s free when you view them online.
The Belvedere features a section of the museum every afternoon on workdays, albeit in German. They give detailed information of each piece in the featured collection.
c. Livestream Zoos and Aquariums
It’s an established fact that watching fish, even in a small aquarium can make you feel relaxed. Since the aquariums and zoos around would be closed, our best bet for is their livestreams. Some to check out should be the Smithsonian National Zoo, the San Diego Zoo, National Aquarium’s Coral Reef Cam, Zoo Zurich, Dublin Zoo, and Edinburgh Zoo.
2. Explore the Earth Via Google Maps and Google Earth
Whenever I feel like visiting our home (16 hours away by plane from where I am), I go around Google Maps as the little orange guy. ^_^ Surely, Google Map is very useful when planning your itinerary, but there’s not much to plan now so just go on and walk literally to the places via its “eyes”. You will be surprised about the things you will see while walking on it.
3. Read Books Set in Other Countries
Was there a book that piqued your curiosity about a certain city after details were laid out in while you’re reading? I have a handful and I was able to visit some of those cities. Florence, for example, was one of the settings in Dan Brown’s Inferno (along with Venice and Istanbul, which we’ve explored too). Here are some books you can read to inspire you for your next city break.
Berlin: Book of Clouds – Chloe Aridjis
Tokyo: After Dark – Haruki Murakami
Barcelona: Barcelona – Robert Hughes
Chicago: The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
4. Beach Pretend
What’s the best way to read your book in but in a summery setup, relaxing on a hammock, pretending you’re on the beach, or just somewhere really secluded and serene. Travel may have been restricted, but items travelling to you isn’t. Visit a hammock store online and see if they have a hammock in your favorite color. If you don’t have trees or pole stands to install your hammock in, get a hammock with stands – you can move it pretty easily anywhere in your garden.
Probably, setting down in a hammock with a book is more relaxing than watching fish swim. So let me stand corrected. ^_^
5. Watch These Movies and Drama Series To Feed Your Wanderlust
Movies and dramas can bring you anywhere with less the narration of a documentary (but who doesn’t love National Geographic documentaries?). Here are some of light-hearted movies you can watch to feed your wanderlust:
1. Sound of Music (1965) with Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer in Salzburg
2. Before Sunrise (1995) with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy in Vienna
3. Notting Hill (1999) with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in London
4. Amélie (2001) with Audrey Tautou in Paris
5. City of God (2002)
6. Under the Tuscan Sun (2003) with Diane Lane in Cortona, Tuscany
7. Lost in Translation (2003) with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in Tokyo
8. Before Sunset (2004) with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy in Paris
9. Before Midnight (2013) with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy in Peloponnese, Greece
And here are TV Series that will bring you to many places as you watch each episode:
1.Las Vegas: CSI
2. New York: How I Met Your Mother, Felicity, Modern Love
3. Los Angeles: The Neighborhood, New Girl
4. Seoul: Lovers in Bloom
5. Japan: Japanese Style Originator
6. Travel Through Food
Now to literally feed your wanderlust after seeing food from the movies and TV series, try cooking them at home. If you’re not so confident, you can always get food delivered to you. (Aside from the frontliners, we thank the people working in the food industry for keeping us alive.) So here is a recipe of Bibimbap for you to try, if you enjoy Korean food. And here are the other food you can order for when you call delivery:
Beef Pho, Cha Gio, and Banh da lon (Vietnamese)
Samgyupsal, Kimchi, and Castella cakes (Korean)
Khao Pad, Pad Thai, and Mango Sticky Rice (Thai)
Ramen, Okonomiyaki, and Matcha cakes (Japanese)
Lumpia, Bagnet, and Ube cakes (Filipino)
Wienerschnitzel, Fiakergulasch, and Imperial torte (Austrian)
Cannelloni, Vengole, and Tiramisu (Italian)
Hainanese Chicken Rice and Chili Crabs (Singaporean)
Peking Roasted Duck, Diverse Dumplings, and moon cakes (Chinese)
Schweinshaxe, Currywurst, and Schwarzwälder Kirsch torte (German)
Fish and Chips, Scones, and Eton Mess (English)
Paella, Jamon, and Churros (Spanish)
Kafta, Tabbouleh, and Sfouf (Lebanese)
Svíčková, knedlíky, and Parisian cake (Czech)
Burritos, Guacamole, and Tres Leches (Mexican)
There is still a lot to list, but I’m getting hungry now. ^_^
7. Learn a Language
Learning a language was one way to enjoy a city back when restrictions are not yet in place. You can enroll a basic course for a few hours, a more comprehensive course for a week while enjoying the sights. But now, it is best to learn online, or use apps (some free) to learn a language you’ve always been wanting to try. There are also a lot of youtubers who share about their country and their language on their channels. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone, you get to see a city virtually and learn its language too.
8. Take an Online History Course
To study history is one more of the ways to travel without leaving your home country. It’s like travelling back through time in many cities. It’s cool to understand what shaped a certain city to what it is today. You can choose from a wide range of categories like European History to American history, from the pyramids of Giza to Greece’s Parthenon, from World War I to World War II, you’d find a topic. There are even free classes offered by Harvard University. Check them here.
9. Explore Towns and Cities Near You
What best way to enjoy travel without leaving your home country by exploring it? If you haven’t yet, it is best to go about the nearest town where you live. You can drive and spend a day or two to try the local cuisines there. You can ride a train no matter if just an hour or three, see the sights, and compare how busy it would be there than your home city. The charm of towns is very different from cities so make sure you get to walk around the vineyards, taste their ice cream and cakes, and don’t forget to buy a souvenir for your trip back.
10. Hone Your Photography Skills
While at home, you can refresh your skills in setting the camera manually. The above Hallstatt photo was taken on a rainy, late afternoon – there isn’t good lighting is my excuse. I could of course adjust the camera settings but the rain made it difficult to turn the buttons (I feared, it getting soaked would break the equipment.)
You can practice at home for still photography, or maybe landscape photography from your view out of the window (if you live on the 9th floor like us).
11. Share Your Travels
You can also travel by sharing about your experiences, it’s reliving the excitement but this time recording it. Here are the different media to share your travels:
Write about the places you’ve visited, the sights you’ve seen, the food you ate while away. This will give other travel enthusiasts ideas and inspiration.
Create boards on Pinterest that comprise the places you’ve seen. You can even pin other cities you plan to visit.
Share your travel photos on Instagram and connect with like-minded people.
Share the photos you uploaded on Instagram on Facebook – not everyone has Pinterest or Instagram.
12. Print your Travel Photos
To Travel Without Leaving Your Home Country, you can always look back to your most memorable travel memories. The best way is to leaf through the pages of a photo album or a photobook. It does require time to do a photobook project, but you have time now, don’t you?
Tell us your own ways or tips of how to travel without leaving your home country in the comments.