Remember how we all clung to hopeful optimism last December? Christmas was around the corner, and so was the end of the disaster that was 2020. We had rung in the New Year tired, drained, but hopeful — or maybe desperate. Surely 2021 couldn’t be worse than 2020, surely things could only get better? Well, I think it’s fair to say that December’s air of optimism was destroyed by the third national lockdown. It feels like the road to normality is a lot longer than any of us expected, and that’s really hit home this year.
This unfortunately means that international travel, and even domestic travel, is out of the question for a while. There’s no getting around it: this sucks. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t have some fun in the meantime! If you’re craving adventure, use these tips to travel from home and take a journey around the world from your sofa.
International food nights
Food is easily one of the best aspects of travel. I’ve had some of the best food of my life whilst backpacking. I’ve had pad thai from Bangkok, stuffed peppers from Greece, pizza from Italy… and pasta, risotto, focaccia, and gelato (my love for Italian food burns brighter than the sun). It’s definitely one of the things that backpackers miss most about travelling. If you feel the same, why not try to recreate one of your favourite holiday meals from the comfort of your own home? Or if you’d rather, try something new and cook a completely new meal from a cuisine that you don’t know too well — you might even find your new favourite dish!
Try making a list of all your favourite cuisines, as well as some new ones that you want to try. Or if you’re really adventurous, close your eyes and point to a spot on the map and try out the local cuisine of the nearest country. If you’re stuck for ideas, use this list of the best countries for foodies to get some inspiration. And remember, the meal isn’t just about the food itself. Look up the most popular drinks in your favourite foodie country and pair them with your meal. You can even add a soundtrack to your meal of the country’s most popular songs too. Put your all into it and make your food night an experience to remember.
Binge-watch travel TV
No, we can’t go travelling ourselves, but we can still watch other people’s adventures. Not only will you see some amazing scenery and learn a great mix of history and cultures, but you might even find inspiration for your next big adventure! The best thing about travel TV is that there are so many programmes about, you’re bound to find one that you love.
One of the most popular types of travel TV is documentaries, so if you’re fascinated by the history of your travel destinations then you have plenty of options to choose from. If you’re a foodie, you should definitely check out Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on Netflix. The late, great Bourdain travelled all over the globe, sampling the local cuisine, and exploring the fascinating culture. As the title suggests, he visits the countries that are less well known for their cuisines, so most viewers will find out something new. Check out this article by The Gone Goat for a selection of the best travel documentaries on Netflix.
If you’re a fan of fast-paced and action-packed travel, you should definitely check out Race Across the World. In this competition, backpackers’ race against one another to reach from their starting point to a far-off destination, but there’s a twist. The only money they’re given to complete the race is the price of a plane ticket from the start to the end point. It’s entertaining, exhilarating, and judging the choices of the backpacking contestants is far more fun than it should be. Series one and two are on iPlayer, so make sure to check them out.
Read a travel book
When people say that reading can transport you to another world, they really mean it. And we could all do with a bit of escapism at the minute. Travel TV is great, but don’t underestimate the power of the written word. There’s no better feeling than finding that perfect book that’s impossible to put down.
The good news is that there’s plenty of travel books for you to choose from. If you’re a fiction lover, ‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac is a favourite amongst travellers and non-travellers alike. The Guardian even listed it as one of the 100 best books ever written! If the USA is on your bucket list, or if you’re a lover of jazz, then this is a definite must-read. Another great fictional travel book is ‘The Paris Hours’ by Alex George. The story follows 4 vastly different people’s lives over just 24 hours. Jump back in time to 1920’s Paris and discover their stories — you won’t regret it.
Of course, the best thing about travel books is getting inspiration for your next trip. If you want to do some research, head the Lonely Planet’s online shop to find your next source of inspiration. Their best-selling book ‘Ultimate Travel List’ ranks the writers 500 favourite destinations ever. This is a definite must-read if you want to take your advice from the experts. And if this is your first purchase from the Lonely Planet shop, don’t forget to subscribe for a 20% discount!
Visit a virtual museum
You don’t have to leave your own front door to soak up the culture and histories of countries across the world — all you need to do is go online! Since the pandemic began, museums across the world have been satisfying our culture craving by putting exhibits online, with some even putting on special online events too.
This isn’t small, obscure museums either, they’re some of the biggest in the world. So if you have a museum that’s on your bucket list, make sure to check whether they offer any virtual exhibits or special events. Some of the most popular online exhibits are the ones from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The museum covers 800 years of Dutch history, and it’s home to some world-renowned art. The exhibits give you a closer look at some artwork than you’d ever get in a museum, as well as a detailed history of it. The museum usually costs €20, so make sure to make the most of these completely free exhibits!
Another fascinating museum that you should pay a virtual visit to is Sao Paulo’s Museu de Arte. This non-profit art museum contains a wide collection of not just Brazilian artwork, but African and Asian artefacts too. Of course, not all 8000 pieces of work displayed in the museum can be put online, but make sure to check out all 6 exhibits available.
Relive your best travel memories
We all love taking holiday snaps and sharing them online. But when was the last time you actually looked back at them yourself? If you can’t remember, don’t worry, it’s not just you. I know that I was guilty of this before starting Live To Be Lost. After taking the pictures and sharing them online. I’d rarely go back to look at them, if ever. But since I’ve started looking back, I’ve realised how many adventures I’ve had around the world. And more importantly, it gives me hope that someday soon I’ll be able to experience it again.
Reminiscing with photos can also help jog your memory of some of your best travel moments. I completely forgot about watching this beautiful sunset from the Yellow Fortress in Sarajevo, until I began scrolling back through my pictures. Seeing it cheered me up so much, and that’s something that we all need at the minute.
If you want to make something physical to remember your previous trips by, try making yourself a scrapbook or a photo album. For the photos on your phone, make sure to download the FreePrints app to get your photos for a reasonable price. If you’re creative, get yourself a cheap scrapbook, some colourful pens, and craft something beautiful. But if like me you’re not very artsy, just take the easy route and buy yourself a pretty photo album, like this travel themed one from WHSmith.
Plan your next trip
Just because we aren’t going on holiday anytime soon, it doesn’t mean that we can’t prepare for our next big adventure! In fact, if you’re suffering from lockdown boredom then this is the perfect time to get your thinking cap on and do some travel planning. Following all the previous tips will probably give you plenty of inspiration to work with — the only thing you’ll struggle with is deciding where to go first! If you’ve never planned a big trip before, or even if you’re just a little rusty, make sure to check out my step-by-step guide to planning the perfect trip.
How do you like to travel without leaving your home? Let me know in the comments below!