There’s no doubt that life today looks a lot different than it did a few months ago. COVID-19 has left its mark on communities across the globe, and many will be forever changed as a result.
For a year that held such promise, 2020 has undeniably failed to live up to its hype.
But this is our new norm — at least for now. And for travelers who lust for exploration but are at home in isolation, now’s the time to get a little creative.
We’ve put together some ideas to help you satisfy your urge to escape, while allowing you to stay home and continue to practice social distancing. If nothing else, we hope this blog post offers you a break in your day and sparks your imagination.
Note: None of the products or services mentioned in this blog are sponsored.
1. Take a virtual trip around the world.
Before we got married in 2017, I took a virtual trip around the world to create a one-of-a-kind wedding gift for Mike. I detailed the whole project in this blog post, but here’s a summary:
A network of people across the globe helped me assemble a photo album filled with pictures of notecards, all with the following sentence: “Mike, Emily’s love for you is so strong, it has reached [location].” Each picture featured a unique backdrop of stunning vistas or iconic landmarks.
How did I do it? I joined various Facebook groups for people looking to create similar projects. Essentially, I offered to write/photograph their notecards and, in return, they would write/photograph mine.
In today’s world, this may be a little more challenging, as some regions have restricted non-essential travel, so be sure to check your local guidelines before committing to this project.
That said, maybe you don’t need to go far to find the perfect backdrop. With spring upon us, maybe you have flowers blooming in your garden or a cherry blossom or magnolia tree that you can offer as a backdrop for trading. Don’t discount the beauty that’s in your own backyard!
For more details on this project, click here.
2. Exchange postcards with friends and family members.
In the not-so-futuristic world we live in today, perhaps we’ll see a resurgence in good ol’ snail mail. Yes, video chats and virtual happy hours are all the rage (and for good reason — they’re helping us stay social even when we can’t be near each other), but consider reconnecting with friends while indulging in nostalgia.
When Mike and I travel, we always try to pick up a postcard and mail it to ourselves with a little note that captures the spirit of our adventure. That way, we can look back in 20 years and read what our lives were like in that exact moment in time.
Since you can’t hop on a plane or go on a road trip, try exchanging postcards with friends and family members from the comfort of your own home. Or connect with a few of your trusted IG followers and exchange postcards with them.
We recently tried out the app, TouchNote, which allows you to create custom postcards using your own photos — right on your phone, without leaving your couch.
Take a picture with your quarantine buddy, find your favorite travel photo or dig up old pictures of you and your family. Add your note and the recipient’s address, then send away!
Download the app or check out the website for pricing details.
3. Make a travel photo book of your favorite adventures.
Let’s be honest: If you’re a travel blogger, only a fraction of the photos you take will ever make it on Instagram or your website. That means hundreds (or if you’re like me, thousands) of memories will disappear into your phone’s abyss, never to be seen again.
All those spontaneous, perfectly imperfect moments you captured could be lost forever. Don’t you want to remember that croque monsieur in Paris that changed your life? Or the cute selfie you took on the plane with your travel buddy?
If you haven’t made a travel photo book for your adventures, now’s a great time to get started. Pick your favorite trip, sift through all your old photos and make an account on Shutterfly.
While Shutterfly offers a “Make My Book” service, I recommend choosing the Custom Path, so you can design your travel book exactly how you want. There are plenty of coupons for photo books, too, so be sure to check the site’s special offers and your email for promotions.
Visit Shutterfly to get started today.
4. Organize and display your travel mementos.
OK, we may or may not be hoarders… We collect a lot of things from our travels: postcards, magnets, Christmas ornaments and Starbucks “Been There” mugs, among other knick-knacks.
If you’re anything like us, maybe you have a collection of similar items, but nowhere to showcase them. Get crafty and make a shadow box, install shelves in your home to display your favorite souvenirs, frame your paper mementos and create a stunning gallery wall, or find some spare shoe boxes and make memory boxes for some of your recent trips.
Take some time to relive your adventures. I don’t know about you, but any time I look at one of our knick-knacks, I’m reminded of a specific moment during our travels. Sit down with your significant other or travel buddy and reminisce about your favorite travel memories.
5. Tour some of the best museums & art galleries in the world (virtually).
It’s 2020, and despite the terrible year it’s been so far, at least we have technology to keep us somewhat sane while we’re staying home. Many renowned museums and art galleries are leveraging today’s tech to deliver virtual experiences that allow people like you and me to sit on our couches and enjoy some of what they have to offer.
There are several great resources with links to these virtual experiences:
The Good Housekeeping resource above even includes zoos, aquariums and theme parks that offer digital tours. So while you may not get in as many steps (well… you won’t get in any steps), there are still plenty of ways to stay entertained.
During a time when we can’t physically travel beyond our own homes, these activities can offer a little escape from reality and, in some cases, give you a reason to take a trip down memory lane.
Do you have any activities to add to the list? Share in the comments below!