As a travel writer for more than 10 years, I loved and cherished my jet-setting lifestyle. Last March, all that brought me joy was stripped away in a matter of weeks. Trips to Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and other destinations I was eager to visit were cancelled. I had to pivot to writing about other topics (outdoors and pets, which I love), but that deep desire to experience this wonderful world of ours burned inside me. I had written for Forbes about ways to virtually travel via live feeds and binge-worthy TV shows that transport viewers to beautiful locales. But I needed more. I needed something to keep that wanderlust alive for my sanity. So, in the course of this past year, I decided that if I can’t go places, I can bring them to me. I made a few changes to my everyday life that quenched a bit of that travel thirst and brought me moments of happiness.
The CDC still does not recommend unnecessary travel for the time being, unless you are vaccinated. Yes, folks are getting vaccinated at an accelerated pace (Thank you, President Biden!), but it might be months before we can all freely travel internationally without worrying about infecting others.
Here, I share some tips on how you, too, can travel without leaving your couch.
1) Download a New Tab extension for Google Chrome that showcases beautiful pictures from around the globe. I use the Nature – Ocean Beach & Space Galaxy New Tab extension (naturally!), but there are other extensions you can download and be delighted each time you open a new tab.
2) Change your ringtone from some boring bundled noise to something exciting like an ABBA song, especially those featured in Mamma Mia! (or its sequel). These songs automatically transport me to Greece. I sometimes use a celtic ringtone from an app that takes me to Ireland and Scotland every time the phone rings.
3) Listen to the Calm app’s meditation or sleep stories. My favorite is Blue Gold by Stephen Fry about meandering through the lavender fields and sleepy villages of Provence, France. Calm also has sleep stories from Iceland, Africa, Belize and more.
4) Order jewelry from other countries on Etsy or through the UNICEF Market. This has three benefits — First, I get trinkets from places like India, Thailand, Scotland, and Greece delivered to my door and getting packages from these places boosts my mood momentarily when I open the mailbox. Second, it benefits artists who make beautiful pieces of art. Lastly, by purchasing from the UNICEF market, you are helping children in need.
5) Escape to another location via Window Swap, a website that literally gives you a glimpse from the window of someone else’s world. Simply click the “Open a new window somewhere in the world” bar on the screen and get randomly transported to Cornwall (UK), New Zealand, or Israel (to name a few). There’s no limit to how many times you can change the view, so click away to see and hear the sounds of places you’ve dreamed about. Who needs Doctor Who’s Tardis, right?
6) Watch a Bollywood movie on a streaming service. Hindi-language, Indian films with upbeat song and dance sequences set in magical destinations like Turkey, Corsica, and Australia are perfect for escaping the quarantine doldrums. I stream these films with subtitles on Netflix and Amazon Prime every once in a while when I need an escape. Some of my favorites are listed below:
- Bachna Ae Haseeno – Europe and Australia (Amazon Prime)
- Chalte Chalte – Greece (Netflix)
- Chennai Express – South India (Netflix)
- Dhoom 2 – Namibia, Durban, and Rio de Janeiro (Netflix)
- Dil Chahta Hai – Australia (Netflix)
- Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge – Switzerland (Amazon Prime)
- Dostana Florida – (Amazon Prime)
- Ek Tha Tiger – Ireland, Turkey, Cuba, and Thailand (Amazon Prime)
- Jab Harry Met Sejal – Various European Cities (Netflix)
- Jab We Met – Himachal Pradesh, India (Amazon Prime)
- Kites – Nevada and New Mexico (Amazon Prime)
- pK – Belgium (Netflix)
- Tamasha – Corsica (Netflix)
- Queen – Paris and Amsterdam (Netflix)
- Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – Spain (Netflix)