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How to Keep Your Wanderlust Alive in the Middle of a Travel Ban

Apr 30th, 2020 | jfinney@talktotucker.com

Almost overnight, the pandemic caused by COVID-19 has caused travel to be restricted and borders everywhere to close. International flights are being cancelled. Travel between the states is being discouraged. Many of us have put our travel plans to the side as we collectively self-quarantine for safety.

Self-distancing and social isolation are important right now, but so is keeping your dreams of adventure alive. Nurturing your wanderlust while you’re stuck at home can help take the bite out of your boredom and make it easier to plan for the future.

Here are three ways that you can sustain your adventurous spirit while you’re stuck at home:

Take a Virtual Tour

Thanks to the power of modern technology, you can keep exploring the world without ever leaving your couch. Exploring via computer may pale in comparison to the real thing — but it can also give you insights into where you might want to visit in-person once the travel bans are lifted.

Some of the top virtual tours that are attracting online visitors in droves include:

  • The Winchester Mystery House: Purchased in 1884 by Sarah Winchester and sitting on 160 acres of beautiful land in Santa Clara Valley, the Winchester mansion is famously designed to dispel ghosts and evil spirits by confusing them. A tangled web of rooms, doors, staircases and windows span 24,000 square feet — and it’s easy to lose yourself in them as you peek into the home’s mysterious past.
  • The Paris Catacombs: Another jaw-dropping virtual experience can lead you through the Catacombs below Paris that house the skeletal remains of more than 6 million people. The Catacombs have always been one of France’s most popular attractions, and the 360-degree experience offered by the virtual tour is amazing.
  • The British Museum: You can view more than 60 of the museum’s galleries online, and even take a peek at the Rosetta Stone or explore its Oceania collection. The museum’s doors first opened in 1753 and the collection it has amassed in the last 250 or so years is nothing short of spectacular.

There are more notable attractions offering virtual tours every day, so fire up your laptop or tablet and let your mind soar — even if your body can’t follow right now.

Binge on Some Travel Shows

Maybe you’re feeling the blues and can’t muster the energy to do a virtual tour. That’s okay — nobody has to be productive during a pandemic if they don’t want to be. But you can still experience a global adventure from the comfort of your couch by binge-watching some of the wonderful shows that are dedicated to armchair travelers.

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube and other channels all have compelling offerings, including:

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown: Easily one of the best travel shows out there, the former chief created 12 impressive seasons before his death in 2018. You can visually explore the culture and cuisine throughout numerous places in the United States — or find yourself vicariously enjoying far-flung places like South Africa, Russia and Mexico City.
  • Departures: Have you always dreamed of backpacking around the world with a buddy? Well, Departures offers a glimpse into what can happen when you do just that. An unscripted show that’s full of adventure, Departures allows you to experience both the intellectual high of exploring the world and the fun of just playing games and partying with the locals wherever you are.
  • Dark Tourism: Do you like to really go off the beaten path? If you like your adventures to be a little gritty and occasionally scary, Dark Tourism may be just the ticket you need to keep your venturesome spirit occupied. Check out a haunted forest, a voodoo celebration and a Japanese city abandoned after a nuclear disaster, among other places.

There are so many different shows dedicated to travel that it’s impossible to list them all — so let your streaming service help you explore them all.

Create a Travel Plan For the Future

One of the best ways to keep from stressing too much about the present is to plan for the future. The travel restrictions won’t last forever. While you’re waiting to get started on your next big adventure, consider doing the following things:

  • Make a map of your travels: A world map can help you visualize where you’ve been and revisit those happy memories. It can also help you plot out your next trip in advance and explore transportation and vacation options around the world.
  • Read travel journals, books and magazines: Just flipping through the pages of a travel magazine or National Geographic can help kindle your excitement for the next journey.
  • Create a vision board for your upcoming travels: Grab a pair of scissors and cut out pictures from those magazines of places you want to see in person. Add some notes about important cultural sites you want to visit in the area and local dishes you want to try.
  • Try a few international dishes. If you’ve got extra time on your hands, it might be fun to recreate some of your favorite foriegn dishes — or try some new ones. After all, food is all part of the travel experience, no matter where you are.

Once you’re finally able to travel again, you’ll be able to use your research to better inform your choices as you head out on your next exploration. In the meantime, your notes and photos give you a tangible connection to your dream vacation or next destination.

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