I love having plans to look forward to on the calendar. My weekends are usually full of events or trips that Tyler and I have planned. There’s a reason the blog is called “Stuck On The Go.”
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For those of you who are like me, I’m sure this is a strange time for you too. COVID-19 has forced people to change their lives around in a few short months. All of the plans that I was looking forward to have suddenly disappeared.
Don’t get me wrong, I am actually enjoying the change of pace. It’s nice to spend a weekend at home and have a chance to clean, cook, and get some work done on this blog. At the same time, I’m chomping at the bit to plan another trip somewhere and see something new.
Anyone else with me?
I don’t want to belittle what’s happening either. This is a terrible time for many people especially those who are sick or have lost loved ones. I know there are more important things happening in the world than the things I’m currently worried about. But sometimes we just need something good to think about.
There are a few ways that I satisfy this urge to constantly make travel plans. I thought I would share them with you in case anyone here is in the same boat.
What to Do When You’re Stuck at Home
When I was younger, reading was one of my absolute favorite things to do. Looking back now it makes sense. Books open up different worlds to you even when you’re just sitting in that favorite chair in your living room or a swing in your backyard.
A couple of my personal favorites are The Book Thief and Cutting for Stone. The Book Thief follows a young girl in Germany during WWII and yes, she steals books. Cutting for Stone is about twin brothers who were orphaned in Ethiopia. Both are interested in the medical field and move between Ethiopia and NYC due to the unrest in Ethiopia.
Some other great suggestions come from Traveling Ness – 21 Best Travel Books to Fuel Your Wanderlust and On the Luce – 30 Wanderlust-Inspiring Books for Travellers. I think I’ll be adding most of these to my reading list but especially On The Road, The Year of Living Danishly, and Wild: A Journey From Lost to Found.
Tyler (my husband) would suggest the Joe Pickett Series by C.J. Box. Joe Pickett is a game warden in the state of Wyoming. The series is like a crime/mystery/thriller that follows Joe and his family’s life out in the country.
If you don’t have any of these on hand you can purchase ebooks from Amazon or through the iBookstore from Apple. Download the Kindle app for iPhone/iPad if you want to purchase from Amazon.
I try to stay away from movies because I feel like I’m not being very productive when watching them but they can be so dang good. My recommendation for a movie is actually a throwback to The Lizzie McGuire Movie. Lizzie goes on a high school trip to Rome and meets a famous pop singer but the story ends with a twist.
Related: What to Do in Rome: A Complete Guide
A few that I would love to watch are Into the Wild, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and A Walk in the Woods. I’ve recently started a new series on Netflix called Virgin River that’s set in Northern California where the scenery is absolutely incredible. Good show too.
A few other resources I recommend on this are Full Suitcase – 21 Best Travel Movies that Will Inspire Your Wanderlust and Earthtrekkers – Best Travel Movies to Inspire the Wanderer in You.
Magazines are different from books because they have some of the most beautiful pictures. Instead of traveling through the words, the pictures transport you to other places. This one is a bit harder if you don’t already subscribe, but you can get magazines through the Kindle and iBookstore also.
Travel related magazines that I subscribe to are Condé Nast Traveler, Southern Living, and Our State Magazine. Condé Nast covers global travel. Southern Living is all about the southern United States but includes lifestyle categories like cooking, home decor, and gardening. Our State covers travel in North Carolina.
Another one I love is Magnolia by Joanna Gaines, but it doesn’t have much travel content. It’s still worth every penny.
I will preface this by saying: please do your research and verify that you are allowed to go to certain places outdoors. You still must practice social distancing. Getting some sun and fresh air is always a good idea, but especially during this time. Plus walking or hiking is great exercise.
Some great options for getting outside are National Parks, National Forests, and State Parks. Be sure to check the websites (www.nps.gov) and for North Carolina (www.ncparks.gov). North Carolina has closed a few state parks due to the virus and the National Parks have begun closing.
Another option is local parks if you’re in a larger city. Many remain open, they have just suspended events but again, be sure to check their website.
If none of these are an option for you, then sit on your front porch or balcony for part of the day! For me, just sitting outside for an hour or two does my heart good.
There are SO MANY places offering virtual tours now. Museums, National Parks, Zoos, you name it. If you’re stuck inside all day this is a great opportunity to experience some different scenery. I’ll list below some of the options I’ve found.
Museums: Google has teamed up with museums around the world to offer virtual tours of over 2,500 of them. Incredible right? Some that I personally recommend are the Uffizi Gallery (Italy), Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), and the Palace of Versailles (France).
National Parks: On Google Earth as of right now you can virtually tour 31 different National Parks in the United States. This is perfect if you’re one of those people who can’t get outside safely. A few that I’m looking forward to are Acadia, Glacier, Joshua Tree, and Yosemite. You can find the virtual tours here. Google Arts and Culture offers 113 more tours that you can access here.
Zoos: Many zoos are getting creative on social media. If you check out the facebook and instagram pages of zoos in San Diego, Oregon, Dallas, Cincinnati, and even our North Carolina Zoo they are all posting videos featuring their animals. The best of both worlds – entertaining and educational!
Others: The Metropolitan Opera is live streaming opera performances every night.You can now tour Disney World through Google street view. Try a one week free trial of BroadwayHD and stream popular Broadway shows.
Food is one of the most important parts of experiencing another culture. Honestly it’s one of my favorite parts of traveling. If you’re adventurous in the kitchen then why not try out a new recipe?
Pinterest is a great resource; I just searched “international recipes” and got some great results. If you want a recipe from a specific country then just search “popular Irish recipes” or “popular Greek recipes.” Have fun with it and look up the history of the recipe also.
Cooking is a great way to bond with family too. I grew up cooking with my grandma and those are times I won’t forget. Try to get your husband involved (even if he protests) or if you have kids ask them to give you some help.
I started to title this section beer, but beer isn’t the only drink that countries claim. How could I neglect Italian wine!? If beer or wine isn’t your thing get creative with a mixed drink.
When I think beer I immediately think a German Hefeweizen or a Czech Pilsner. For wine try to find a Chianti at your local grocery store from Italy. If they don’t have that then go with a Malbec from Argentina. Try a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
I’m not a liquor expert and definitely don’t know much about mixed drinks. I do know Ireland is famous for whiskey and Russia for vodka.
Learn Something New
Tyler and I both love music. Every so often we’ll turn on some music and dance in the kitchen. If you love to dance then what about trying to learn a new one from a different country? Here’s an article from the Travel Channel “14 Ways to Dance Around the World.” Look these up on Youtube and try it out!
Ever wanted to learn Tai Chi, practice yoga, or learn karate? This is the perfect time. Youtube can be a wonderful place.
Do you have an instrument sitting around that you’ve been meaning to learn how to play? If so, try to learn some different genres of music! Don’t stop with popular genres in the US, look up different types of music in your favorite country.
Music can take you back to a certain place quicker than anything I know. Is there a certain song that you associate with a place? Turn it on and let it take you there.
Listen to a genre that’s associated with a certain country. Reggae for the Caribbean, listen to some Spanish music if you love Spain, Irish Folk Music for Ireland. Wherever you’re dreaming of going I know they’ve got their own type of music.
Read Your Travel Journal or Start a Blog!
Do you have a travel journal? If not, please please please start one! I have a gorgeous leather bound journal that I bought while in Florence and I write about all the trips, big or small, that I take in it. You don’t have to have a fancy one just buy a $2 notebook and start it in that.
You’ll be so surprised when you read about a trip you took two years later and realize how much you’ve forgotten. It’s therapeutic to journal anyways.
If pen and paper isn’t your thing, start a blog and document your travels that way. You don’t have to go all out and self-host on WordPress. There are so many options to start a free site through Wix or Squarespace. I read posts about starting blogs for a looooong time before I started mine.
Starting a blog opens up a whole other world of travel! You meet so many like minded people who love traveling also. Plus you know how when you come back from a trip and it seems like no one wants to hear about it? Other travel bloggers LOVE talking about travel. So you’ve got a whole tribe!
Traveling While You’re Stuck at Home
I hope you like at least a few of these ideas and they inspire you to use your imagination during this time. The last thing I want to mention is to use this time to plan your next dream vacation! You may not know for sure when you can leave, but it’s the perfect time to do all the research and figure out where to go and what to do.
Everyone stay safe and if you have an idea to add I’d love to hear it!