Half in a daydream, my bags already mentally packed – I’m a person that is always conspiring towards my next trip. In fact, our suitcases were barely back in the closet after an escape to St. Pete Beach, FL in late February when the world went into quarantine. And while, judging by Instagram at least, it does seem like people are moving about the country right now on summer trips – we have no plans to do the same (in the immortal words of JVN – “Just because you Ameri-CAN, doesn’t mean you Ameri-SHOULD”). And the rest of the world won’t even have us. Which leaves me without any travel plans for the first time in about a decade.
To fill the void, I’ve started to think about how I could bring the feeling of travel home instead. And here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Escape into a Book or Movie instead. Dreaming of Paris? Pick a rainy afternoon, pop the champagne and have a movie marathon – I love Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, Sabrina with Audrey Hepburn and Midnight in Paris (minus the connection to Woody Allen). Had to cancel your summer getaway to Italy? I read Call Me By Your Name earlier this year and then watched the movie all in one weekend and felt totally transported. I can’t wait to read ‘From Scratch’ a memoir set in Sicily next.
Cook a Dish from that Region. I think we can all agree that trying the local flavors is one of the best parts of traveling. And has there ever been a better time to learn something new in the kitchen? Try recreating that amazing paella you had in Spain, find the recipe for those biscuits you fell in love with in South Carolina or learn to make sushi before that dream trip to Japan. Admittedly, I am not the world’s most innovative cook, but I actually love doing this with cocktails. I whip up a French75 when I want to reminisce about Paris and 8 years after a trip to Arizona, I’m still trying to recreate a perfect spicy tequila cocktail I sipped there.
Sort Your Travel Photos. This always seems like such a chore – but at the beginning of quarantine I sorted through our travel photos to find all of my “front door” pictures and saved them to a separate folder in my phone. I plan to get them printed into a coffee table type book, but even now – just looking at them all grouped together makes me feel happy and takes me back to the places where the snapshot was taken.
Dress for the Trip You Want. I don’t think it comes as any surprise that I take a lot of joy in planning the outfits I’m going to wear on any particular trip. I like to try and add a little bit of the feeling of that destination into my wardrobe. And even if I can’t pack my bags – I could still dress up for a movie night at home in my favorite French-inspired look, mais non?
Do Your Research Now. Shy of actually booking your flight – now would be a great time to dig into researching some of the places you’d like to go in the future. I like to use a mix of Instagram (search hashtags of cities or tagged locations) and Google Maps (I star anywhere I want to visit and then plan each day of the trip based on what’s grouped nearby). It’s the equivalent of hitting ‘add to cart’ and then not going through checkout. I really do still get a little rush of endorphins just from the planning.
Happy virtual travel friends!