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While the travel industry and especially international travel is put on hold for the foreseeable future, it’s time to get creative to cure the never-ending wanderlust for us, travelers. Just because we can’t physically be sitting on a beach somewhere on the other side of the world and sipping margarita, it doesn’t mean we can’t still immerse ourselves in different travel experiences. Well, at least from the comfort of our home.
Here is the list of things and experiences you can do to cure your wanderlust a bit and travel virtually for now. Be it reading a book, watching a movie or even learning a new language, we can still travel virtually and see the world.
Watch travel movies
You’d be surprised how many amazing travel movies there are. Some of my all time favourites include:
- The Tourist – Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, a bit of action and a lot of Italian scenery that will make you want to visit Venice at least once in your lifetime.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Wild – a woman with one hell of baggage decides to trek the famous Pacific Crest Trail ( ~ 1,770 km). If you want to see a different side of the US, this is the movie for you.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Before Sunrise / Before Sunset / Before Midnight – for all those romance lovers out there. Trilogy from three destinations: Vienna, Paris and the Greek Islands.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Into The Wild – a guy who recently graduated throws away all his possessions and decides to hitchhike across America. This movie WILL make you want to start packing your bags and throwing away all your life to travel the world.⠀⠀
- The Way – a very heart-warming story about a father who goes overseas to recover the body of his son, who died while trekking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and eventually decides to trek the whole route himself.
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – a laid-back movie which includes extraordinary adventure in the Himalayas, Afganistan, Iceland, Greenland and many more beautiful destinations that you’ll definitely want to visit after watching the movie.
- The Bucket List – classic Hollywood movie that will make you laugh and your heart melt. Filmed in various locations around the world: China, India, Egypt, Tanzania, the US, France.
- Free Solo – a bit different than other travel movies, but it’s a super inspiring documentary about a professional rock climber. He attempts to conquer the first free solo climb of the El Capitan’s 900-metre vertical rock face at Yosemite National Park. An extraordinary individual who has my unconditional respect.
Watch travel TV shows
Not going to lie, TV shows are the second best thing on earth asides from travel for me. I could literally spend hours watching one show if it’s that good. So if you’re more of a TV shows person, here are some of my recommendations.
- Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – one of the best travel shows, hands down. Anthony explores less known regions and cultures while tasting different cuisines all around the world. All around inspiration and eye-opening show.
- Race Across The World – a British competition show which showcases how teams of two compete against each other and try to race all around the world as fast as possible and reach the destination with any transport except using planes. The perfect watch for all those backpackers out there.
- An Idiot Abroad – very humorous show which follows a man who literally would rather do anything else but travel. His friend, comedian Ricky Gervais, send him off on different adventures around the world which end up not only hilarious but quite insightful as well. The show perfectly portrays how travel can impact a person.
- Dark Tourist – not the most uplifting and joyful show but super interesting watch. Journalist David Farrier explores the world’s most dangerous, scariest, tragic and weirdest places with so much enthusiasm that it makes you question whenever you should do the same one day.
Read travel books
If you love books and travel, why not combine both of your passions into one by reading a travel book. While I haven’t read whole much travel books, there are a few that are definitely worth a read.
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – a holy bible for solo female travellers. This book is a sign that you need to give solo travel a chance. Based in Italy, India and Indonesia.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – an enchanting story about an Andalusian shepherd who wants to travel the world. This book is all about following your dreams and learning the meaning of love and life.
- The Beach by Alex Garland – a story about backpacking and going off the beaten path in search of paradise. A beautiful book with valuable life lessons that can be applied to everyday life.
- Vagabonding by Rolf Potts – a book by a full-time traveller who has been doing it for 10 years already and is eager to tell the truth of what it’s like and how can anyone do it too.⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris – a memoir of a woman who spent one year cycling the Silk Road. The book contemplates about such questions as: where do you go when you feel that every place on earth has already been visited by millions before you? Is there any place left to discover?
Travel the world with Google street view
Once upon a time, Google Street View was the only way I could travel to the places that I really wanted to and today it is as relevant as ever. I mean, what a better way to explore the streets of Barcelona, wander around Machu Picchu or hike up Hollywood sign without queues?
Get comfortable in your home, grab some snacks, a drink and off you go! You’d be surprised how addicting it can get once you start.
Travelling isn’t always about landscapes and food, sometimes it’s more about experiencing the local culture and putting yourself in their shoes. For example, learning the basics of the language.
I always learn at least a few words of the local language when travelling and now that we have more free time on our hands, I’ve been polishing up my Spanish skills with LearnLanguages24.com. What I love about this company is that they provide lifetime access to online courses that have 7 000 words and phrases, which is at least twice as much as all other language course providers.
They even have Lithuanian courses!
So if you want to learn a few languages or at least polish up the ones you already know, they are offering a temporary 60% discount, with lifetime access. Also, I teamed up with LearnLanguages24 and they kindly provided an exclusive 3 for the price of 1 special offer that is only available to you, readers of TNM.
So if you purchase a course you will receive any two additional courses of your choice for free, regardless of the language or the price. The free courses can be for the same language or a different language. The 3 for the price of 1 also applies if you purchase the full range of courses for your chosen language. You will receive the full range of courses for any two other languages for free.
You can pass all of your courses on to your family and / or friends as beneficial gifts, at any time in the future, regardless of the extent you have used the courses.
All you have to do is simply purchase a course/courses from https://www.learnlanguages24.com. THEN send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org mentioning my name and the courses you would like for free. It’s that easy.
So if you’re serious about learning a new language, this is the time to do so.
Cook a meal from your favourite country
One of my favorite ways to experience the culture is through their food. You’d be surprised how much it can tell about the people’s history and mentality. So if you feel like cooking, you can choose a destination and make a traditional whole three-course meal.
If you need a few suggestions:
- Italy – homemade pasta, pizza, tiramisu, classic Spritz or a bottle of fine Italian wine.
- France – crepes, creme brulee, souffle, a bottle of wine or any of popular french cocktails.
- Mexico – tacos or burrito with guacamole, a glass of margarita, churros.
Watch travel vlogs
If you watched every travel movie there is or you want a bit more realistic and real-life experience, watching travel vlogs could a perfect escape for you. There are so many incredible people on YouTube who document their adventures and even give useful tips as well. If you’re into backpacking, adventurous and less luxurious travel, you’ll love these channels:
- Backpacking Bananas – Christianne is one of those first travel channels that I discovered and she is also the reason why I decided to plan a long-term backpacking trip around Southeast Asia. Her past travel vlogs will show you around Central and South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
- Eamon & Beck – literally the kindest and most amazing pair of travellers out there. Eamon and Beck are Canadian travel couple who decided to travel the world in their converted van. I won’t even bother listing all the countries that they explored but I highly recommend checking their channel. Their most recent trip (before pandemic) was to Morocco.
- Wild We Roam – I will never shut up about how much respect and love I have for Dana and Lou. The most kind-hearted and earth-loving travellers out there. They travelled around Europe in their van for two years and now are starting a new sailing adventure with their newly bought boat.
- Flying The Nest – Australian couple (and new parents as well!) who travelled around almost all continents and produce very beautiful travel vlogs. Their travel style is definitely more on the comfortable rather than budget side but their genuine curiosity and excitement for travel bought me.
- Gabriel Traveler – Gabriel is a travel veteran if I may say. This man has been travelling for a three decades now and had so many adventures that I can only dream of. The best part is that Gabriel shares everything about his trips and how he manages to travel so much on such a small budget. I especially loved his Everest Base camp hike videos as they made me believe that one day I’ll be able to hike the same trail myself.
- Homemade Wanderlust – Dixie is a wild soul who documented all of her thru-hikes in video and shares the most useful advice on hiking, backpacking and camping. I absolutely loved her Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail and Camino de Santiago documentaries.
- The Wandering Quinn – fellow travel blogger and now YouTuber as well. I simply love how real Quinn’s vlogs are and that she showcases how affordable can travel really be. Also, she mostly shared content on Asia, so if you planning a trip there someday, you definitely have to check out her channel.
Take virtual museum or gallery tour
We are so lucky to be living in times when a virtual museum tour is a possibility. And with the current situation, it seems like almost all galleries and world museums are offering free virtual tours which is amazing. Some that you definitely have to check out are these:
- Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam)
- Picasso Museum (Barcelona)
- Faroe Islands Virtual Tour (Denmark)
- The Giants Causeway (Ireland)
- US Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington, DC)
- Machu Picchu (Peru)
- Louvre (Paris)
- Coliseum (Rome)
- Natural History Museum (London)
- Ruins of Pompeii (Pompeii)
What other virtual travel experiences you’ve done?