Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, travel has been understandably restricted. For those, like me, who have a distinctly high sense of wanderlust that has only increased during lockdown, travel is not canceled – it just looks different.
For those wanting to travel during their time at home, here are a few suggestions:
For the cultural travelers: Travel documentaries can give you a visual experience of the place you’ve always wanted to visit – and they are often more in depth than if you actually were to go to that place. Try National “Parks Adventure,” “Fish People,” “Pedal the World” or “Jack Whitehall: Travels with my Father” – all of which are on Netflix. If museum hopping is more your thing, you can virtually visit many museums from around the world and take in countless masterpieces all from the comfort of your couch. There is a virtual museum tour for virtually any interest you may have – including a tour of Queen Nefertari: Eternal Egypt at Kansas City’s own Nelson-Atkins museum. Other top museum visits include tours of The Louvre, The British Museum and the Van Gogh Museum.
For the food adventurers: Food is crucially important to understanding the world’s cultures and, thankfully, still a plentiful option for those wanting to recreate a country’s cuisine from home. Kansas City has plenty of restaurants from which you can order take-out to take your taste buds on a journey from home. Try crêpes from Chez Elle or Seven Swans Crêperie for a visit to France, menudo from Teocali to get a taste of Mexico or pho from Vietnam Cafe for some authentic Vietnamese flavor. These are just a few of the options – searching for take-out from around the world in your own city can become a fun trip in and of itself. Another fun way to travel during lockdown is by cooking up a geographically themed dinner with your family. Search out authentic recipes from a country you’d like to “visit,” decorate and dress up as accurately as you can while you and your family spend time learning how to create a different country’s cuisine. Of course, your food adventures can be finished off with a viewing of one of the many food documentaries – such as “Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner” – on your streaming services.
For the learners: For those who prefer to learn everything you can about places you’d like to visit, the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) is now offering online study abroad programs. Through the program, you can study in one of 13 programs in nine countries while learning language from international teachers, taking cooking classes, career workshops and a $500 scholarship towards a study abroad program in the future. For more travel-oriented learning, order books from a local bookshop like Prospero’s, Wiseblood or Rainy Day Books to support our independent Kansas City sellers as your book takes you on a journey to a place you’ve always wanted to visit.
While we can’t physically travel during the pandemic, there are plenty of ways to bring the feelings and experiences of travel to your house in a virtual or homemade way. Take a class, read a book, watch a film or cook a new dish to experience cultures other than your own – all while preparing to be a better, more intentional traveler in the future.