As the Coronavirus crisis carries on, we must all do our bit to help overcome this disease and bring the world back to normal. For the majority of us, this is a case of simply confining ourselves to our homes and following the social distancing practices imposed on us by our respective governments. Staying at home might be easy for some, but for others, it may be highly distressing. We all know it is a hardship we have to bear, and nothing compared to the amazing work healthcare workers are doing every day. That doesn’t mean, however, that we shouldn’t be paying close attention to our personal wellbeing, making sure we treat ourselves and looking after our physical and mental health.
Missing out on a holiday may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, but it can be hugely disappointing, especially if you’d been planning it for some time. With this guide, we give some tips and guidance on how to recreate that holiday feeling at home in order to get the most out of isolation and ultimately make the situation as enjoyable as possible; we may be here for some time after all!
Chasing That Feeling
What feeling are you chasing when you go on holiday? Regardless of where you go, we tend to always seek out the same sensations: warm sun rays on your skin, new flavours and smells, falling into the pages of a gripping book, or the thrill of accomplishment as you summit a dreamed-of peak. Sometimes we just want to get away and empty our heads, sometimes we want to hurl ourselves into adventure. Whatever it is though, these feelings aren’t usually tied to one place, and sometimes it just takes the right smell or sensation to bring it all back.
For Those Chasing Sun and Relaxation…
Touch: If you have a garden, lucky you! Now get in it. As the sun breaks through the clouds, get out your rug, book and cool drink and bask. The sun is the sun, and even if you’re not in California, letting the warmth wash over you feels the same the world over. If you’re not so lucky to have a garden, sometimes the right set up by a window can have the same effect. Go around your house and monitor the light patterns. Which window gets the most sunlight in the mornings? Which in the afternoons? If you have to move around some furniture to set out a little sunbathing nook, it might be worth a rearrange.
Hear: Still sitting on that holiday playlist from 2019? Or perhaps you’d already made one in anticipation of your next big trip. Sure, you may not be listening to Lana Del Rey whilst driving along the coast of Spain with your best friends, but music can be the ultimate way to transport you to happier places. Get friends to collaborate on a playlist so you can all share your music discoveries and blast the same songs in the car when you eventually reunite. Finally, sleep sound apps or YouTube videos can even bring the soundscape of your holiday right into your ears. Miss the sounds of the ocean at night? Or what about the cosy rumble of a sleeper train? If you can imagine it, there’s probably a soundscape of it.
Taste: You know that type of food you only ever have on holiday? Like tomato salads with lots of mozzarella and balsamic vinegar. Or barbecues with skewers of pepper and mushrooms. What about that feeling of being at an ocean-side restaurant in the cool warmth of the evening, with a glass of white wine and some fresh seafood? Set out an evening with your family or flatmates and cook something special together. Mix up a jug of a summery cocktail and don’t hold back. If you want cocktail umbrellas, then get cocktail umbrellas!
Smell: They say your sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses for bringing back memories, so use it to transport you somewhere relaxing. Get the barbecue going in the garden, whip up that dish that always reminds you of a special trip, and keep the windows wide open so the smells of spring can waft through the house.
See: Although it’s great that we can use social media to stay in contact with friends, endless Zoom calls and Instagram challenges can start to feel exhausting, and add to the anxiety and addiction we already experience at the hands of our phones. Just like a regular holiday, use this time to switch off and get away. If that means hiding your phone in a drawer for a day, go for it. Instead, dig out that pile of books you’d been saving for the beach and devote your day to reading in the sun. Alternatively, this may be a good time to organise travel memories from previous trips, either by sorting your travel pictures into a scrapbook or generating a digital scratch map with them using apps like Skratch.
For Those Chasing Adventure and Thrills…
For the more thrill-seeking of us, staying indoors can be its own form of torture. With a whole world out there to be explored, no amount of video games or 5k running challenges can recreate the feeling of being out where adventure awaits. Skiing, surfing, trekking and paragliding will all have to wait, but it is important to recognise that it will all still be there when we get out of this. Just because you might not be able to go in 2020 doesn’t mean 2021 won’t bring incredible, life-changing adventures. Use this time instead for self-reflection, taking on new hobbies and skills, and planning up new trips for the future. Having said that, here’s how to maximise your sense of adventure from home and release some of that exploratory energy…
See: Sure, you may have scaled Kilimanjaro, but have you ever actually stopped to explore your local area? It might be that there are hidden gems right on your doorstep. Now is the time to check out those woods you’ve seen marked on that map, or experience the views from the hills you’ve always seen in the distance. Pitch a tent in your garden and practice a bit of eco-tourism – all the adventure of the outdoors but without the carbon footprint of international flights. If you live in more of an urban area and are still permitted to leave the house, use this time to investigate a city experiencing a time like no other. Take photos, write a journal, and throw yourself into documenting the stories of a city in lockdown.
Touch: Adventure sports often take fitness and stamina, and what better time to work on that than a globally enforced lockdown? Watch videos for inspiration, clear a space in your house/flat, and use this time to train. Set yourself personal goals or team up with friends. Staying active is vital for your mental and physical health and can help reduce feelings of restlessness and tedium.
Hear: If you can’t be out there experiencing the adventure, you can always bring the adventure to you. Get inspired by thrilling podcasts or audiobooks, and experience the goose-bumps through their stories. Who knows, perhaps people’s tales will inspire a new hobby or your next trip once lockdown is over.
Taste: Sometimes the best part of a trip is gathering together in the evenings; huddling around a campfire, sipping a thermos of soup and playing cards. Recreate this feeling by organising a video-chat with old travel buddies. Cook something nostalgic, grab a beer and swap stories of old memories.
For Those Chasing New Cultural Experiences…
It’s certainly true that nothing teaches you more than getting out into the world and experiencing it for yourself. Reading a history book about the Khmer Rouge is nothing compared to actually standing in the Killing Fields and speaking to survivors. Learning a language on your phone may get you so far but at some point, immersing yourself in the language is the only way to truly master the nuances of its use in daily life. Having said all this, technology is a wonderful thing and getting creative can take you a big part of the way to throwing yourself into the educational possibilities of a foreign experience.
See: Netflix isn’t the only streaming service out there and even that can throw up some interesting surprises if you dig far enough. Try Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: a surprisingly moving travel series following different comedians exploring four different cities around the world. Focusing specifically on food, the series explores interesting and unexpected aspects of different cultures and recreates the magic of cultural exchange while travelling. Street Food is another beautifully shot food-based show that will leave your mouth watering.
Taste: After all that food footage, you’re going to want to try some of those recipes yourself. Got a fond memory of something you once ate in Argentina? Or always wanted to make your own Bangkok-Style Mango Sticky Rice? Search up the recipe and have fun exploring new styles of cooking.
Hear: Back when travel was only for the lucky few, people had to read books to experience the mystery of exotic far-off lands from the comfort of their armchairs. Why not explore some of these beautifully written travel books, often based on real experiences, as an audiobook? Classics such as On the Road by Jack Kerouac or Around the World in 80 Days are no less enthralling today as they were when first released.
Touch: Finally, you’ve heard it before but in case you need a motivational reminder, this is the time to explore all the hobbies you’ve dreamed of picking up. Always wanted to be the one around the campfire with the guitar? Now is the time to start. Ever thought about building your own yurt in the garden, learning to whittle or making your own clothes?Whatever you can imagine, why not push yourself to try it? Around the world you constantly come into contact with innovative crafts techniques and ways to make a living, and now is the time to draw on those ideas and surprise yourself. Who knows, you might emerge from quarantine with a whole new business in mind.
Ultimately, whatever style of travel you are missing, just remember that this is temporary and that these adventures are still there to be had once this is over. Take this time instead to work out what it is that lures you abroad and how these desires can be satisfied at home. Learning to love our own backyard is not just a cheaper way to live, it is also the eco-friendly option and as air-travel is increasingly frowned upon amongst sustainably conscious circles, it may be something we should all start to embrace more.