#StayHome — How to travel without actually travelling

Virtual yoga, home delivery wine and cheese, or camping under the stars. Here’s our nifty guide to keep you from getting restless this long weekend.

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As the Easter long weekend approaches, hope of taking that little getaway is starting to fade. Here in Australia we’re in the middle of lockdown, which means essential travel only. A trip to the local supermarket has become the new adventure (will I find pasta, or will I have to improvise?).

So a trip away — local, interstate or further afield — is definitely off the cards this long weekend. But never fear. There are ways we can recreate a bit of that magic ourselves. Why not use the time to #treatyoself, and do something different? Here’s our little guide to How To Travel Without Actually Travelling…

#1 — Have a digital detox at your own yoga retreat

The constant ping of messages and flow of information can get a bit much sometimes, especially in times like this. If you were planning to get off the grid this long weekend, it’s still possible. Why not turn off notifications and Netflix for a bit and use the time mindfully. (And if disconnecting really tests your willpower, try an app like Moment that will do it for you.)

Bring the yoga to you by going online. There are lots of free classes being offered, and Broadsheet have a live list here. To enhance the experience, transport yourself to another place through smell — spritz your favourite perfume, get out some candles or light some incense. Explore a new playlist to get you in the mood. Swap the takeaway or quick meals for clean eating and try something new. Roll out your favourite yoga mat (or towel 😉), use that face mask you’ve been saving, and chill out for a few hours.

Let your imagination wander ✨. But if you need a helping hand, fill your feed with the sights you would have seen. Accounts like @maya_gypsy and @backpackwithme are giving us relaxation vibes already. Or check out this collection on Armchair Adventures.

#2 — Go wine tasting and experiment with pairings

The trip my friends and I have planned when this is all over? A weekend of wine tasting in the Hunter Valley, NSW. Sadly, that won’t be for a while — but we can still drink wine 🍷. Perhaps add some to the list during your next supermarket run and select a bottle (or few). Apps like Vivino can help you spot the locals, or have your bottles chosen for you based on your tastes and delivered to your door (see Aussie option Good Pair Days).

Don’t forget the cheese (or chocolate)! What to pair with what is half the fun. Go with trial and error (and if error, capture the priceless look on your housemate’s face). But if you want to do your research, Wine Folly helps break it down (with pictures too).

If you and your bffs are separated, no fear. There are plenty of wine related games to play (explain your wine using hashtags anyone? 🤔). Perhaps buy a different bottle each, then ‘sell’ your wine to everyone else. Tell a vivid enough story and perhaps that will be the first one you share together during the face-to-face reunion.

#3 — Collect some spices and whip up an exotic feast

Hands up if your holidays revolve around food 🙋. With tour companies designing itineraries centred around eating, drinking and cooking, you’re not alone. So pick a theme — will it be Moroccan tagine nights or Spanish paella lunches? Or for a sweet retreat, perhaps Easter buns and mini egg cookies. (Rollers Bakehouse have us drooling already.) If you have a few cook books around, all the better to open them up and soak in the colours. Then put on a cooking masterclass and get busy.

Turn up the music with a playlist from the origin of your cuisine. Set the scene the way you would if you were in the country — little touches like bringing out your souvenirs, rugs or lanterns help. Virtually link up with a friend to cook a different dish each, then swap notes after.

It’s amazing what a garnish can do to elevate a dish. Herbs like parsley, thyme and rosemary can easily be grown at home. Do you have the perfect spot in your garden? Or perhaps a balcony with good sunlight? Buy a couple of pots and start managing your own little herb garden 🌿.

For inspiration, we love seeing what Aussies @connieandluna whip up using home grown produce. Or follow #eatcuriously with @sofiaklevin.

#4 — Camp out under the stars, marshmallows included

For me, Easter means an annual family camping trip just outside of Bathurst, NSW. We set up camp by the creek bed for a few days of walks through the bush, star gazing over marshmallows and really spotty reception (if at all). Totally off grid and amongst nature 🏕️.

This year we’ll be camping out at home, and while we could pitch tents in the backyard, there’s plenty more ways to get into the mood! You don’t even need a backyard (or fireplace). Bring on the fire video — 2 hours of warm crackling goodness 🔥. When night hits, turn the lights down low (or off to save energy), put on the fire and cook a nice roast. Get out the torches and tell stories. Go outside and look up. It may not be as bright as the countryside, but the stars will still be there. Try spotting constellations with app SkyView.

During the day, get back to nature. Those plants you’ve been collecting all over the house? Bring them together and give them some love — check out @plantsbybenny; we’re also taking DIY plant inspiration from @saratoufali.

#5 — Stay cultured and visit a (virtual) art gallery

Culture vultures assemble! For those whose ideal long weekend would be spent ambling along halls, dipping in and out of rooms full of historic pieces — you can now go virtual. With the closure of many spaces, museums and galleries have released interactive tours. Think of it as saving a bit of money (but not skimping on your intellectual fix 👨‍🎨).

Australia’s largest gallery, The National Gallery of Victoria have a number of tours up (and with the option to use your VR headset, is the closest thing to actually being there). Then head to Rome and Vatican City, for an unobstructed 360 degree view of the Sistine Chapel. Or hit up London and Bilbao in a day with the Natural History Museum and the Guggenheim. It’s a nice way to take in the sights at your own pace, without the tourist crowds. Don’t forget to add your favourites to your travel bucket list.

For music lovers, Sofar Sounds is still supporting local artists across the world with live streams 🎶. Or show your support for local creatives at I Lost My Gig. Going international, get a taste of NYC by streaming Broadway hits. If all else fails, head over to Armchair Adventures and see what’s inspiring travellers all over the world.

What are your own creative tips to travelling over the long weekend, without actually travelling?

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