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  >  Blog   >  Not Another Filtered Picture; 5 Ways to Travel During Quarantine That DON’T Involve Pretending

Published: April 16th, 2020

Author: Marie Elena


What day are we into the quarantine again? Twenty? Fifty? Seven? Wait…what day is it period?


Forget the day. Most of the time, I can’t even remember what month it is!


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So THIS is what dementia feels like except worse because you can actually remember 10 minutes ago, four hours ago, two Wednesdays ago and last month. You remember because you were still doing the exact same thing then that you’re doing right now: sitting on the living room couch.


OK, boredom hasn’t even been in your vocabulary for weeks because you haven’t been JUST bored since that sitting event two Wednesdays ago.


As usual, to cope, you pour another cup or coffee or glass of wine and pick up your phone to browse social media for the 18th time in the past 18 minutes (you’re setting a goal to go entire 60 second increments without looking at a screen and so far so good!). But to your unperturbed blasé dismay, you realize that 95% of your Instagram news feed continues to be filled with 300% color-saturated and 717 hashtag-worthy shots of uncharacteristically vacant pristine beaches and people dipping their wide-rimmed hats with their backs facing the camera.


And then you open your email to find at least three notifications linking you to one of your many blog subscriptions, all of which are still telling you about what vacations to take this year and about the travel bucket list destinations which you absolutely must visit and why.


And then…you remember YOUR entire vacation planned for next month that you had to cancel.


Ugh! Time for more wine!


And now…you remember that that cancelled vacation was not next month but in fact, actually two months ago.


Woah. Trippy. Definitely time for more wine!


I’ve already written a post on how to take this time to re-evaluate what is important in your life and how to turn the quarantine into a positive experience. I talked about this time being a turning point for many of us.


But yet we still feel the wanderlust. Our souls still yearn for adventure and we long to be on the other end of that Instagram feed again.


Midway through writing this post, it occurred to me that other travel bloggers out there were probably writing about this very same topic on how to “travel” when we can’t travel. After all, Covid-19 is literally being force fed down our throats and the only “cool thing to do” is to talk MORE about it. I hesitated to Google what other bloggers out there had written about this subject matter so I didn’t even look until I was completely done writing this post. I didn’t want to read about all the ideas that I hadn’t thought of or feel discouraged that other creatives out there were coming up with quite LITERALLY over 100 ways to bring travel into the home and I was only giving you five.


But unlike that blasé reaction I had to my hourly 3,600th refresh of mobile social media, I was astonished to find that actual content-filled blog articles were not much better than their corresponding exaggerated social media image counterparts.


I found that I was given countless ways to basically “fantasize” about traveling and methods to continue to watch from afar as the physically solitary quarantine victim that I am! And the most amazing thing was that each bullet point I found was yet one more version of the exact same point reiterated  for “hundreds” upon “hundreds” of supposed “ideas!”


I actually think I even read the words “fantasize”, “daydream”, “imagine” or “subscribe to my blog” in at LEAST half of the ideas out there.


Spoiler alert. I’m NOT going to give you yet more ways to daydream but ACTUAL ways to bring everything you love about traveling directly into your home.


And I’m not going to give you 100 versions of the same point just to make you feel better!


So how can we actually USE this idle time to our advantage and to actually be mindful and purposeful in our thoughts, goals and travel ambitions? The second half of this year could be filled with new friendships, new experiences and maybe even a new path in life. Or is it possible to achieve all of that now, in the first half of the year?


Remember that adventure lives within US. WE are the ones that make the adventures happen wherever we go because it is our souls. And our souls, quite conveniently, are quarantined right along with us!


While other bloggers, travel influencers and (*shudder*) “Instagram models” are out there still posting the heavily filtered four-month-old images of the sunset over the now desolate Eiffel tower that make you forget about that resolution to reduce both screen headaches and wine headaches, I’m here to take a different approach. I’m here to actually give you an out by creating an in! Why watch adventure as an outsider when you can bring your adventures inside?!


And by adventure, I don’t mean having that colorful beverage of choice that you’re holding spill on your white couch (although that’s definitely one way to get the ol’ adrenaline pumping)! Here are a few more fabric-friendly ways to adventure in your home:





1. Learn how to cook a foreign recipe or try to replicate a dish you had on a previous adventure


This seems really simple, but…well…but nothing! It IS really simple! Recreating dishes that remind you of your travels can almost make you feel as if you’re there right now! Even our sense of smell of the dish is directly tied to our limbic systems and it is the only sense that is capable of directly communicating with the part of the brain that evokes vivid memories. Cool, eh?!


When my husband and I returned from Peru, to cope with the reality of being back home and back to the daily grind, we basically made Ají de gallina” every week for dinner.



Ok, maybe more like every day.


And also for lunch…


          Peruvian Ají de gallina


When we returned from Bali, it was the same story with Nasi Goreng.


               Balinese Nasi Goreng


Heck, even when we return from annual Florida trips we eat clam chowder and key lime pie paired with Jai Alai beer for like a week straight until the bathroom scale protests enough about us not pulling our weight!


But you don’t HAVE to make something you’ve had before. Part of the fun of traveling is trying the local cuisine and experiencing new flavors. Who says we can’t learn to make an interesting foreign dish in our own kitchens? The beauty of the internet is that it exists. Look up top dishes in countries you want to visit and then find the recipes for them. I guarantee your Weight Watcher’s meatloaf will be still there waiting for you tomorrow (and maybe even next week when it’s “too old to eat”, if you’re lucky!). Time to spice up your life a little!


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And I DO mean that literally!


Need help knowing where to begin? Because I like my own idea so much, I’m now offering virtual around-the-world cooking classes for my own sanity! Join me in learning how to cook one new dish a week from a worldly destination of choice! Time for less “food for thought” and more food for eating!






2. Do your homework!


Did someone say homework, you might ask?? I know, I know. You’ve tried that whole homework thing before and it didn’t end well. Don’t worry. This type of homework isn’t going to end in parent-teacher conferences, crumpled papers at the bottom of your backpack getting you into trouble or being grounded this weekend (I’m just going to quit while I’m ahead).


This kind of homework will result in fun-filled evenings, being prepared for your travels and a possible future win at Jeopardy!


Have you ever arrived in a country and realized you had absolutely no idea what to expect or you felt embarrassed because you weren’t acquainted with the country’s historical significance in the world? You quickly learn as you explore the local museums and become acquainted with the locals, but wouldn’t it have been nice to know more ahead of time? After all, that three-sentence-long introduction in your guidebook that you forgot to bring anyway just didn’t do justice.


Oh and let’s not even go into just how surprised you were about your daily spending average, the cultural expectations or how to even get around and communicate on a basic level! Let’s face it. There is a LOT to cover when visiting a new place, but this doesn’t have to be overwhelming!




Sometimes just learning about a particular place can be almost as exciting as actually being there! So spend some time researching everything there is to know in preparation for that upcoming trip that you HAVEN’T cancelled yet because it’s three whole months away (just make sure to double check on the validity of that thought).


Ditch the unnaturally neon-colored images of natural landmarks that are now permanently etched into your mind and trade them in for some useful knowledge and realistic expectations of your trip!


And then proceed to take your OWN “#nofilter” photos, right?!


bright the flaming lips GIF


Want to know more about a fascinating place you’ve already been? Why not?! You can relive some of the best moments of your life right during the midst of this quarantine chaos! 


Annnnd since I also love this idea, I’m now hosting information nights on places around the country and the world! Just let me know where you’d like to virtually visit and discuss and we’ll turn you into a confident and knowledgeable walking encyclopedia! Where are those crumpled homework papers NOW?!



Now. Isn’t this more fun that trying to guess where that alarmingly blue waterfall is located at the top of your Instagram feed today?




3. Make a craft related to somewhere you’ve been or want to go!


Unless it’s Chinese fortune tellers or paper airplanes (talk about painful crumpled paper memories!), crafts are fun and also exponentially more therapeutic than you sharing your wine or coffee with your furniture. You probably never thought of crafts and travel as being affiliated. But crafting can be an essential part of many cultures’ heritage, belief systems and history and thus, an important part of your upcoming visit and encounters with these cultures.


Now, before you go sitting there grumbling about the vexatious recounts of middle school (and now, specifically art class) that I’m drudging up deep within you, let me explain!


The difference between a vacation and a true travel experience is pure and simple. One is designed to give us a break from everyday lives and the other is to…well…give us a break from our everyday lives! Whether you consider yourself interested in becoming immersed in other cultures or you just want to break the monotony of couch sitting, crafting an item from around the world can give you just what you need. It might even help you gain a new perspective on life! Think Canang sari offerings from Bali, South American rain sticks, the Egyptian cartouche and even the Mardi Gras beaded creations of New Orleans. Crafts are everywhere and they’re not only fun to make but they’re great for learning about the world.


And about the integrity of your house cat.

               The struggle is REAL.

And of course…I’ve thought of offering this as well. Guys. How exciting is this?! No grades or “accidents” with the paper mache paste this time around!


OK, I’m going to just stop recounting my Catholic school days now.





4. Jam out to international music or learn how to make it yourself!


Like crafting, music is an excellent way to immerse yourself in world heritages and cultures. Also, it too is an excellent energy outlet (or inlet depending if you’ve had your coffee yet today), especially if your moves take it to the next level: the dining room table!


We all know that music can help us attain states of mind that not much else can give us. It can also help us get in that workout we were dreading today. Aren’t air punches and high knee intervals so much better when there is a good tune in the background?! Music is the soul of just about anywhere you can imagine and there is a beat to match just about every mood we could dish up out there.


Want to get even more involved in music and make it an actual part of your daily routine? Learn how to actually play an instrument that entices you like the African Kalimba, the Australian didjeridu, the Indian Sitar or the Cuban Bongo drums to name a few! Maybe this is the year you’ll finally become that famous musician (notice I didn’t say singer or dancer).


But if singing and dancing floats your boat, well…at least you’re quarantined!


And of course….I give you my newly added weekly virtual music of the world meetups where we can actually all meet to learn about music types, styles and histories as well as listen to the sounds of the world! Now how’s THAT for traveling around the world without even leaving your home?!


But don’t go blaming me if you become one of those starving musicians! I’m not sharing my Aji de gallina!





5. Just connect with others who share your interests and passion in traveling the globe!


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As I mentioned in my last post, people are coming out of the woodwork when it comes to planning Zoom meetings. I almost feel busier than I did before the whole quarantine! But what I’ve ACTUALLY realized is that it’s not the Zoom meetings that are exhausting. It’s the purpose of many of them!


Prior to this whole Pandemic business, I decided to take my physical meetups a step further and set up a chance for travel lovers and entrepreneurs to meet virtually via Zoom video conferencing, no matter where we happened to be in the world (did I mention that I’m a psychic?). I began hosting free virtual meetups on various travel and business starting topics and I embedded a shared chat forum on my website for travelers to connect and share questions, stories and information.


Also, I’m not a psychic. But it was pretty ideal timing!


One of my favorite things to do when I’m traveling is meet new people who, like me, are also more interested in buying a plane ticket than buying the next kitchen update (unless, of course, it has a built-in Aji de Gallina maker). Connecting with other wanderlusters and individuals from outside of our immediate physical vicinity and daily routine is one of the best things about travel, in my opinion.


During a time we are all “practicing social distancing”, social convergence is essential.


Also…why is it “practicing??” What are we “practicing” for??


Zombie Apocalypse GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY


So get involved! You’re not alone. I hate to sound cliché , but “we’re all in this together.” Just like we are when we’re hostel mates or plane seat mates or tour mates or hiking mates somewhere across the world together. It’s not about “imagining” or “fantasizing”. It’s about replicating what travel gives us no matter where we are physically. Connect with new people and you connect with what you love about traveling.



Ah, I do miss our physical meetups! Soon, my friends. Soon. But in the meantime, see all of our upcoming free virtual meetup dates and topics here to sign up and FINALLY get connected again!


Want to sign up for a good mix of ALL of the above and not break the bank for every session? Don’t worry. I thought of that too! Join us for 10 events of your choosing!



I don’t know how long this quarantine business will last. But what I do know is that we can’t be losing our minds in the mean time! When the bans lift, we don’t want to feel like our time has been wasted or like our days have been lost. We want to feel fulfilled, accomplished, well-educated and most of all, connected. It’s not about the sights we see, the natural or unnatural colors of that waterfall or even that cliché wide rim hat dipping selfie you managed to take. It never has been about those things.


We don’t want to be consumed by phone screen headaches and envy, memory problems and cancelled trips or colorful beverages and furniture stains. We want our time to be filled with adventure, new friendship, new skills, learning and even a new found appreciation of what traveling the world is REALLY about:


Which is remembering the month but forgetting your middle school memories.


Oh. And a little bit of “fantasizing”, “daydreaming”, “imagining” and “subscribing to my blog” of course!


Sorry! #nofilter.





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