7 Days of Exploring the World at Home

If you’re starting to feel like you’re living your own version of Groundhog Day, we’ve got just the thing to shake up your routine and scratch that travel itch in the process.

From themed dinners to at-home wine tastings, live stream safaris and a few virtual tours for good measure, these out-of-the-box virtual travel ideas offer a fun way to explore far-away places from the comfort of your couch. 

Here are seven different ways you can immerse yourself in another culture and travel from home every day of the week.

Day 1: Join a real-time safari in South Africa

I don’t know about you, but the idea of virtually visiting the Louvre doesn’t sound all that exciting to me right now. A live stream video of a game drive in South Africa, on the other hand? Sign me up!

Thanks to a ridiculously cool initiative between luxury travel company &Beyond and wildlife broadcaster WildEarth, you can now soak up all the magic of a real-time safari from the comfort of your couch. 

This isn’t just another standard-issue YouTube video of a game drive, though — it’s an unscripted adventure that lets you watch all the action unfold as it’s happening. Led by an expert naturalist guide, you’ll get a glimpse of two renowned South African game reserves (located on the outskirts of Kruger National Park) and the incredible animals that are found here.

Just like on a real-world safari, you’ll learn about African wildlife as your guide tracks the sights and sounds of animals like elephants, hyenas, and the ever-elusive leopard.

The best part is, you can interact with your guide as you’re watching. Have a burning question about the animals you’re seeing? Feel free to ask away via the YouTube chat box, or on Twitter using #wildearth. 

These live stream game drives take place twice a day (in the morning and again in the evening), and you can join in on the action at andbeyond.com, as well as the company’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

Spot the Big Five on a live stream safari

See Also: 11 Cheap and Cheerful Virtual Travel Experiences to Try at Home

Day 2: Organise a themed destination dinner party

A country-themed night in is the ultimate form of armchair travel. Simply spend an entire evening paying homage to a specific place — from the meal you cook to the movie you watch and the drinks you pour.

Don’t be afraid to pull out all the stops for this — we’re talking trying a destination-specific recipe, mixing a signature cocktail, and streaming a TV show or movie to tie the theme together. 

If you need some themed dinner party inspiration, we’ve got you covered:

  • Whip up some haggis, neeps, and tatties, pour yourself a scotch, and watch the addictive TV drama that is Outlander.
  • Bust out your best bottle of viognier, make a steaming pot of soupe à l’oignon, and watch Midnight in Paris.
  • Order sushi or ramen, pick up a bottle of sake, and stream Lost in Translation.

Take away sushi and soy sauce in a black container
Take away sushi and Lost in Translation makes for a great country-themed night in | © Pille Riin Priske/Unsplash

Day 3: Cook with Massimo Bottura

Massimo Bottura, the mastermind behind Osteria Francescana, is making it easier than ever to bring a taste of la dolce vita to your kitchen. His Instagram series (appropriately dubbed “Kitchen Quarantine”) features easy-to-follow recipes, practical cooking tips, and Q&A sessions to boot.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be a pro to join in — so far, Bottura has shown viewers how to make everything from Thai curry to mac and cheese and ragú.

It’s not every day we get access to free cooking classes from a Michelin-starred chef, so forget about making your seventh loaf of banana bread and up your culinary game with Massimo Bottura’s inventive recipes instead.

You can tune into episodes of Kitchen Quarantine live on Bottura’s Instagram profile every day. 

Close up of a person chopping vegetables with a large knife
Up your culinary game with online cooking classes | © Max Delsid/Unsplash

Day 4: Host a wine tasting

Sampling wine from around the world is a great way to relive some of your fondest travel moments, connect with another culture, and — let’s be real — it’s one of the most enjoyable ways to spend an afternoon or evening at home.

You can keep this wine tasting party as an intimate affair with your partner/quarantine buddy, or round up a group of friends for a vino-inspired soiree over Skype. 

Regardless of what your setup looks like, here’s how you can plan an awesome at-home wine tasting:

  • Step 1: Pick a theme. When it comes to choosing and buying wines, try focusing on a specific style (like crisp, dry white wines), a specific region (maybe Bordeaux or Napa Valley), or a specific country. 
  • Step 2: Grab some palate cleansers. Plain crackers or a glass of water will do the trick.
  • Step 3: Talk it out. Put your (unofficial) sommelier hat on and discuss your thoughts and opinions about the wines you’ve tasted.

If you want to take the experience up a notch, pair bitter chocolate, creamy cheese, and acidic lemon with the wines to see how their flavours change.

Or, you could throw together a cheese board to enjoy alongside the tasting (because we could all use a little more brie and burrata in our lives right now).

Four bottles of wine on a table with glasses
Connect with another culture with an at-home wine tasting party | © Allen Gong/Unsplash

Day 5: Spend a (virtual) night in New York City

A trip to New York City is off-limits for the time being, but there are so many ways to experience the city’s greatest attractions online.

Kick your virtual visit off with a helicopter tour over the Statue of Liberty and the city’s iconic skyline. Then, take in some of the most famous sites on ground level: head to EarthCam for a real-time peak of Times Square, take a stroll down Fifth Avenue with Google Maps, or go on a guided tour of Central Park.

Finish your NYC-themed evening with a live stream comedy show or a Broadway performance (BroadwayHD has loads of options and offers a free seven-day trial).

Black and white photo of Broadway street sign in New York
Explore NYC’s greatest hits from home | © Jordhan Madec/Unsplash

See Also: Where to Next: 5 Places to Visit When This is All Behind Us

Day 6: Have a Korean beauty night

Korea has been on my travel wish list for years now, but until those travel bans are lifted, I’ll be bringing a bit of Korea into my home with one of the country’s most famous exports: K-beauty.

While the fabled ten-step skincare regimen became a global phenomenon, K-beauty is all about keeping your skin looking as glowy and healthy as possible. That doesn’t necessarily mean spending big bucks on products, but rather having the right products, and using them in the right order.

All this extra time at home makes for the perfect excuse to dive into the world of K-beauty, experiment with new products (hello free Sephora samples I’ve been hoarding!), and implement a daily self-care routine.

A tray with a candle and cup of tea over a bath tub
Self-care is a must right now | © Maddi Bazzocco/Unsplash

Day 7: Immerse yourself in a nation’s culture through dance

Whether it’s tango or two-step, dance has the power to pull you into the present moment and transport you to far-away places.

Your quarantine quarters might not have the same ambience as a Buenos Aires dancehall, but once you lose yourself in the rhythm of a fiery flamenco or a sublime salsa, you’ll quickly feel like you’re in another world. 

The only question is: what will you turn your living room into? A high-octane street in Cuba, a Viennese theatre, or a ballet studio, perhaps? Find your groove with free tutorials on YouTube, online classes on Instagram, or streaming services like Dance Tango TV.

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