Words Hiranmayii Mohanen Photograph Karina Zhukovskaya

Travelling to your dream destinations may have come to a halt due to the global travel restrictions, but the dream itself doesn’t need to wait. 

Enter armchair travelling — a term initially derived from sensory travel experiences for elderly and physically debilitated people. In today’s world however, armchair travelling has extended in meaning. Armchair travel is all about trotting across the globe without leaving the comfort of your home, be it through virtual experiences, planning post-pandemic trips or bringing the world into your home. There are various ways to do it and we list them all below – seeing the world from your home

If cabin fever has been getting to you, bringing the world into your home through travel experiences can not only keep you sane, but allow you to fulfil your wanderlust digitally. The growing popularity of armchair travel has led many major attractions around the world to create simulations and replications that can be experienced through a computer screen or television, evident in the 360 virtual tours on Youtube. Travel to Patagonia, Argentina and Chile in South America or embark on a virtual tour of the breathtaking Machu Picchu, one of the Seven new Wonders of the World. 

Another way to experience the world indoors is through virtual tours of museums and exhibitions. Thanks to the collaboration between Google Arts & Culture and museums and a growing number of online experiences, one is able to digitally walk through the halls of the Louvre in Paris or the fabled Doge’s Palace in Venice or the highlight of the southern hemisphere’s biggest city — MASP, São Paulo.

Take a random journey through Google Earth

The introduction of Google Earth is godsend, allowing everyone to not only explore Earth but with the I’m feeling lucky tab, you can pay a random virtual visit to places of interest around the world. Intrigued, I gave it a go and within minutes, it took me to the Kakan — an uninhabited island in Croatia within seconds, the Prachov Rocks — a rock formation in the Czech Republic, Spirit Island — a tiny tied island in Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park. I also virtually visited the Wat Traimit Buddhist temple in Thailand, which made me feel like I was there. Give it a whirl, immerse yourself in the experience and see where it takes you.

Channel your creative spirit

Digesting virtual experiences is one way to feed your travel bug at home, but an alternative that can be even more rewarding is throwing yourself into worldly experiences. Being confined to your home doesn’t mean that you can’t channel your creative spirit. Following are a couple of ideas and ways to bring travel vibes into your everyday life:

Travel-inspired home decor

Explore the world’s decor and culture and bring it into your surroundings by decorating with a travel-inspired twist. 

Try photography at home

Another great skill to hone that will work in your favour when you travel again is photography.  Get the camera out and practice with rooms, objects, pets and people.

Take photos of the stars

If you have a garden or some outdoor space to work with, take pictures of night sky and the stars, also known as astrophotography.

Dream and plan a future trip

If travel doesn’t seem possible in the immediate future, use this time to plan or dream up a trip post pandemic. Read up on places of interest, create a travel vision board if you must, reach out to friends who have travelled, immerse yourself in travel-themed popular culture, and write down some ideas. This way, you’re prepared for when you no longer have to batten down the hatches and travel can resume again. 

Listen to travel podcasts

The emergence of podcasts has been a revelation — the best of media technological advancements, evident in many jumping on its bandwagon. The beauty of podcasts is that it gives you the freedom to dip in and out of episodes at any time while you’re undertaking various activities as well as explore the myriad of topics offered. We also find that as a substitute to music, podcasts can be quite thought provoking and stirring. There’s a lot of great innovation out there when it comes to travel podcasting. Armchair travel through go-to podcasts such as World Nomads Travel Podcast which features interviews with inspiring travellers and World Wanderers with hosts Amanda and Ryan who take you on their journey. 

Immerse yourself in travel books or on screen

It’s a comforting thought that even when you cannot actually travel, you can still experience it vicariously through the words of others. The anecdotes and vivid descriptions in books like ‘In Patagonia’ will make you hungry for exploration. Cheryl Strayed’s self discovery on the Pacific Crest Trail told in narrated in ‘Wild’ would transport you to the trail and bring you along through the journey. 

Granted, reading isn’t up everyone’s alley, so instead, you can seek travel inspiration on screen. A great story set in a stunning location is the perfect recipe for firing up some wanderlust. Funny, compelling, fast-paced, and beautifully shot in the medieval city of Bruges, ‘In Bruges’ will prompt you to place Bruges in your travel bucket list upon finishing the movie.