by Ana Sofia Thomas
Exchanges abroad canceled, that Easter trip you’d been planning down the drain, and your summer days by the sea potentially ruined: traveling in the times of the coronavirus seems a faraway dream. Journeys from your bed to the couch to the kitchen seem to be the extent of the world you’ll see for the time being. So, whether you want to escape this depressing reality for a while, find an excuse to ignore your assignments for a little longer, or simply have nothing better to do, here are five travel destinations you can recreate from the comfort of your own home.
1. Somewhere Beachy
Sit back, relax, and enjoy a drink in the comfort of your own bathroom. (Thailand, Karl Paul Baldacchino, https://unsplash.com/photos/4wESCUCWW-g)
If your canceled post-semester plans involved the sun, sea, and sand, look no further than your bathroom. Of course, if your current confinement plans involve a pool, by all means, use that instead. If you’re stuck in your apartment, then a tub might work. If you don’t have a tub because you’re a 1A stuck in your residence…. Well, sitting under a running shower is the closest you’ll get. The next step is crucial, you must get yourself a drink. If you’ve got skills, go for a margarita. If all you’ve got is lazy, pour yourself a glass of fruit juice and call it a day. Recreate the smell of an ocean get-away with an easy DIY sea salt scrub. Mix 1 cup of coarse salt, ½ cup of coconut oil, and 5-7 drops of your favorite essential oil in a sealable container and voilà, you’ve got your scent. Finally, throw on your favorite bathing suit, a pair of shades, and play some beach noises found on YouTube. Close your eyes, and let yourself relax. Paradise in a tub. Or shower.
2. Reims, France
In case you miss seeing the Remois landmark on your way to class, here is a peek at the venue of kings that once hosted you as well. (“Reims Cathedrale” by Context Travel is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
For those of you who wanted (or were forced) to return home and now find yourself pinning for Reims, it’s easier to go back there than you think. You must first lock yourself in your room in order to recreate the minute dimensions of your Remois apartment. Set up an eating station which will double as your desk, and refuse your parent-provided meals. Settle instead for instant food, or if you’re feeling risky, some take out. Set your background music to Le Temps est Beau, and proceed to stare out your window longingly. Let’s face it, living in Reims is like giving birth: you forget how painful it was until you have to do it again. Bonus points: Sneak some cheap beer from your parents’ stash and get drunk to heavy French rap for the full student party effect. If Vogue is more your style, a lights-off affair in your room listening to awful music as you bash yourself against the walls will surely recreate the experience. Maybe pour yourself some prosecco to replace the champagne you may never taste again. If parties aren’t your scene, take up a new French series on Netflix to prolong the inevitable loss of your French-speaking skills. A Very Secret Service (Au Service de la France) will give you the French humor of OSS117 with all the pomp of the 60s, plus it’ll last you 24 episodes.
3. Camping trip
Homemade s’mores complete the indoor camping experience and add a little sweetness to your confinement. (“Fundy National Park June 2011 Gavin Langille-18 S’more” by gLangilleis licensed under CC BY 2.0 )
This one will really get your creative juices flowing. If you don’t have access to a tent you can build indoors, the answer is all around you. Build a fort. Make use of your chairs, cushions, even your little table. Once you’ve built your childhood dream fort, furnish the inside with your bed’s blankets and place a flashlight (or use your phone) facing up for maximum mood lighting. The crown jewel of this indoor experience is a homemade plate of s’mores. Place a graham cracker on a napkin and top it with an equal piece of chocolate and a marshmallow. Place your stack in the microwave for 15 minutes on high, or until your marshmallow fluffs. Take the stack back out and top with another graham cookie. Now you can hide out and ignore your assignments with a snack. Play with the shadows and fool yourself into thinking you’re still sane because adults make hand bunnies too sometimes. Right?
4. Around the World in Seven Plates
This is your chance to get some skills for your future survival. You can’t live off of take-out forever.Or can you..? (Chopping Vegetables, Katie Smith, https://unsplash.com/photos/uQs1802D0CQ)
If your favorite part of traveling is the food, now’s your chance to eat. Let’s be honest, you’re either coming out of quarantine ripped or with a few extra pounds. If the latter is you, you’ve got nothing to lose. There are then two options. If you want a chance to expand your cooking skills and maybe feed yourself properly next semester, take the challenge and cook for yourself. Sauce your way to a new skill. A plate from a different country every two days will give you the culinary experience of a lifetime from the comfort of your own home. If you’re still feeling lazy, order in again. However, it’s not like you have anything else to do, so you might as well get onto burning down that kitchen (please not literally) and playing with your food. Check out Barnes and Noble for some free ebook selections to gather recipes. Allrecipes and Tastemade also have quite the selection to pick from. Either way, expand your food horizons and experiment with taste. Morrocan tagine, Mexican esquites, or homemade sushi are easy and fun options to try!
5. Oktoberfest in April
Whether you favour a dark IPA or are fine sticking to Krönenburg, an Oktoberfest recreation with the quarantine squad is sure to get spirits up. (“Prost to the ‘wurst” by allisonkpark is licensed under CC BY 2.0 )
Some of us are lucky enough to be confined with the squad. It might be worth considering moving October up in the year since we’ll probably come out around then. Pay a visit to your nearest convenience store on your next government-sanctioned grocery round and pick up a variety of budget-friendly beers. Pro tip: the bigger the better. Add some sausages to your shopping list and you’ve got yourself a pseudo-German feast. Don’t forget the ambiance folk music to really get the feeling going. This could also be your opportunity to take up a new language, so why not hit up that Duolingo Owl for some German lessons. Make sure to keep up with them though, or the Owl will hunt you down. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
As our day to day lives have become a grim, repetitive, energy-sucking loop, it’s fair to let loose and get a little silly to lighten the air. However, we should also keep in mind that there are many less fortunate people, as well as people on the front lines, who can’t afford this make-believe. If you would like to do what you can for the current situation, do not hesitate to research local homeless shelters, NGO’s and hospitals which might benefit from your donations. Stay safe and stay in if you can.
Ana Sofia Thomas Ibarra is a Mexican American second-year student at Sciences Po. A creative spirit, she is a writer for the Travel Section of the Sundial Press. She doesn’t really know what she’d like to do in the future, but she loves writing and hopes there’s always a place for it in her life.