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How to travel when you’re stuck at home

Updated: Oct 21, 2022

A curving street lined with different colored row houses.
The patchwork streets of Pamplona, Spain. ©Ashley Oñoz-Wright

Raise your hand if you feel like the last year has been like living in your very own Groundhog Day. You get up, drag yourself to work, choke down your now-cold coffee, fight the same battles with the same people, come home, eat dinner from a paper bag, and then let your eyes glaze over in front of the TV until it’s time to go to bed and do it all again tomorrow. It’s kind of like being stuck somewhere between a daydream and the twilight zone. Whatever your situation has been, you’ve probably had some pretty long stretches of being stuck in the house.

So how do we break up the monotony of walking past that same pile of unfolded laundry day after day? We capture the spirit of adventure, discover new scents and flavors, wander through unfamiliar landscapes and harness the power of our own creativity and intelligence. In other words, if you can’t go out into the world, bring the world to you. Here’s how to travel when you’re stuck at home.

Sautéed shrimp with tomatoes and onions arranged on a bed of white rice.
Enchilado de camarones, or Cuban shrimp creole, made from scratch at home and dressed up a little bit. ©Alonzo Wright

Food + Cocktails

One of the best things about travel is that it’s a treat for your senses. Walking down a narrow cobblestone street and smelling the holy trinity from a nearby restaurant. That’s the intoxicating aroma of simmering onions, peppers and garlic for those of you who are scratching your heads. The point is, nothing transports you to a fabulous, far-flung destination like delicious local cuisine, but luckily, you can bring that experience to your own kitchen. Pick a day and decide “where” you want to go. But instead of ordering from your favorite Thai or Indian restaurants, choose completely new recipes and get busy. Don’t skimp, ok? This is not the time for you to open your trusty jar of Ragú. Travel gives us a sense of adventure, so your recipe should reflect that. Making your travel dinner an event will help you shake the monotony of your everyday routine and creating something with your hands activates the part of your brain that is responsible for feeling inspired.

So where do you want to go? Will you drag out the old smoker and buy wood chips or gather a few pinecones for a traditional parrilla like the ones in Buenos Aires? Make sure you head to the wine store and get recommendations on Mendoza’s finest selection of Malbec. Talking to a knowledgeable wine professional is another great way to travel when you’re stuck at home. You’ll talk about the land, climate and what makes a Malbec a Malbec. You may even learn about some of the Argentinian producers before you decide which bottles to take home.

Maybe going to Sunday brunch in France feels more your style. There are hundreds of delicious crepe recipes online that will pair nicely with a fizzy Champagne or a Crémant. Craving Italian? Lidia Bastianich’s traditional Bolognese recipe is well worth the time and effort it takes to make it, and remember the longer it cooks, the better it tastes. If you want to take this one step further, Curious Appetite is a company in Florence who partners with local Italian growers to deliver authentic food and ingredients to the U.S. through their gourmet food boxes. And they have virtual cooking classes too!


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