Discover new cultures WITHOUT traveling!

By Ahmed Wafi

It’s the next best way to travel (you know, COVID).

Remember all the travel plans we made back in December when COVID was something that happened elsewhere and not in our shores? Ah the good times. Our wanderlust has unfortunately gone straight into the bin and has since been replaced with #WFH, baking, binge watching and the occasional home workouts.

COVID has caused people to go to extremes just to feel the excitement of travel like Royal Brunei Airlines’ flight to nowhere. That’s right, a flight that just goes around in circles before landing at the same departure point. Sounds silly but that sold out pretty quickly!

Just because COVID has made travel not possible at the moment, it doesn’t mean we can’t still discover and enjoy the rich cultures and heritage our lovely planet has to offer. You can learn a lot about different cultures, explore new sights, and travel without really traveling! Here’s how.

Virtual tours
If there’s something that COVID introduced, it’s virtual everything. Yes, even travel. Sounds lame but trust us when we say it’s actually not that bad. One of the most famous virtual tours is by the British Museum that you can check out here. The cool and clean interface allows you to explore different eras and you can even toggle between civilisations. The Louvre, The San Diego Zoo, Disney World and so many more establishments offer virtual tours. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out the Museum of Broken Relationships here! Or go on a virtual field trip with local initiative Fuze Ecoteer here.

Have a costume party with your family
Halloween might be over but that shouldn’t stop you from throwing a costume party with your family. Get everyone to dress in a costume from a foreign country and order in exotic foods from all over the world. This will definitely give an international vibe to cure your travel blues.

Learn a new language!
Now that a lot of your weekends are spent doing nothing much at home, you really have no excuse to not pick up a new language like you said you would. There’s no better way to learn a new culture and experience the true depths of it. Because everyone knows that translations, no matter how accurate, can never really grasp the true meaning of a word (if you don’t agree try finding the English translation of ‘manja’).

If signing up for online classes might take too much of your time, consider subscribing to Duolingo, where you can learn a host of different languages for just five minutes a day!

Watch a travel film
With streaming services being our best friend during our time home, check out a film that will visually transport you to somewhere new. Explore the beautiful forests and wildlife of Africa in Out of Africa, discover Tokyo night life in Lost in Translation, or get stuck on Everest in the 2015 film Everest. Also, if you’ve started learning another language, practise it by watching a foreign film with subtitles.

Read a book from a foreign author
The context and settings of books are usually based on the author’s personal experience and environments. Even if they are translated into English, you still can’t help but get a vibe of the country the story of the book is taking place in. The more engrossed you are in the book, the more real your experience. We recommend reading Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood which takes place in 1960s Tokyo.

Go on an online international shopping spree
Some of you have already been browsing through different products across the world before you came across this article so I guess this is your sign to click that checkout button and wait for your delivery!

Happy “traveling”!

Photo by Slava and Jan Antonin Kolar on Unsplash

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