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Remote wanderlust: How to travel the world from inside your home

Have yourself a virtual holiday this week.

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Let’s travel the world together – virtually.
Let’s travel the world together – virtually.

In our Remote Wanderlust series, we're exploring ways to travel the world from your home.

If you haven’t been able to get out into the world as much as you would have liked to, or perhaps you simply have an enduring case of the travel bug, our list of entertaining, informative and delicious ways to experience culture from your home, might help. From drool-inducing online cooking classes to a stack of travel novels, consider your next few weeks at home sorted.

Perfect your pasta

Immerse yourself in Italian culture by eating it.
Immerse yourself in Italian culture by eating it.

There’s no dismissing the comforting aspect of spending a Sunday assembling a roast with all the trimmings. But Marco Polo didn’t bring pasta all the way from the Far East to Europe for you to only eat potatoes and Yorkshire puddings. A melt-in-your-mouth bowl of gnocchi or a creamy plate of cacio e pepe might be just what you need right now.

Bring traditional Italian cooking into the home with a homemade gnocchi tutorial from food guru Gennaro Contaldo. Not into pasta? Here are some other (step-by-step) video recipes to try:

Hear that? That's the collective roar of our rumbling tummies.

Virtually explore the world’s finest galleries

Some of the world’s most renowned museums and galleries have collections available online, so you can experience the cultural sights sans crowds, queues and selfie sticks. Our favourite online collections include:

  • The Louvre - the Parisian great has virtual tours of exhibitions including 'Egyptian Antiquities' and 'Remains of the Louvre's Moat'
  • Van Gogh Museum - the Amsterdam-based museum offers online exhibits exploring Van Gogh’s romantic life and taste in literature
  • Uffizi Gallery - the Florentine gallery has fascinating digital Renaissance art exhibits

If these aren't to your taste, we can recommend Google's brilliant Arts & Culture hub. This portal features content from more than 2,000 leading museums and archives around the world. Have a dig around.

Waste a day or two on Pinterest

Pinterest isn’t just home to reams of colourful hors d'oeuvre recipes and unrealistic DIY crafts, it also features an array of travel photography, helpful travel guides and all-round destination inspiration. Here are some Pinterest accounts to check out:

Be warned: Pinterest is a procrastinator’s dream. You might find yourself spending hours on it after logging on for one quick search, but the platform is ideal for when you’ve got time to kill and a travel void to fill.

Learn Korean or Klingon

The Portuguese word ‘saudade’ describes a particular kind of melancholic yearning. Perhaps you’ve heard of ‘hygge’, the Danish term for contentment that comes from being delightfully cosy. There are so many meaningful words and phrases that aren’t quite covered in the English language.

“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going,” said American writer Rita Mae Brown. Of course, language can be essential to know a place, its people and its culture.

So pull out a notebook, find a quiet room and fire up some language lessons. Check out Duolingo, for its variety of free online language courses. Perhaps you’d like to venture over to Asia, and learn JapaneseKorean or Indonesian, or head down to Africa, and immerse yourself in Swahili. Perhaps somewhere closer to home is your flavour, with courses in Scottish Gaelic or Welsh. You can even learn Klingon, or hop over to Westeros and pick up a bit of High Valyrian.

Lose yourself in a classic travel novel

It's time to tend to that growing pile of books!
It's time to tend to that growing pile of books!

While your typical kind of travel reading might involve a dog-eared Lonely Planet, you might like to get a bit more leisurely. Here’s our list of travel novels to read:

  • If you can’t head off to an exotic location just yet, read Love With A Chance Of Drowning, the romantic tale of a new couple venturing across the Pacific Ocean on a sailboat
  • If you've ever considered taking a road trip across the US, order a copy of the 1957 classic On the Road
  • Wondering what the Australian outback holds for a young woman and a group of feral camels? Robyn Davidson’s Tracks is your best bet

So, make yourself a calming cup of EB, don your woolliest socks and kick back with a riveting travel read. It’s escapism at its simplest. If you're looking for a way to keep track of your reads - and share them with your friends and family - register for the Good Reads Reading Challenge. To take it up a level, you might like to join a virtual reading group or book club near you.

Shop for travel gear

If you’re an organisation expert and you enjoy the occasional dose of retail therapy, take this opportunity to purchase any clothing, cosmetics, luggage, or protective gear you might need for the upcoming holidays. Think portable luggage scales, packing cubes or even a fiery new bathing suit - the world is your oyster (or Amazon wishlist).

Serena is a writer based in London. Born in Malaysia and raised in Australia, she calls the UK home despite only recently acclimatising to the dearth of sunshine. Her writing has appeared in The Independent, Business Insider, South China Morning Post, i-D, Refinery29, Glamour, Vox, Metro, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and Cosmopolitan. She has also published a book of aerial photography: How Women See The World. Throughout her decade-long career, Serena has told the stories of Arctic explorers, human rights activists, award-winning chefs, refugees, and the UK’s last lighthouse keepers.

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