10th of April, 2020, we celebrated our cousin, Rayan's birthday, in Prague. We planned it at least three months back. Yes! 10th of April, 2020. How did we do it when we are all at home due to the lock down to prevent Corona from spreading and when all borders are closed? We did it by ‘Google Street', sitting at home in India. The four of us selected the spot ‘Prague Castle' on Google Street together and virtually reached there. Well, the mind is capable of great leaps of thoughts and imagination and tools like these add fuel to the fire.
Through ‘Google Street', visit Norway, your dream destination and watch the northern lights; repeat that trip to Eiffel tower, where you proposed him; plan that trip to Goa which never physically materialized and meditate virtually at the foothills of Mount Everest. The world's the limit with the numerous virtual tours to travel during quarantine.
At the comfort of your home, you can travel virtually to the wonders of the world – Petra (Jordan), The Taj Mahal (India), Colosseum (Rome), the Great Wall of China. All the famous museums like Louvre (Paris), Uffizi (Florence), MOMA (USA) offer a virtual tour. Enjoy the tour of the White House (USA), Buckingham Palace, Sydney Opera House and many more or go for window-shopping at Fifth Avenue, NYC, from the cozy corner of your home. These virtual tours to travel during quarantine will definitely rejuvenate you. ‘Google Art and Culture' is a wonder tool with which you can take virtual tours to any particular place of your choice. They are categorically divided- from art tours, museums, National Parks, cities to local cuisine tours. Just select and travel virtually according to your mood.
For the boxed travel freaks who are struggling with their curbed wanderlust, there is a simple method of creating your own customized 3D or 360 degrees videos with some of your old travel shots, resulting in some amazing virtual tours to travel during quarantine. The best among the free software is ‘VeeR Experience'. ‘Google tour creator' can also be used.
The origin of the term ‘Virtual Tour' dates back to 1994 when Queen Elizabeth II was one of the first users. It was a ‘walk through' 3D construct of England's Dudley Castle as it was in 1550. Besides these 3D and 360 degrees, system-driven, well-curated ‘virtual tours' we can also enrich our minds through the most classic ways of virtually travelling during the ‘lockdown' days.
Let's consider some of the oldest and the most enriching ways to feed the soul of an armchair globetrotter. They are books and comics, movies and travel shows and last but not the least storytelling.
There are certain books that are very specific to the ways and destinations of travel. The travel magazines like ‘Lonely Planet', ‘National Geographic Traveller', ‘Outlook Traveller' and ‘Conde Nast Traveller' are some of the best names. There are various local travel magazines also to aid you with virtual tours to travel during quarantine. Then there are fiction and other books that will stir your wanderlust soul with the experiences of the author or the protagonist or the story set across specific locations. From classics like ‘Robinson Crusoe', ‘Around the World in Eighty Days', ‘Gulliver's Travels' ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn‘ to the contemporary books like, ‘Vagabonding', ‘The Alchemist', ‘The 4-Hour Work Week', ‘On the Road', ‘Into the Wild', ‘The Motorcycle Diaries' and ‘Eat, Pray, Love' have always drawn the attention of a travel lover. Some of these have been made into outstanding movies too. Now let's talk of comics. As a child, I had virtually visited Greece, Rome, Egypt, Corsica and many other places through Asterix stories. The adventures of Tintin provide virtual tours to travel during quarantine to Tibet, Scotland, Shanghai, Peru, and many other places.
Besides virtual touring, the colourful and casual read will make one happy during the dull quarantine days.
Oscar Winning Classic movie, ‘Roman Holiday' gives an amazing virtual tour of Rome. ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty', ‘Seven Years in Tibet', ‘Eat, Pray, Love', ‘Into the Wild', ‘Lost in Translation', ‘Midnight in Paris', ‘Tracks' and Bollywood's ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara', ‘Queen' and ‘Iye Jawani Hai Diwani' will definitely strike a chord with the traveller's soul. As I travelled Banff, I found, I had already virtually travelled through ‘Revenant'. As I watched ‘The Motorcycle Diaries' I have virtually travelled across Latin America- Argentina, Chile, Peru and even hit my bucket list with Machu Picchu. A lot of Indian movies are shot against gorgeous locations or the plot hovers around a specific place. Movies by the Oscar winning director, Satyajit Ray and even by the modern directors are enablers for us to virtually travel. Yash Chopra movies provide various European locations' virtual tours to travel during quarantine. Similarly, you can experience the beauty of the Himalayas through Imtiaz Ali movies.
Besides movies, there are numerous travel dedicated television channels like ‘TLC', ‘TravelXP', ‘Discovery', ‘National Geography' and ‘Fox Life' and ‘Netflix' and ‘Prime Video' have a good collection of shows to help us with virtual tours to travel during quarantine. Some of my personal favourites are Bear Grylls' ‘Man vs Wild', Anthony Bourdain's ‘Parts Unknown' and Rocky and Mayur's ‘Highway on my Plate'. Documentaries, web series and travel-related contents on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram are definitely a fast way to travel virtually. Internationally ‘Vagabrothers', ‘La Vagabonde' and ‘Hopscotch the Globe' are my personal favourites and ‘Desigirl travel', ‘Taniya Khanijao', ‘The Caravan Chronicles' and ‘Visa2explore' are my personal favourites among Indian travel YouTubers.
Read travel blogs that being personal experiences shared, will make your virtual tour more realistic. ‘Drew Binksy', ‘The Blonde Abroad', ‘Dan Flying Solo', ‘Bruised Passport', and ‘The ShootingStar' are my personal favourites. ‘Kuntala's Travel blog' also has awesome stories to provide you virtual tours to travel during quarantine according to your interest – the place, art and culture, cuisines and festivals.
There's another different method to virtually tour the place of your dreams – Cooking. Your taste buds with the right feed can teleport you instantly. A dish of Spaghetti Aglio e Olio can be made at home during quarantine and it will virtually take you to Italy. There are some great cookery shows and amazing online courses to aid you in the process.
Last but not the least, sit with your family, refer to old travel photos, and talk about your old trips and also plan new ones. This is the best time we have got to spend with our nearest ones. Even friends and relatives are just a phone call away. Talking about travel is powerful enough to provide a virtual trip.
For the real travel freaks, the smell of a place, the sound of its traffic and the warmth of its people make the whole experience alive. Let's pray that the world heals soon and the borders soon open for wanderlust. Till then let's rely on the mind and let it walk through the roads, fly through the sky and swim across the seas to virtually travel the world.
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A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.