Take a Mini Vacation Without Leaving Home
Are you missing travel? Maybe, as encountered by my colleague and I yesterday, Facebook Memories are reminding you that this time last year you were somewhere else?
If this year has benefitted us in no other way, it's certainly made us appreciate what's important - both the things we can still do that are keeping us sane, and the things we can't that we're missing terribly. And to be honest, I never realized before now how much I rely on travel for a periodic perspective shift.
Travel, even if it's just to a town an hour away, allows me to put myself in someone else's shoes and imagine what life would be like somewhere else. My favourite thing to do when away is wander the streets and try to experience a place the way someone living there would. It helps me to get out of thinking ruts, notice what I've been taking for granted, and stretch my imagination.
So I've been looking for ways to get bits and pieces of that from home, and I discovered two very cool (and free) websites that I want to share with you.
With the first, you travel with your ears. It's called Radio Garden, and it's an interactive map that allows you to click on a point anywhere in the world and hear what's playing on a radio station there. Close your eyes and imagine you're in Iceland, Australia, or Senegal. It's fascinating to hear that some stations are playing music that sounds wildly exotic to our ears, and others are playing the same song we just heard on our own radio in the car.
The other website, WindowSwap, is a portal to a window in homes (and sometimes cars) around the world. Grab a cup of tea and pretend you're sitting in a faraway living room, enjoying the view. In just a few clicks, you can travel from Michigan to Iraq to India (my favourite so far was in Bangalore).
Both sites are oddly satisfying and strangely addicting. And though I still miss the real thing, these short virtual travel breaks help to bring a sense of imagination and discovery to days that can lately be a bit bland.
I hope you'll take ten minutes today to do a bit of exploring on one or both of these sites. Let me know your favourite find in the comments!
Debra Purdy is the owner of ShopEco, a voracious reader, and a bona fide skin care fanatic.