There’s no doubt about it: COVID-19 has a lot to answer for.
We’ve seen economies pushed to the brink of collapse, the loss of millions of lives, disruptions to the way we live, work, and play, and many other things to boot.
While it pales in comparison to the other issues wrought by the global pandemic, we’ve also lost the ability to travel and explore the world the way we once did.
If you’re the kind of person who used to book flights on a whim and took pride in discovering niche destinations every year, you’re probably feeling the loss keenly.
But the good news is that while we can’t really physically travel like before, technology has made it possible to explore the world virtually in 2021.
With that in mind, we rounded up some of our favorite ways to cruise the globe from the comfort of your sofa!
View masterpieces and learn some arty stuff with Google Arts & Culture
Google Arts & Culture is a huge undertaking by the tech giant Google. It aims to give everyone unprecedented access to the best of the world’s museums, all virtually of course. The A&C website features content from over 2000 museums and archives worldwide, and there are slideshows, virtual tours, and in-depth articles to boot.
So whether you’d like to learn more about the Sydney Opera House and its impressive organ or you’d like to take a trip back in time to Renaissance Florence and follow in Michelangelo’s footsteps, you’ll find the kind of content that keeps you amused for hours.
On that note, we discovered that a chicken once fell into the net at the aforementioned Opera House. And it amused us for at least an hour!
Immerse yourself in global cultural productions via Netflix
By that, we mean Netflix, of course. There’s absolutely no need to limit yourself to what Netflix thinks you should watch in your home country. Instead, you can jump through a few hoops and watch foreign Netflix to your heart’s content.
Forget Hollywood, and Bollywood, while excellent, has also had its day. These days all the cool kids are watching Nollywood flicks, direct out of Nigeria. Whether Nollywood is your passion or you’d rather delve into some gritty Scandi film noir you can with the help of a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Just install a VPN for Netflix, select a server in a country of your choice, then open up your Netflix account. Voila! You’re now privy to that country’s Netflix catalog. Happy watching!
Imagine life on Mars courtesy of Nasa
Had enough of Earth right now? You’re probably not alone. The good news is that thanks to some deep-space probing cameras, you can now exit Earth all together and find out if there’s life on Mars.
Nasa’s Curiosity rover spent some time driving around the red planet, it also took a fair few pictures. Thanks to Nasa, we can now explore Mars’ surface via 3D images. And if a pic or 20 isn’t enough to satisfy your space-hungry curiosity, take a look at the 360 YouTube vid that takes you to all the planets.
Peruse Amsterdam’s canals
Ian and Salomé, a husband and wife duo from Amsterdam, offer live-streamed tours of the city’s famous canals. And now is arguably the best time to take a slow journey around these waterways as the pandemic means they are much quieter than normal.
Begin your trip from the couple’s fancy chocolate store in De Wallen, a famous red-light district, then you’ll be taken around the city. While the experience isn’t free, 100 percent of the cost can be redeemed for a real in-person tour if you make it to Amsterdam in the future. You can find Ian and Salomé’s trip on ToursByLocals.
Discover Dracula’s home on a Transylvanian tour
While Dracula is a character from Bram Stoker’s novel of the same name, he is based on a real-life historical figure: Vlad III, aka Vlad the Impaler, from Transylvania. Now you can take a virtual tour of the medieval Romanian town courtesy of tour guide Vlad Blaj.
Mr Blaj spent hours recording virtual tours of the town and has presented these in the Mysteries of Medieval Braşov tour. Discover the most intriguing parts of Saxon Transylvania and visit Braşov’s Black Church. Tours are interactive, so “guests” can get involved in a range of activities.
We hope these five experiences have piqued your interest and you’ve added a few to your virtual travel diary. Happy exploring!