Before the spread of the coronavirus and this lock down, virtual experiences sounded interesting, but not compared to actually getting out into the world. Now we’ve been mostly or entirely locked down for weeks, and a ‘real’ vacation is a distant dream. Here in Central Ohio, we’ve had a cool, wet, often-gray Spring, making it even harder to get out of the house. One somewhat good thing to come out of these times is increased availability of online resources, and that’s true for vacations too!
Some pretty incredible virtual resources exist today that allow you to go places and see things from the comfort of your couch. See foreign countries, visit world-famous museums, watch theater and opera and concert performances with no passport or tickets required. There really are a seemingly endless amount of these experiences cropping up today, often just a Google search away. Here are a few ideas to inspire you:
Discover Puerto Rico. New Google Earth live tours started this week, offering up a local’s look at highlights like El Yunque – the only tropical rainforest in the U.S., Playa Negra’s black-sand beach, and the bioluminescent bay of Vieques. Go to the Discover Puerto Rico Facebook page for more information.
Take a four-part train trip on one of the world’s most scenic railroads, the Ferrocarril Central Andino in Peru. The trip crosses bridges, goes through a tight canyon and takes you through one of the world’s highest railroad tunnels, ending in the Andes. All four parts are available on YouTube, find Part One here.
Take a 360-degree walking tour of the world’s largest cave – the Son Doong cave in Vietnam. Tough to reach in the best of times, National Geographic Explorer Martin Edstrom created the tour of this cave that is large enough to hold a Boeing 747 or a New York City block of skyscrapers. Take the tour here.
If you’re an art lover, check out Google Arts & Culture for the incredible list of museums offering online tours and exhibits. Some of the top museums in the world are there, including the Guggenheim, the British Museum in London, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. See the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and more on the Vatican’s virtual tour. Check out a floor-by-floor tour of the National Aquarium, or visit the Metropolitan Opera website for their nightly opera stream.
We hope the weather improves soon, and we hope for more opportunities to get back into the world. But there are some truly beautiful, amazing and inspiring things at your fingertips. Take some time this week for a virtual trip, and expand your horizons!