Things to Do When You Can’t Travel

As travelers we love to explore new places, meet new people and try new foods. So, what do we do when the state department issues a travel advisory Level 4 and the CDC asks everyone to stay home?

We are giving our suggestions based on where we live: in a house with a yard in Florida, USA. We hope how we spend our time inspires you to change things up a bit and helps to combat boredom.

Games

One thing you can do when you can’t travel is playing games. We have a slew of board games from Cards Against Humanity to Boggle to Chinese Checkers. We also made our very own Yahtzee arena! Books of Sudoku and crossword puzzles also help to give us that “cottage-on-the-lake” kind of feel. A jigsaw puzzle is always at the ready on its designated table offering a nice distraction when we need it.

Our homemade Yahtzee board!

And then of course there are video games. From adventure games, puzzle games to sports games, what a great way to pass the time. (And as a bonus, Mindy is finally able to see the Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup!)

Sports

Our yard isn’t that big but there are still some outdoor activities we are able to do. A simple game of catch can get us a little exercise and fresh air. We also set up our badminton net and got the cornhole game out of the garage.

Movies/TV shows

Watching movies and binging TV shows is an excellent way to escape into another world for a bit. You can visit far away and even make believe lands making it the perfect distraction. So, pop some popcorn, get into your favorite comfy pants (as you probably already have them on anyway) and snuggle up on the couch.

Exercising

We quickly found that it was easy to lead a very lazy existence and that all the hard work we had done at the gym was fading. So, you can set aside time each day to do a workout. There are plenty online and if you are a member of Planet Fitness, they offer free workouts online while they are closed. Even a little is better than nothing so get out and walk around the neighborhood if you can, do some sit-ups, jumping jacks or jog in place.

Cooking and Baking

Another great thing to do when you can’t travel is cook or bake! It might be the perfect time to attempt those recipes you’ve been meaning to try. Why not get out that bread machine you’ve never used, the blender at the back of the cupboard or the pasta maker still in the box?

We found a recipe for vegan caramel popcorn and we happened to already have all the ingredients for it!

Being limited to only the ingredients you have on hand could also lead to an amazing recipe of your own creation! We recently discovered that our chocolate habanero pepper plant produced ripe peppers so we had fun playing around with them in the kitchen!

Unfinished Projects

What a great time to finally get to that to-do list you’ve had. Get that yard work done, complete that woodworking project, finish sewing those curtains.

I finished my weaving from my Mayan backstrap weaving class!

Knit, weave, crochet! Look around your house and think about an art project you could do, or finally build that website you’ve been meaning to get to.

I love sewing on my grandmother’s cast iron sewing machine!

We fixed the exhaust fan in the bathroom, cleared the roof of leaves and pollen, washed the car (lesbian car wash for the win!) and raked the yard.

Gardening

A nice rain-free day would be the perfect time to plant a flower bed around your mailbox or around the base of a tree. If you have the seeds either from a packet or from the vegetable itself (cucumbers for example), you can plant a vegetable garden. A fresh herb garden might spruce up meals as well.

I replanted some epasote plants and put snapdragons and Mexican heather in the ground around our mailbox.

Playing Music

We’ve got lots of CDs that we never listen to. What a great way to change the mood in the house though to put on any kind of music. You can bring new energy by playing salsa or merengue, calm yourself with classical music or help release pent up frustration with some heavy metal.

Balinese gamelan percussion instruments

If you happen to have an instrument on hand, practice. Mindy got her guitar out of the closet and began playing songs she had written so many years ago, including the song we sang at our wedding. We also played our gamelan instruments from Bali, Indonesia.

Camping

A way to create an adventure without leaving the safety of your home is to set up a tent in your yard. Outfit your new space with sleeping bags, pillows and all things comfy. Bring a laptop out so you can still watch Netflix. Wake up listening to birds!

Camping is a great way to experience your home with a new perspective!

If the weather isn’t conducive to tenting outside, why not camp inside? It’s like the grown-up version of making a fort! Or hell, why not make a fort like we did when we were kids! Get some sheets and go to town! Could also be very romantic!

Fire Pit

Another fun thing to do when you can’t travel is to enjoy your backyard as much as possible to ensure getting some fresh air and to avoid feeling cooped up. We are lucky enough to have a fairly new fire pit. It’s nice to cook outdoors for a change. Sometimes we make s’mores and just enjoy the fire in the evenings. Or add music to the mix! When was the last time you danced with your wife or girlfriend?

Roasting vegan marshmallows over the fire! (Brand of marshmallows is Dandies.)

Slideshow

When the unfulfilled wanderlust simply gets the better of you, consider revisiting amazing places you’ve already been. Set up a slideshow of trips to incredible locations and revel in all the memories each picture conjures up. Haven’t been on many trips or you long for some place new? Choose a location you’d like to visit and look up images of that location. Maybe even plan a future trip.

We love looking at all the places we’ve been and all the possibilities of places we can go!

Read

Much like watching movies, reading is a great way to escape! Here is your chance to crack open that book that you’ve been meaning to read or finish one that you’ve started. To change it up a bit, read aloud to your wife.

Mindy reading to me in Siquijor, Philippines

Learn Something New

By watching a YouTube video we were able to repair the exhaust fan in our bathroom. You can start learning a language with DuoLingo or Memrise or learn how to knit or paint. There are also lots of free lectures online to educate yourself on all kinds of subjects.

What additional ideas do you have for things to do when you can’t travel?

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