• Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

Armchair travel: exploring the world at a (social) distance

ByMaya Sargent

Feb 5, 2021

I think it can be said that the pandemic has left a globesized hole in all of our hearts, as the freedom of travel has been robbed by Covid-19. Travel is usually such an integral part of the student experience whilst we still have the flexibility to navigate our trips around semester timetables, instead of around full-time working jobs. And… as much as I love home, really I do, the cabin fever has arrived in full force leaving me itching to escape to a far-away city.

As majestic as that sounds, unfortunately, the only travel I will be doing is from my bed to my sofa (oh dear…) but I have some great recommendations for some exciting ‘Armchair Travel’! (Cue the sighs.) I know this is not exactly the big 2021 travel plan you might have had in mind once upon a time, but these recommendations are great for inspiration and for a reminder of the excitement we have to look forward to.

Podcasts: The Travel Diaries with Holly Rubenstein anf Armchair Explorer

These are some of my favourite podcasts when I fancy a bit of escapism from lockdown life. The Travel Diaries has been described as a travel version of Desert Island Discs where celebrities are invited to discuss some of their favourite travel moments and the subsequent impacts of these experiences of their lives. Holly’s voice is so tranquil and allows you to fully submerge into the memories of her guest celebrities – truly a treat when you’re on your daily walk.

Armchair Explorer takes you on a more dynamic experience from the world’s greatest explorers as each episode takes you on a documentary-style adventure recalling their best travel memories something with a little more drama for when life feels too mundane.

Instagram Accounts: @ontheroadagaintravels

This particular travel account has been one of my favourites for while, even before we knew about the pandemic carnage that would ensue. Ashley and Stuart are a Scottish couple that document their travel destinations in Scotland and around the globe for their near 14k followers. Their photography is beautiful, intricate, and a wonderful reminder of the beauty of our city, although side effects include FOMO…

Documentaries: A Perfect Planet

Hosted by the unbeatable Sir David Attenborough, this newly released five-part documentary looks into every aspect of our planet, ranging from Volcanoes to the Sun, Weather, Oceans and finally Humans in a grand tour of the world.

The last episode outlines the impact of human behaviour on our planet which is a sobering but a crucial watch, as the series advocates for the importance of an ethically-conscious lifestyle. The documentary had me falling in love with the beauty of our planet all over again.

Down to Earth with Zac Efron:

One of the more positive parts of 2020 was this unexpected but wonderful tour of the world with Zac Efron as he travelled with wellness expert Darin Olien, promoting the importance of healthy living and sustainability.

The documentary looks into different sustainable methods of producing food, water and energy in various places around the world. And whilst Efron will never be able to beat Sir David Attenborough, which was never the point of this documentary, at its heart, it is an entertaining experience offering you a glimpse into new cultures and cities – which in our current situation, is something we can be grateful for.

From cultivating this list of recommendations I realised how much of our conversation is depicted by travel and memories of
travel. The fascination with different countries, cultures and languages is something that is deeply rooted in our society and I hope this is something we can continue to do once we are given the freedom. For it is a fact that we all miss the jet-set lifestyle that allows us to explore places. I think it is fair to assume that we all just cannot wait to for borders to reopen and for travel to return to its glory days!

These recommendations are guaranteed to feed your pent-up wanderlust. You too can explore the world from the comfort of your armchair, surrounded by warm blankets and mugs. However, for now, I hope these suggestions offer some relief from lockdown life, and if in doubt, Midnight in Paris is always a great comfort watch!

Illustration: Eve Miller