What’s most important with all of these armchair travel experiences is to have fun and find some relaxation.
Mar 17, 2020 at 9:00 AM
With most everyone hunkering down right now due to the coronavirus outbreak, Map Geek says it’s a perfect time to catch up on armchair travel and also to research upcoming trips. Sure, some of you adventuresome types will be looking to cash in on cheap airfare and discounted lodging, however, hopefully most of you will follow the CDC travel guidelines and lay low. That’s the smart thing to do right now. The sooner this pandemic passes, the sooner we can get back to doing what we love most, which is traveling.
When I was a little girl, I remember seeing the book mobile pull into a parking lot in our remote mountain community in upstate New York. Written on the side of it in big, bold letters was “See the World Through Books.” That thought has stayed with me throughout my life and I imagine that concept resonates with many of you, too. One could also add: see the world through magazines, online publications, podcasts and yes, maps. Maps definitely tell a story - pull up anyone of the maps featured on the Discovery Map International website for our almost 150 destinations they will transport you to the heart of some of the most popular travel spots in the United States and beyond. Go ahead and do it; check out what beloved cities like San Diego, Baltimore and San Antonio have to offer (just to name a few). And how about little-known locales such as Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Addison County & Middlebury, Vermont or the Eastern Shore of Maryland? Looking at the maps of these destinations online is not quite as fun as holding them in your hands, but zooming in and out on them still provides an informative and entertaining experience. (Don’t forget, too, that you can order an actual map directly from Discovery Map’s website).
Perhaps some of the most ardent Discovery Map fans do not even know that you can find all kinds of interesting content about most of the Discovery Map destinations online. Yes, indeed!
Go ahead and check it out. There’s no doubt that reading about these destinations will transport you from the confines of your (hopefully cozy) interior. I bet, also, that they’ll inspire you to start planning a trip to places you’ve always wanted to visit such as Whitefish, Montana, the gateway to Glacier National Park, or Sedona, Arizona, a vibrant arts community located within semi-desert grasslands, punctuated by stunning red rock spires and outcroppings in central Arizona. Speaking of gorgeous AZ, did you know that Carefree, Cave Creek and Northern Scottsdale, situated within the Sonoran Desert, serve as a great place to spend a few extra days if you go to Phoenix for work or pleasure? Dang, that area is so purdy that you could spend a whole week there and skip Phoenix all together.
In any event, within the destinations featured at the DM website you can go from Historic Newport, Rhode Island to exploring Santa Monica (California) and Its Neighborhoods. From coast to coast, there’s a plethora of information worth perusing.
After cruising around the Discovery Map site, you might be ready to sink into a meatier read. There are all kinds of great books–fiction and nonfiction–that can whisk you away to a different land. Think of Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast (Paris) or Steinbeck’s Cannery Row (Monterey, California). Here’s a cool website for you: www.tripfiction.com. There you can find all kinds of books–fiction and nonfiction–that embody a strong sense of place. Just type in the locale you have in mind and up pops a reading selection of books set in that land. This is a great way to travel to your favorite vacation spot without actually going there. For Florida, for example, you’ll find a swell of books set in locations from Amelia Island to Tampa and lots of places in between.
Here’s something super fun: Take a virtual museum tour. Google Arts & Culture showcases over 2500 museums and galleries to provide a behind-closed-doors look at what these renowned institutions have to offer. Map Geek prefers the highlights from the online exhibits over the actual gallery tours, since the works in the online exhibits are reproduced better although it’s nice to be able to access both. Check out the Online Exhibit of Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC; pour yourself a cup of tea and admire these stunning works by a great Dutch master as you snuggle up on your couch with your cat. And if you’re a Parisophile like me, you’ll delight in viewing 100,000 images from Paris museums here.
You can also travel around the world with music. We do this everyday. Here’s a way to parachute into an exotic locale via its rhythmic beats, melodic tunes and lyrics. Go to Radio Garden, zoom around on their world map and land where you want to go for the day or just the moment. Being the cool gal that I am, Map Geek swooped into Ocho Rios, Jamaica to groove to some real-deal reggae. Yes, please do serve me up some rum punch. Thank you.
What’s most important with all of these armchair travel experiences is to have fun and find some relaxation. We need it more than ever during these uncertain times. A good dose of creativity and even silliness helps, too. Check out this story of a retired Australian couple that recreated their cancelled cruise experience within their living room. They’re a hoot! Sporting beach robes and sipping on chilled white wine while gazing out at the surf (on their TV), they show us all how to make the best of a challenging situation.
Happy virtual travels to one and all!