By Jaclyn Tilks
We all know in our hearts that if we are at home social distancing, we are the lucky ones. If we aren’t sick, working on the frontlines in the hospitals, or wondering where our next meal will come from, we have a lot to be grateful for. But everyone’s pain, everyone’s grief is their own and it is important for us to acknowledge and give space for our feelings, no matter what our situation is and what we are grieving. It might be a wedding that was cancelled, time with your family, or even a vacation that you had been planning.
So here at Literary Traveler, we want to give you permission to grieve your lost trip or the trip you had just begun dreaming about. And also to give you resources to travel from home, virtually and responsibly, while keeping yourself and the people around you safe. Many people agree that planning and dreaming about the trip creates more feelings of happiness than the trip itself. So, when you are ready, we want to give you the inspiration to start dreaming, again. It may be the escape you need and it may do a world of good for your mental well-being and for those around you.
Here are five great resources for you and your family to explore and dream about today.
Get Outside Online with The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks
On Google Arts and Culture, you can take a virtual tour with a Park Ranger to five National Parks, with varying terrain and adventures open for exploring. Climb down into a crevasse at Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska. Explore a lava tube and volcanic cliffs in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Visit with bats at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Explore the clear night sky at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah or swim through a Coral Reef at Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. Part Google Earth, part video, this interactive experience can get you the dose of nature you need when you can’t get outside.
Wander through one of 1,200 Museums around the World
Once again, Google Arts and Culture comes through for us with virtual access to over 1,200 museums and galleries around the world. Highlighted on the home page are many museums you may already have on your bucket list. Here, you can admire artifacts such as the Rosetta Stone and an original Easter Island statue at the British Museum of London. At the Guggenheim Museum of New York, improve your knowledge of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary Art. If ancient history is your cup of tea, check out the Pergamon Museum of Berlin, where you can view massive ruins such as the Ishtar Gate of Babylon.
Skip the wait times at Disney’s Parks on YouTube
On YouTube, visit the Disney Parks channel. In the most recently posted videos, you can watch a Virtual Viewing of the Magic Happens parade. To see a playlist of Virtual Disney Rides, including POV, go directly to:
No fast passes needed to take a ride at the Disney Parks when you do it from the comfort of your couch.
With everything from thrilling rollercoasters to water slides and the best places to eat, you can dream about what Disney Magic is waiting for you in the future. Plus Good Housekeeping has already shuffled through the many offerings on this channel and compiled a great list of the top 12 rides to enjoy virtually:
Visit with the Zoo Animals with Facebook Live
For best results, download the Facebook Live App on your phone, tablet or Smart TV.
If you are home with small children and feeling guilty about extra screen time, check out some of the Facebook Live channels for the world’s best zoos. From live cameras in animal enclosures to special shows for visitors at home, animal lovers young and old can spend time with members of the Animal Kingdom from the comfort of their own home. A few of our favorites so far include the San Diego Zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo, the Australia Zoo and the Toronto Zoo. Simply search for these within the App. If you miss the Facebook Live viewing, you can usually watch the recordings on your own schedule.
Take in Some Music with a Live Virtual Concert
Available on various social media platforms and websites.
Are you an avid concert-goer missing the thrill of a live show? You have probably already heard that many famous artists are offering free concerts throughout this difficult time. Everyone from Elton John to local children’s singers are offering live events. Most of them are available for replay after the live viewing. Google your favorite artists and visit their Facebook and Instagram pages to see what they are up to. Plus NPR is doing a great job compiling the newest and latest offerings here:
Jaclyn Tilks is a writer, teacher and marketing professional in the Greater Boston area. Her poetry has appeared in Wilderness House Literary Review. She was the recipient of a scholarship to attend the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and was a representative poet at the Boston Intercollegiate Festival. You can follow her recent adventures at her blog www.familyfoodvalues.com and on Instagram @familyfoodvalues