When was the last time you traveled somewhere new?
Two years ago I would not have imagined being alive in such a momentous and tumultuous time in history, much less being quarantined in-home almost 24/7. This forced stillness has lead to so many mental rabbit trails, I hardly knew how to start organizing the thoughts to share with you. Then I thought, if I were to succumb to a virus, what would I want to leave behind? The answer I found is this: a world that is somehow better than when I entered it. So I thought I’d share a passion of mine: virtual travel.
There is no magic ball to let us know when these circumstances will end, or what the long-lasting effects will be to what matters to us. As a global community we can only control ourselves and what we decide to spend time on, so I wanted to share with you a way to expand your horizons without spending money or even leaving home. Virtual travel and exploration can be shared with others or enjoyed alone.
Google Arts & Culture, teamed with over 2,500 museums and galleries, brings us a smorgasbord of experiences at the click of a button. We can take mini-vacations from the familiar walls of home on the internet, safely and with zero travel time! Never before have we had so much accessibility to, and opportunity to, immerse ourselves in other places, cultures, and sights. Tourism has suffered everywhere, but if you are lead to, you can donate to most of these organizations, just like you can donate to local causes you see around you.
Did you know that NASA has partnered with Google to offer a tour of a 3D replica of the Martian surface? Forbes has ranked the World’s 15 Best Virtual Tours available now. Even more immersive than the 2-D computer monitor, tablet or phone screen, is VR – virtual reality. Many locations and organizations are investing time and real money into curating experiences for us; some are free, and others require membership or one-time fees.
My son recently used the Oculus Quest to virtually visit the International Space Station. His grandmother watched Sputnik, the first artificial earth satellite, and later worked for TRW, a company that helped was involved in building spacecraft, while I was a baby. She encouraged me to read science fiction and imagine the universe of possibilities that have been opened with technology, built on the hard work and dreams. Now he and she discuss space from a historic to modern day perspective, which they might never have, if he were attending school with peers. There are still gems to be found in the rock pile of COVID and lockdown.
“To travel is to live.” ~ Hans Christian Anderson
Read More Books and Articles, or Listen to Audiobooks
Tech is not the only way to transport yourself. Aside from videos on Youtube, TV and movies, we still have millions of books that allow the sharing of history, ideas and possibilities. Online booksellers can still send you books safely, publishing houses are still releasing new books constantly, and at your fingertips is the free library on Google Books. There you can access thousands of free books in the public domain (no longer copyrighted, so you don’t have to pay to read them). Every year more books are added to the public domain and the latest list can be found at Book Riot.com as well as other websites. Great classics you may never have been exposed to in school are just waiting for your discovery!