For those of us that live to travel, the world feels like it has shut down. No flying, no wandering, no adventures. Exploring other cultures feels like a distant memory. This is all for the good of humanity, of course, and it’s incredibly important that we stay at home to keep everyone safe in these uncertain times. The good news is that there are other ways to satiate our travel appetite and keep us dreaming until we can jet off again. From live-streamed comedy shows and operas to exhibitions and the great outdoors, here is a virtual taste of the world for your days and nights in quarantine.
Google Arts and Culture has partnered with over 500 international cultural institutions to offer high-quality virtual tours. Some of the biggest museums and art galleries have opened their doors through this medium – the Uffizi Gallery, the Guggenheim and the Rijksmuseum, to name a few. It is also worth exploring smaller collections and places you’ve never been, to get a taste of a different culture. Prague’s Museum of Decorative Arts, Kansas City’s American Jazz Museum or Istanbul’s Museum of Innocence are great places to start. Spend hours feeding your curiosity and get lost in museums all over the world.
Live music events all over the world have been cancelled or postponed, to the disappointment of audiences everywhere. The good news is that many artists are streaming from their homes in order to entertain their fans. French pop sensation Christine and the Queens has promised to perform a daily Instagram concert, U2’s Bono launched a song in quarantine, inspired by Italy’s balcony singers, and American icon Bruce Springsteen is still going ahead with his London show Live in Hyde Park, albeit virtually. Global Citizen has also launched #TogetherAtHome which has seen H.E.R, John Legend and Chris Martin perform so far. In Spain, the weekly concerts of the Yo Me Quedo En Casa festival have proven to be very popular. For lovers of classical music, the Berliner Philharmoniker’s free digital concert hall is another great option.
For those of you that don’t know what to do with your time once you’ve finished binge-watching every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix, this one's for you. With bars and clubs being forced to close, many are finding new ways of interacting with their regulars. LA’s Club Cobra announced it would be live-streaming a drag show in order to support its performers who have been impacted by the closures. New York-based drag queen Rify Royalty is also performing on Instagram Live. it is also worth checking out what’s on live-streaming platform Twitch, which hosted Digital Drag, a performance of 20+ queens. Watch this space – we think the online drag scene will continue to grow over the next few weeks as people seek new forms of entertainment.
They say laughter is the best medicine. What better way to self-isolate than with comedy shows from all over the world? From Brooklyn Comedy Collective’s nightly live streams to Edinburgh’s The Stand Comedy Club, the show must go on - even if through a screen. For British comedy lovers, Comic Shambles has launched The Stay At Home Festival with some big names in comedy promising to make you roar with laughter. Also be sure to look out for your favourite performers on social media, where many will be releasing free content. For example, French comedian Jérémy Ferrari uploaded an entire set and tweeted the hashtag #sauvetonconfinement (“save your quarantine") to help fans get through these tough times in isolation.
This certainly adds a new dimension to the term ‘house’ music. Experience Berlin’s best nightlife or London’s iconic Boiler Room from the comfort of your home. Get dolled up and dressed to the nines or dance in your unwashed, fluffy pyjamas, there is no dress code at this club night. Anything goes, just bring your quarantined self.
Who knew that we could turn the beautiful act of binge-watching into a long-distance group activity? Watch Netflix’s best shows and films with your friends and enjoy movie night together in quarantine with Netflix Party. For those of you really missing travel, may we recommend the series Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father and Street Food to ease your wanderlust.
Going to the opera or ballet is not an everyday activity for most, but now it can be with several venues broadcasting some amazing performances for free. The acclaimed Royal Opera House will be streaming on its Facebook and YouTube pages and has even promised to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at some of the productions and free masterclasses. New York’s Metropolitan Opera is also doing a nightly stream of its operas including Wagner’s Siegfried and Verdi’s Don Carlo.
This is the time to move on from your air guitar and pick up the real thing that’s been hiding in your attic and building up dust. What about learning from James Bay? The singer-songwriter is teaching people how to play his songs through live sessions on Instagram. Guitar brand Fender is also offering three months of free guitar lessons to the first 100,000 people that subscribe to its online teaching platform.
We understand that keeping kids entertained is becoming more difficult by the day. Here is one great way to keep them engaged: live book readings with celebrities. Jake Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Garner, and Chris Pratt are just some of the many celebrities that are reading children’s stories for Save the Children’s #SaveWithStories campaign on Instagram.
Enjoy the entire works of Shakespeare from different theatres with Globe Player. This is the world-famous Globe Theatre’s online streaming service, featuring performances from all over: Lithuania, Seoul, Argentina, you name it. All the world’s a stage, after all. For something a little bit different check out Munich’s puppet theatre streams for both kids and adults.
As well as museums and galleries, you can explore some of the world’s most beautiful national parks on Google Arts and Culture. Hundreds of live webcams are also recording the world outside for you. Scuba dive with the extraordinary fish of the Pacific Ocean, go on a virtual safari with Africa’s wildlife or admire the beauty of Niagara Falls. Better yet, go somewhere few people have been with NASA’s live streaming from the International Space Station.
Stay active and resist the overwhelming urge to become a couch potato. We understand that outdoor activities are limited, but there is still so much to do inside your home. Les Mills has a variety of videos to choose from, while Barry’s is offering free workouts twice a day. If you’d prefer to put on your dancing shoes, New York’s 305 Fitness is streaming free Dance Cardio classes twice a day. Get the kids involved too with Joe Wicks' PE classes.
With all this time on your hands, why not take up a new language? Whether it’s one you’ve always wanted to learn or in preparation for your next trip when all of this is over, now’s a great time. If not through Duolingo, BBC Languages or Rosetta Stone, what about through K Pop superstars BTS? That’s right, the boy band will host 30 sessions on social media app Weverse to teach fans Korean. Alternatively, why don’t you teach a language? One inspiring student has started sharing sign language classes on YouTube, making the most of her time in lockdown.
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