There is nothing quite like experiencing a new country, culture and environment. Travelling for pleasure is a commodity that often entails new experiences, gaining a different perspective and making lifelong memories.
Statistics Canada reported that international travel to and from Canada declined from 96.8 million travellers in 2019 to 35.9 million in 2020.
Travel and border restrictions were enforced in March 2020 in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. But now as cases are declining, vaccination rates are increasing and borders are reopening, travel in the near future is on the minds of many.
However, leisure travel can also be out of reach for people who do not have the time or money, or those who are itching to travel but are still anxious about it. Thankfully there are many ways to reap the benefits of travel without actually going that far.
There is a reason why the phrase “getting lost in a book” is so commonly used. According to the Transportation Theory, proposed by Melanie Green and Timothy Brock from Ohio State University, narratives can mentally transport the reader into a world that exists in a book. Green describes the emotional connectivity to a story as an “integrative melding of attention, imagery, and feelings.” Reading fiction can also allow the mind to take a break from real life.
Switch up your routine
Humans are creatures of habit who thrive with routine and structure. However, living in autopilot all the time can induce boredom and cause some people to feel like they aren’t really living at all.
Making small changes to daily habits may help elicit the feeling of foreignness and adventure that comes with travel. Try visiting a new coffee shop, changing up your usual walking route or incorporating activities that you otherwise wouldn’t partake in on a day-to-day basis.
Visit a different neighbourhood in your city
Many urban areas have diverse settings within them. For example, Toronto is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and includes neighbourhoods such as Little Portugal, Chinatown and Little Italy.
Put your culinary skills to the test
Food is a huge aspect of many cultures and is a way that people often connect and socialize. Luckily, many international cuisines can be replicated anywhere. Grocery stores in Canada offer a wide range of products that can be used to create any desired dish, whether that be gnocchi with fresh basil, dumplings made from scratch or a lentil curry.
Watch a foreign film or listen to foreign music
Engaging in entertainment created outside of North America can induce the feeling of being transported somewhere else, similar to reading fiction. Netflix has an entire section dedicated to international films such as Roma, Amelie and many Studio Ghibli movies.
Listening to foreign music provides exposure to accents from other countries. As well, singing is an effective way to learn a foreign language. Music streaming apps have a variety of genres that encompass music from around the world.
Learn a new language
Time to get reacquainted with a little green owl named Duo. Duolingo offers free language lessons in the form of fun games and visuals that appeal to various types of learners. There are also online language courses available through many colleges and universities.