For countless people from coast to coast, vacations have been very different than in past years. While international travel may not be in the cards, we all have the ability to satisfy our wanderlust by simply looking to our own hometowns. Whether it’s exploring new places, wandering unfamiliar streets, or tasting new flavors, creating the perfect and adventurous staycation is easier (and more fun) than you think.
“Travel” to a new neighborhood.
The Tunisian stroll, or doolesha, is to amble aimlessly, leading to unexpected-yet-delightful experiences. Head to a new neighborhood and meander the commercial thoroughfares, tuck into residential areas, take in the architecture, eat at a new restaurant and stroll through the green spaces. To avoid feeling too lost, check out local community newspapers for ideas, or explore hashtags and geotags on Instagram. These will not only direct you to picturesque locations, but will also give you some insight into insider events and spots. Nowadays, to avoid tight quarters in restaurants, we order to go and picnic outside (weather pending).
If you’re completely homebound, check out the local restaurants. Food can transport us elsewhere in the world through flavors, colors, and textures. In our hometown of San Francisco, we have noticed countless restaurants offering innovative options for take-out and delivery. Some cities now have reusable take-out containers to reduce waste – check out Dispatch Goods in San Francisco and Deliver Zero in New York City. We have been ordering Reem’s Arab Bakery in San Francisco for delicious Arab food. They offer a Friday Meal Kit, which we always serve on Made by Tinja’s ceramic tableware.
Location, Location, Location.
Instead of eating at the usual spot in our home, the kitchen table, we set up an indoor picnic, spreading out a striped Mariem tablecloth fouta and a few pillows on the living room floor. We always have Les Moulins Mahjoub olives on hand and throw on a playlist or podcast (currently listening to Kerning Cultures). To end the evening, we treat ourselves to Tunisian sweets from Layla’s Delicacies and play a few board games late into the night.
Out of Office.
Between Zoom calls and the ever-present iPhone in our hands, screen fatigue is more prevalent than ever. Combat this by unplugging. Pick up a physical book and travel to another place through the written word. Layer in community by coordinating with your partner or friends so you can discuss what you’ve read during free time after the kids are asleep or on a walking book group. You’ll be surprised at how these works can transport you to a completely different location and time.
Working at home, and juggling kids, roommates, partners or extended family, has left many of us with little-to-no time for ourselves. Carving out these moments is critical for your mental health, and will return you to your responsibilities and those around you in a better mood and healthier headspace. On a personal note, I try to take a solo walk in my neighborhood at least once a week. Rarely do I have time alone between my business, a toddler and a one year old. It reminds me to look up away from my phone, free my mind, and breathe.