With the welcome news of a vaccine on the horizon and many of us likely to have the opportunity of spending Christmas with our loved ones, things just might start to be looking up. However, in the meantime, most of us are either still in lockdown or experiencing restrictions of some kind. This is likely to be the case for some time yet so we’ve put together some of the things we have been doing to conquer the boredom and monotonous routine to help you get through it. With all outdoor recommendations please ensure you follow the specified local COVID rules such as wearing a mask and social distancing, with the end in sight it’s important we don’t take it for granted as we aren’t there just yet.
1. Farmers Markets
Borough Market in London
Farmer’s markets across the country are allowed to be open giving you the ideal opportunity to do a weekly fresh grocery shop. You’ll also find most of the street food outlets open, along with restaurants doing take out food and drink so if you don’t mind finding a pew or standing (while abiding by the social distancing rules of course) then you can sample to your stomach’s content. Apart from getting out, awaken your senses and taste buds, buying locally and supporting small businesses at farmers markets allows you to make a huge difference. For those living in London here is a list of Farmer’s markets that we’ve been making our way through.
2. Learn a New Recipe
Learn a recipe from your favourite country
With international travel unlikely, for some time yet, why not bring your favourite international countries into your home via your kitchen. We’ve listed some of our favourite recipes from our Untravelled Paths destinations to give you some ideas. However, there is no need to restrict yourself to those. From a culinary perspective, the world is your oyster!
- Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Olives and Lemon
- South African Oxtail Potjie
- Ethiopian Bereber Chicken
- Montenegrin Lamb in Milk
- Slovenian Prekmurska Gibanica
3. Dinner in the Dark
Having dinner in the dark can be fun and entertaining
This idea was inspired by various “eating in the dark” restaurants around the globe. It’s simple to replicate by using a blind-fold, sleeping mask or even your face mask to cover your eyes and testing your taste buds to see if you can recognise what you are eating. Certainly adds a bit of fun to your dining experience. It’s incredible how much we rely on our vision. We were surprised at how much we got wrong! You can do the complete dinner with the diner’s eyes permanently covered. However, that’s a lot of work for the chef as they’ll be serving and can get quite messy. We just started each dish with blindfolds on until the taster either guessed or gave up, much easier and no less fun.
4. Local Hiking Routes
The beautiful white cliffs on the Seven Sisters hike
With gyms and sports recreation generally not available, most of us have been getting out and doing a fair amount of walking. Often in a nearby park or to the local supermarket. But why not go one step further and plan something a little more substantial and do a proper hike. Even in the more industrial areas of the country, you are never too far from beautiful rolling green hills of the countryside. We had a quick google and very quickly found various hiking routes local to us in London so if the weather permits then we recommend you do the same.
5. Appreciate Wildlife
Deers grazing in Richmond Park
One of the very few benefits to emerge from the ongoing pandemic is the hugely positive impact it has had on the environment, resulting in wildlife thriving. With many of us having a little more time on our hands, try and take the time to appreciate it. Have a look into whether there are any wildlife spots near you. For those that live in London Richmond Park has an array of wildlife you can easily observe including red and fallow deer which have been roaming free since 1937 and even parakeets! Well worth a visit.
6. Volunteer (or Donate)
Volunteers helping unload a trunk at a vital food bank
Finally, most of us have all felt the impact of the pandemic in some way or another, whether that has been losing a loved one, a job, a business or simply struggling mentally with the unusual situation. However, if you have the time then there are so many charities that are struggling during this pandemic and could really do with your help. In many cases, those charities that are struggling provide for those that have been hardest hit by the pandemic. Volunteering not only helps immensely but it also a great way to lift one’s spirits and gives you a renewed sense of worth. If you’re not in a position to volunteer but can donate something, no matter how little, this is also a huge help and can also lift your own spirits. We came across this fabulous article in the Evening Standard that provides lots of ideas and options on how you can help.
Of course, another fabulous way to pass the hours during lockdowns is to browse the unique and exciting experiences on the Untravelled Paths website to give you inspiration for your next adventure!