In early March, photographer Kathy Adams Clark was leading a tour group through Costa Rica, guiding students as they focused their cameras on volcanoes, rainbows, and turquoise feathered birds. By the middle of the month, the frequent flyer arrived home in Houston, Texas, grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and not sure when she would ever travel again. She taught her first online class the next day.
This hard stop to her country-hopping lifestyle came as a shock. But it taught Clark a lesson: There are plenty of travel skills you can master from home.
While helping students improve their technique by training their lenses on backyard dragonflies, Clark has been doing some studying herself. She’s read up on Medici family history and taught herself to make risotto in anticipation of her next journey to Italy. “I’ve got time to take a deep dive into a subject,” she says. Clark remains hopeful for 2021 adventures. “People are going to be so ready,” she says. “We’re not going to take travel for granted. We’re going to treat it as the treasure it is.”
There are many classes, apps, and activities you can try now that’ll give you a leg—or hiking boot—up on your next trip.
LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
Travellers should always pack at least a couple foreign phrases, says Craig Childers, director of language courses for Washington, D.C.’s Goethe-Institut, a German cultural association with outposts around the world. “You can get by with English only [in Germany], especially in cities,” he says. “But if you know just a little German, you’ll be more confident and relaxed taking public transportation and ordering off menus.”
In response to the COVID-19 travel slowdown, the institute has launched new online classes and virtual cultural programming, including a tour inspired by the Netflix noir series Babylon Berlin and video seminars on art and architecture.
If you’re hoping to visit Tokyo next year then plan ahead with help from The Japanese Foundation Los Angeles, which offers free self-study courses and bilingual yoga classes on its Facebook page (you’ll learn that the word for inhale is “sutte”).
Craving conversation? Tandem is a free app that lets its 10 million users teach each other their native tongues via texts, voice memos, or—increasingly—video calls. Sign-ups have soared since February, says co-founder Arnd Aschentrup, who recommends that would-be travellers use the “search by city” option to get grammar tips with a side of local intel.
Popular free app Duolingo, which saw a 101 per cent boom in first-time users in March 2020, offers online tools for learning dozens of languages, including Finnish, which debuted in June.
CONNECT WITH OTHER CULTURES
Discovering the traditions and perspectives of international places is the magic ingredient in many of Airbnb’s online experiences, which invite guests to learn to cook street tacos with a Mexico City chef or spend the day in Paris with a local.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Where To Find Some of the World's Best Chocolate
ECUADOR’S SUSTAINABLE, LOCAL PRACTICES HAVE HELPED THE COUNTRY MAKE A CACAO COMEBACK—AND CHOCOLATE LOVERS CAN SHARE IN THE SWEET REWARDS
UNDER THE MOUNTAIN SHADOW
A remote and modern Georgian hotel goes out of its way to show off the spectacular hinterland that encompasses the property
MODERN LITERATURE & GRAND HOTELS
The Plaza Hotel might have been Fitzgerald’s true love, while Ritz Paris had Hemingway’s heart. Why did glamorous hotels evoke such passion in the greatest writers of a generation? We run through years of colourful history
TRAVEL TO REVIVE SMALL BUSINESSES
“PLUNGED INTO ECONOMIC DISTRESS IN 2020, CHARIDA’S CHHAU-MASK-ORIENTED ECONOMY AWAITS A NEW LEASE OF LIFE. SO SNAG SOME PAINTED VISAGES, JUST THE DRAMA FOR STAID URBAN SPACES.”
TRAVEL TO RESTORE AND RECONNECT
“WE JUMPED OUT OF THE CAR TO SPOT BLUSHING PINK AND MILK-WHITE LOTUSES, RISING FROM MURKY WATER AND BRINGING TO MIND: ‘FROM DARKNESS STEMS LIGHT’.”
Priya Krishna: Cheering on Indian-ish food
THE INDIAN-AMERICAN CULINARY WRITER DISCUSSES ALL THINGS CULTURE, CUISINES AND BEING THE PERSPECTIVE SHE WANTED TO READ
Of Sun, Sand and the Sea
ARCHITECTURAL MARVELS, CHARMING TRADITIONAL VILLAGES AND VARIED, NATURAL LANDSCAPES PERVADE OMAN’S TOPOGRAPHY LIKE THE FRANKINCENSE-INFUSED SMOKE THAT RISES FROM THE REGION’S HOUSEHOLDS. THE MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRY EMBRACES ARABIA’S ANCIENT SOUL, WHILE LOOKING AHEAD AT A FUTURE, IN WHICH IT EMERGES AS A RISING HOLIDAY DESTINATION
“IN 2021, LET THE HIMALAYAS BREATHE AND PLAN SOME LOW CARBON FOOTPRINT ADVENTURES IN THE SAHYADRIS OF MAHARASHTRA.”
A Traveller's Eyes in the Skies
DRONES GAVE US SOME OF THE MOST STIRRING IMAGES OF A PANDEMIC YEAR, WATCHING OVER OUR BEREFT PUBLIC SPACES AND PLACING THE EVERYDAY IN A STARK, NEW LIGHT
Conscious Wildlife Travel
“As with any interaction with nature, the only way to do it is to be mindful of not taking up more space than absolutely required.”
Her Turn Now
Odette Ramos’ ascension as Baltimore’s first-ever Latinx City Council member did not come easily.
STANLEY CLARKE SIGNATURE PREAMP INBOUND
EBS launches an acoustic pre in collaboration with the jazz icon.
Claim to Copper Fame
BUTTE, MONTANA’S COLORFUL HISTORY OF BECOMING “THE RICHEST HILL ON EARTH”
Wrap this one in maroon and white
My dad was a big fan of Mississippi State football.
Cool in clarksdale
A creative twist on a hotel combines creativity and comfort at the Crossroads.
GUNS N' ROSES
WHY HAVEN'T THE SPAGHETTI INCIDENT? AND LIVE ERA ‘87 - ‘93 CONNECTED WITH GN'R FANS LIKE APPETITE? GW CHECKS IN WITH GUITARIST GILBY CLARKE, VOCALIST ROBERTA FREEMAN, ENGINEER JIM MITCHELL, HANOI ROCKS' MICHAEL MONROE AND THE DAMNED'S BRIAN JAMES.
A BRAND-NEW BATH IN A CENTURY- OLD HOUSE CALLED FOR STYLE AND PRACTICALITY.
The NEW TIKI REVIVAL
Here’s why tropical drinks are more popular than ever, and where to go to get your fix
BEAST IN SHOW
How animal sounds are made for games
The food hall craze makes its way to Clarksville with The Common Kitchen.