“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness... Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Mark Twain

The above quote is used by Joseph Rosendo’s Travelscope; Joseph is a well-known world traveler with videos of his trips around the world. He and many other travel professionals have created narrated videos which are now regularly scheduled TV programs. Today, as the world is gripped by the corona19 virus, we are forced to abandon real travel plans. However, there is an alternative: Armchair Travel.

TV provides us with adventurous travel programs by Rick Steves, Samantha Brown, and others. Viewing these programs, we vicariously are able to tour various countries and to learn about some of the special cities and areas. We can enjoy the sights of the Swiss Alps and the ambiance of St. Moritz as we take a gondola up to the summit. We can cruise the Rhine River, view the castles and fortresses on the river banks, or walk the Great Wall in Beijing.

To find a destination on YouTube, simply go to google and type in YouTube Hamburg, Germany (or whatever place you’d like to view). Select a YouTube that looks interesting (and select another if the first isn’t what you’re looking for). Grab your headphones, sit back, hit F for full screen (hitting F again takes you back to the smaller screen), and enjoy your trip. Incidentally, besides professional videos, there are also personal travel videos like our ‘Len and Diana Nasman’s Tulip Trip’.

Enjoying armchair travel, we are allowed a window into the world. We can’t taste the wines of France, but we can enjoy the terraced landscapes and the explanation of the owners as to how the grapes are processed. We can’t taste the pasta meals in Italy, but we can observe the dancers and singers who provide the entertainment as our tour host takes us to a typical cafe. We can admire the fantastic workmanship of the Cologne Cathedral as we take a tour of the interior, and we can imagine the energy expended by guides who take us up the city steps in Porta, Portugal, as we admire the ocean

view from the hilltops. We can walk the wall in Dubrovnik, learn of the battles fought, and view the clear blue water of the Adriatic.

We can delight in special events and celebrations….the running of the bulls in Spain, the October Fest in Munich, the Lucia celebration in Sweden, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Through our vicarious viewing, we learn about the history, values, and unique characteristics of other countries, the people, the traditions, the daily customs, etc. These might be very different from our own, but we must acknowledge once again our common humanity. We remember the Disney song ...”There’s so much that we share, that it’s time we’re aware, it’s a small world after all…”.

Using the internet, there are endless opportunities for virtual travel. Google Maps even provides Street Views. Google has special cars equipped with cameras that record 360 degree views every 100 feet or so. The Google car has even been in Waverly. When you are on a Google Map view, a little browse tool can be dropped on the map to open a street view at that location. Once in a street view, you can use the mouse to pan around the scene. Google Street views can provide a preview of where you plan to travel, whether it is simply an address in Ohio, or a place you plan to visit. When we were planning to travel to Amsterdam, a Street view gave us a preview of what we would see when we walked from the train station to our hotel.

The Internet can take you to places you would otherwise never be able to visit. The Google Street view people have put their cameras on back packs and hiked the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon. They have put cameras on carts and taken pictures inside of famous buildings around the world like the Washington Cathedral.

Don’t let the virus lock down give you cabin fever. Just turn on your computer and do some serious and fun Armchair Traveling!

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