Armchair Travels: Mind & Body

Two weeks ago, we brought you an itinerary for a virtual luxury weekend adventure. From prestigious online tours to an interactive design-your-own Tesla experience to an evening at the opera, we rounded up all of the necessary ingredients for a very fine Saturday at home.

This week, we’re turning our attention to the mind and body. We’ve curated some of our favourite experiences around the world to help you stay active, healthy, and creatively stimulated in the days ahead. Ready for this weekend’s global tour?

Do an Online Workout

The health-and-wellness corner of the tourism industry has been seriously picking up steam in the past number of years. From fitness retreats to wellness cruises, plenty of travel experiences are now centred all around the mind and body. But sadly, like everything else related to tourism these days, these have all screeched to a temporary halt.

Online workouts have been around for ages now, but as technology improves and the importance of online platforms shifts, a landscape once dominated by fitness vloggers is now the shared domain of some of the world’s most prestigious gurus and studios.

If you’re looking for a break from your regular yoga or exercise routine, consider an online course from The Bar Method. Founded 18 years ago by Burr Leonard, a lover of ballet and jazz, the studio’s workouts draw heavily from dance techniques with plenty of guidance from physical therapists. The studio has actually been offering online classes since 2013, and over the past 18 years, its San Francisco flagship location has expanded with new locations across the United States and Canada.

And don’t be afraid, newbies; the Bar Method promises a safe, effective experience for students with wide-ranging abilities or physical limitations.

Tour Blenheim Palace

Located in Woodstock, England, Blenheim Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a beautiful landmark of the region’s rolling countryside. Built between 1705 and 1722 and designed in the English Baroque style, it would go on to become the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill. While today it is still the home of the Dukes of Marlborough, it is also a popular destination for visitors, with the Palace, Formal Gardens, and Pleasure Gardens all open to the public.

While these facilities are all closed until further notice, the team at Blenheim offers regular and exclusive live stream tours of the Palace. It also provides high-quality, 360-degree tours of some of Blenheim’s most magnificent rooms and lush exteriors, from the China Ante Room with its collection of Sèvres and Meissen porcelain to the 10,000 book Long Library to the stunning Water Terrace. The lavish Blenheim is a welcome feast for the eyes.

Take a Cooking Tutorial with a Michelin-Starred Chef

Missing your favourite restaurants and the ability to try new ones? We sure are, and we’ve been spending a lot of time fantasizing about some of the finest restaurants around the world that we’re dying to visit once this is all over.

In the meantime, there are plenty of online cooking tutorials from some of the finest chefs in the business to sustain us. Massimo Bottura, the Italian restauranteur and chef patron of the thrice-Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana in Modena (which has ranked among the top 5 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards since 2010), has taken to his Instagram page with something he calls Kitchen Quarantine. The world-famous chef, much beloved by the A-list celebrities of the world, is offering (completely free!) live videos of his own personal meal preparations, and he also entertains Q&As with viewers. Best of all? He’s a charming, absolute delight to watch.

Take a Virtual Tour of the World’s Most Scenic Landscapes

This last pick is all about visual stimuli for your travel-starved eyes. AirPano has been gathering photos of the most beautiful and significant parts of the globe since 2006, and one happy offshoot of this massive project is its virtual journeys of the world; today the website offers roughly 3,000 panoramas of over 300 locations, from remote corners of the Antarctic to cultural sites to volcanic eruptions.

For a learning-focused experience, opt for the site’s 4K aerial videos, which introduce viewers to sweeping perspectives of places like the Kingdom of Bhutan in the Himalayas, the vast cityscape of Tokyo, Neuschwanstein Castle in the German Alps, and so much more. Voiceover narration provides history, context, and interesting facts about these landscapes and cultural sites.

For a more soothing, meditative experience, opt for the 360-degree photos. These interactive experiences allow users to navigate the panoramas at their own pace, with additional information provided through click-prompted pop-ups. Soar above the sun-drenched mountains of Tajikistan, the coral coloured lakes of Crimea, the beautiful Mykonos Island in Greece…With 395 destinations available at the click of a button, there are plenty of virtual vacations to choose from.