The monotony of lockdown is probably starting to get to you. Having zoomed everyone and their ouma, zapped loaves upon loaves of banana bread into the oven and zombied out on Netflix, maybe it's time you zeroed in on keeping the flame of wanderlust alive.
So. You're feeling stuck. Maybe Level 3 didn't deliver on its promises (we're looking at you, Lion's Head). Whether you're suffering from lockdown lethargy, feeling confined or it's merely foul weather that's keeping you cooped up, these tips should help you squeeze a little more adventure into your home.
But first, coffee
Move over dalgona. If you're a coffee-lover, why not add some spice to your routine. Freshen up the French press with a crushed cardamom pod (or four) Turkish-style. Did you know? UNESCO declared Turkish coffee an Intangible Cultural Heritage drink for the role it plays in traditional culture. If you're not a fan of spice, why not sweeten it instead like they do in Vietnam. Find a warm spot in the winter sun, half-fill a tall glass with ice and top up with coffee, then stir in a generous tablespoon of condensed milk. Feeling up to a challenge? Try theme your dinner too. Dive in the recipe books and bring the world to you.
Learn: courses about awesome places
Dreaming about the wilds of Mozambique? What about diving the magnificent big blue and colourful reefs off Sodwana Bay? Or maybe you're more troubled by climate change and our earth's future. Well, there's a (free) course for that. Brush up your knowledge on places you want to visit once lockdown lifts. Here are some of my favourites:
- Our Earth's Future on Coursera is about the science of climate change and how to talk about it.
- Marine Ecology Course by Coral Divers is presented by marine biologist Kristy Potgieter and covers everything from coral to crabs to clownfish.
- Mountains 101 on Coursera is excellent for serious hikers who want to grasp the geology below their boots better.
- South Africa Specialist online training will have you craving every corner and crevice of the country.
- Ecology: Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation on Coursera uses Mozambique's breathtaking Gorongosa National Park as a case study.
Practice those photography skills
Spending extra time inside is no excuse for leaving your camera to gather dust. Turn your lens onto loved ones and tasty meals or try your hand at styling swish flat lays. These are some of the best lessons and webinars I've turned to recently.
- My photography lecturer at Rhodes University, Sophie Smith, has just launched a series of courses. The freecreative composition class moved me to get shooting again.
- I've always loved the sweeping landscapes taken by Jacques Crafford, which led me to the Sony events page. They are forever loading new photography webinars that grapple with videography, manual settings and tricks for Instagram.
- iStore South Africa has also been hosting online webinar events for phone photography and editing that include loads of tips and tricks from experts. Hosted live, they're great for anyone looking to up their game.
- Nikon South Africa also has a bundle of tutorials online.
Enjoy a sofa safari
If it's too much to sacrifice the sofa, then so be it. Stay put, but use it to tune into the virtual wilderness. You can slowly savour that coffee in bed while simultaneously following lion cubs across the Kruger National Park or savour the sounds of elephant herds slurping at the waterhole. Sound like your kind of weekend? Check out this hour-by-hour guide to enjoying a sofa safari.
Have a braai
Oppositely, turn the Wi-Fi off and make like you're in the middle of nowhere. There's a reason South Africans braai on Heritage Day - because anyone can do it. Toast a mielie, wrap up a fancy garlic bread concoction (more cheese!) or really commit and spend the day tending to a potjie. While you're outside, keep the binoculars handy to keep an eye on out for birdlife fluttering by.
Plan your next adventure
National Geographic recently reported that planning a trip is almost as good as taking one. Gather some maps, your favourite magazines, blogs, travel guides and get inspired. Use a Google Maps list to earmark your favourite coffee shops, museums and game reserves.
We'll likely be confined to our borders for a long time. There's a new platform called #StayHomeSouthAfrica, which is a good news hub and responsible tourism promoter for local travel that's regularly updated with affordable travel deals.
Find your tribe online
Keep the spirit of adventure alive by sharing those plans, hiking goals, bucket list trips and connecting with fellow travellers in online communities. Women for Wildis a brand new Facebook group, but there are also lots of established local hiking clubs that are a wealth of information.
Tested: Sherpa Fleece Jacket
"It's just so soft!" was my first reaction. A piece of clothing you just want to cuddle, which is probably why they call this sort of fabric teddy bear fleece. The Hi-Tec Sherpa Fleece Jacket is much thicker fleece than the regular tops, and I liked the high neck, which helps keeps the cold out. Fleece is categorised by weight shown as grams per square meter. Ok. What the fleece does that even mean? Well, the heavier the grammage the thicker and warmer the fleece. This one features a 250g/m² outer, compared with the 135g/m2 weight of the Hi-Tec1/4 Zip Lightweight Fleece. Paired with thicks tights, you've got the perfect lounge about at home outfit that's also easy to take outside (just pop on a pair of shoes).