The coronavirus and COVID-19 have stopped travel and tourism in their tracks. Nationwide lock-downs, sweeping travel bans and border closures are firmly in place and in 2020 no-one is going anywhere.
As I type this 36,277 people have died so far from the coronavirus outbreak. There are currently 753,385 confirmed cases in 199 countries and territories. Life as we know it has changed.
This worldwide pandemic has forced governments and health experts to find solutions to stop it spreading any further. People are being asked not just to social distance themselves, but to self isolate. In short, people are being told to stay put – or to put it rather more bluntly as seen on social media #staythefuckhome.
It has had an enormous impact on the travel and tourism industry. If you had any trips or journeys booked they will have probably been postponed or cancelled. Nobody knows when they will be able to travel again.
With millions of people under quarantine twiddling their thumbs, I thought I would suggest some books, films and music on the theme of travel. I have read and reread, listened to on a loop and watched the following countless times and they have given me an incurable case of wanderlust.
So here is my guide to how to be an armchair traveller in these unprecedented times.
How to be an Armchair Traveller
- Find a comfy chair – (with cushions, a blanket is optional)
- Get some decent snacks (quality biscuits and popcorn)
- Make yourself a pot of tea (or coffee)
- Now indulge yourself in words, images and music from around the world.
Read your way around the world – 12 Travel Books
- Pico Iyer Video Night in Kathmandu (Asia)
- Jack Kerouac On the Road (USA)
- Bill Bryson Notes from a Small Island (UK)
- Alexandra Fuller Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight (Zimbabwe)
- Paul Theroux The Great Railway Bazaar (Asia)
- Arundhati Roy – The God of Small Things (India)
- Paulo Coelho The Alchemist (Spain and North Africa)
- Alex Garland The Beach (Thailand)
- Frances Mayes Under the Tuscan Sun (Italy)
- Jan Morris – A Literary Life (Various)
- Tove Jansson The Summer Book (Finland)
- Gregory David Roberts Shantaram (India)
Films that will feed your wanderlust – 12 Travel Films
- The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Australia)
- A Passage to India (India)
- Roman Holiday (Rome, Italy)
- Out of Africa (Kenya)
- The English Patient (Italy and Egypt)
- Amelie (Paris, France)
- Sideways (California, USA)
- Doctor Zhivago (Russia)
- Lost in Translation (Japan)
- Withnail and I (England)
- Thelma and Louise (USA)
- Hideous Kinky (Morocco)
Close your eyes, listen and drift off into unknown lands – 12 World Music Albums
- Manu Chao Clandestino (France/ Spain)
- Buenos Vista Social Club Buenos Vista Social Club (Cuba)
- Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Mustt Mustt (India)
- Ryuichi Sakamoto Music for Film (Japan)
- Cesaria Evora Miss Perfumando (Cape Verde)
- Goran Bregovic Ederlezi (Bosnia and Herzegovina Yugoslavia)
- Amadou and Mariam Dimanche a Bamako (Mali)
- Joyce Just a Little Bit Crazy (Brazil)
- Umm Kulthum The Legend (Egypt)
- Angelique Kidjo Aye (Benin)
- Zakir Hussain Making Music (India)
- Mariza Fado e Mim (Portugal)
Let me know the music, books and films that inspired you to travel.
tierneycreates March 31, 2020
You know this is a brilliant idea! I haven’t read a travel book in a long time and I used to read a lot of Bill Bryson! I think I’m going to do just what you suggested thanks
alidunnell March 31, 2020 — Post Author
Bill Bryson is a great way to travel, I especially love Notes from a Small Island. Thanks for for commenting. Ali
thewonderer86 March 31, 2020
What great lists!
Cherryl April 7, 2020
Most of the books I’ read recently have been travel themed – I never tire of this genre. I recently finished reading “Elsewhere: One Woman, One Rucksack, One Lifetime of Travel, by Rosita Roland” 😊
Musically I wouldn’t say there are any specifically themed songs that spring to mind but I always make DVDs of my travels and add lots of music – so certain songs bring back specific travel memories for me. – even though the song may have nothing to do with travel lol 🤗
alidunnell April 9, 2020 — Post Author
Thanks so much for telling me about your travel books and music. I know what you mean about music being linked to certain journeys… certain songs are often synonymous with places if you’ve listened to them there. And I’ve never heard of Rosita Roland, so I’ll see if I can find her book and read that too. Ali