Things to Do in Quarantine or Lockdown

January 28, 2021  |  By Peg Kern
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A view of the olive groves during our Spain food tours in Andalusia.We know you are probably asking yourself the same questions we are. How do I survive lockdown? What are things I can to during quarantine? How do I fight boredom during shelter in place?

We suspect you’ve already discovered zoom, and probably “Tiger King” as well. Our suggestions for things to do during lockdown are, not surprisingly, all related to food and travel! This is what gets us through the work day, the fact that we still get to focus on two things we love.

So here are our suggestions of travel-related things to do during quarantine.

Enjoying the sunset during a beach vacation with The International Kitchen.1) Research Your Next Trip – Or Even Your Fantasy Trip

COVID-19 will not last forever. For us in the travel industry, trust me when I say some days it feels like it will. But it will pass eventually, and travel will resume. We don’t yet know when, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start thinking about your next trip.

This is a great time to start researching destinations. Maybe they are places you actually intend to go once travel resumes. Places like the Amalfi Coast, Emilia Romagna, Tuscany. Places like Provence, or Lisbon, Barcelona or the Greek Islands.

Or they might be places you just want to learn more about. This is a great time for research. Many museums and monuments around the world are even offering virtual tours for free, which means your research can be exhaustive.

Check out our top 20 Travel Quotes to Inspire and Uplift!

Wine and dessert enjoyed during a culinary vacation in Portugal.I like to involve my kids in this. Since they are being schooled at home now, and since i’m still trying to work, I’m always looking for new activities and projects to keep them out of my hair. (I mean, to expand their young minds.) We all love travel, and asking them to learn about a new destination is fun. A lot of it can be done online, but we try to limit their screen time, so will resort to travel guides (even if they are old), art books, and even cookbooks. You can order books for this type of project, or check to see if your local library is still open (ours unfortunately are not).

Browse all our cooking vacations.

A travel journal full of travel memories with The International Kitchen.2) Start–or Continue–a Travel Journal

This is a great time to also remember past trips. I think we’ve all been doing a lot of reminiscing about the past during our shelter in place. Have you talked nostalgically about what you did last Easter, or for the last Passover? Is Facebook reminding you of that camping trip you took last spring?

Sitting outside for a coffee in BurgundyRight now there is a sense that we can only live vicariously through our memories or our plans for the future. We don’t believe that is true. (And see more on that below). But if you do find yourself returning in your mind’s eye to past trips, why not put them down in a travel journal?

Read about some or our favorite travel memories.

You might be starting a new one or, like me, picking up where you left off. (Mine, I confess, has not been updated since 2007!). You don’t have to spend hours on it each day. One memory, one cool thing you saw, one unforgettable meal – jot it down. It will not only keep those memories alive, it will make them easier to share with those around you, and might just lift your spirits as well.

Don’t like to journal? You could also use the time to create a photo book from your last trip!

Right now there is a sense that we can only live vicariously through our memories or our plans for the future. We don’t believe that is true.

Tasty homemade pasta made during a culinary vacation or at home.3) Take Virtual Trips Through Your Tastebuds

One positive outcome from this awful illness and the world paralysis it has caused might just be the reminder to appreciate the present. Yes, our first suggestions of what to do during this crisis focus on thinking positively about the future and thinking fondly of the past, but in the end, we have to get up every day and live it. This pause is a chance to reconnect with a lot of things: for some that might be with family. For others, with forgotten hobbies, lost skills, or even faith. For all of us it is a chance to reconnect with ourselves.

Traditional Middle Eastern foods Skyline of the Old City in Jerusalem on a culinary tour of Israel with The International Kitchen.In the grind of daily life during shelter in place, our options are limited but not our imaginations. Pick a country and “experience” it for the day by designing a meal around it. Tonight we “travel” to Mexico. Tomorrow to Israel. The next day to Argentina.

We’re assuming if you read our blog that you like to cook – or at least that you like to eat, and hopefully know someone who likes to cook! Whether you browse the recipes on our blog or search the internet for others, you can find tons of recipes that will help you explore new cuisines from the safety of your own home – and have fun doing it!

Learn about our favorite comfort foods.

4) Read and Watch

Finally, some our favorite things to do in quarantine or during shelter in place are read books or watch movies about travel and/or food. You notice we say and/or, because some of them feature food more heavily and some travel, which some (like us) focus on both. Some of our favorites, or those that are on our list to watch or read, are:


Staying home with a good travel book and a cup of coffee, dreaming about your next trip with TIK.

  • Eat Drink Man Woman
  • Chocolat
  • Like Water for Chocolate
  • The Hundred Food Journey
  • Chef
  • Julie & Julia
  • Bottleshock

The Eiffel Tower at night on a tour of ParisBooks

  • The Alchemist
  • Under the Tuscan Sun
  • Eat, Pray, Love
  • The Geography of Bliss
  • A Year in Provence
  • Turn Right at Machu Picchu
  • The Cathedral of the Sea
  • Kitchen Confidential

Yes, for some of these you can watch the movie too!

What others can you think of? We’d love to expand the list!

Visiting the sites in Lisbon on your culinary tour of Portugal with TIKWe hope you are healthy, and that where ever you are, if you are forced to stay home, that our suggestions help you weather the current events with good humor and optimism.

By Peg Kern

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