By George Stone, TRAVEL Executive Editor
Home is where the heart is during these lockdown days. In fact, it’s where our entire lives are. Which is leading to a new epidemic of sorts: flashes of anxiety triggered by the thought of leaving home. “Research suggests people will become habituated to the new normal of not going out,” reports The Telegraph in an article titled “Don’t let coronaphobia turn into agoraphobia.”
How can a housebound traveler regain footing? Some of us are peering into the homes of other world travelers for inspiration. I don’t know Trevor Noah, but he’s got terrific taste in books. In an early broadcast of The Daily Social Distancing Show, I spotted something familiar on his bookshelf: Wild Beautiful Places, National Geographic’s collection “picture-perfect journeys around the globe.” We loved dreaming and writing this book, so we are delighted by its serendipitous product placement. (Buy the book here and curate your own bookshelf!)
“Peeping at the flaws and flourishes in others’ living spaces is one of the sustaining pleasures of 21st-century self-isolation,” writes the New York Times. But our curiosities need not be limited to the living spaces of the living, a notion that triggered our story about zooming into the inspiring homes of artists and creative thinkers—from Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul (Mexico City) to Oscar Niemeyer’s Casa Das Canoas (pictured above, outside Rio de Janeiro); from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin (Spring Green, Wisconsin) to Frederic Church’s Olana (Hudson, New York).
Soon enough (and even now, in certain places) we will venture out. There is some good news: a new National Geographic article reports that while coronavirus will upend the ways we use trains, buses, and bike lanes in our future, one legacy of the pandemic will be to make our journeys healthier. When we return to the world, it will look different because we will be different. We can thank our current anxieties for future solutions that make the planet happier, safer, and more sustainable for travelers to come.
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Your Instagram photo of the day
Brrrrr! Arctic surfer Aline Bock takes to the water off Norway’s Lofoten Islands. “In normal life, you’re always thinking about something,” Bock says. “But when you’re surfing, you don’t think about anything. You’re reading the water, totally in the here and now. And when the perfect wave comes and you catch it really well, it’s absolute happiness.” Thick wetsuits with hoods, booties, and gloves help her stay for nearly two hours in water that’s only around 37.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Today in a minute
Iceland’s road back: Having tested a higher percentage of its nation than any other, Icelanders began cautiously opening up last week, the AP reports. Gatherings of up to 50 were permitted, high schools, and colleges resumed classes, and all businesses except bars, gyms, and swimming pools could reopen. The entire country, however, must still self-isolate from the rest of the world. Everyone arriving from abroad faces a 14-day quarantine.
The travel bubble: As of Friday, three Baltic nations will let their citizens cross their borders—but not those of the rest of the world—in what they call “a travel bubble.” The move by Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia follows a similar alliance announced by New Zealand and Australia (with details to come). It will be quite a while before travel bubbles expand.
Women wanderers: Inspired by our list of books by adventurous women, readers sent in their own picks. Kia Abdullah suggests Jini Reddy’s newly published Wanderland. Marilyn Terrell gives a thumbs up to Freya Stark’s The Valleys of the Assassins, first published in 1934. Rose Hadaway recommends the irresistibly titled Pink Boots and a Machete by Mireya Mayor. And Caitlin Kelly proclaims Robyn Davidson’s Tracks “extraordinary.” (More on this topic farther down in this newsletter.)
The big takeaway
Wither the ‘cloud forest’: If you’ve been to Costa Rica, you know the ecological heaven that is the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Preserve. But it, as well as the rainforests around the eco-tourist region of Monteverde, are emptied of the thousands of nature lovers hoping to glimpse one of 400 bird species or more types of orchids than anywhere else. Biologist and wildlife guide David Rodriguez says locals haven’t seen anything like this before. “During low season, you know high season is coming,” he tells Reena Shah for Nat Geo. “This is a complete stop with no end in sight."
Overheard at Nat Geo
Epic adventures: We can’t get enough of these 10 adventure books by women, including the story of an arduous effort by Sarah Marquis, pictured above in Australia’s remote northwest. These women bravely pushed boundaries and defied conventions, writes Katie Knorovsky for Nat Geo, who salutes a little library of “luminous accounts.”
Subscriber exclusive: These women were trailblazing explorers. Why did history forget them?
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The last glimpse
A tiny, tropical national park: Pirates, prisoners, and an epidemic haunted Dry Tortugas, 70 miles west of Key West. Now the seldom visited U.S. national park is a haven for wildlife, reports Nat Geo’s Starlight Williams. Dry Tortugas is the third-largest coral barrier reef in the world and the only tropical reef in the continental United States.
Related: 10 overlooked national parks