Free and cheap things can help you escape the monotony of self-isolation, shielding and the lockdown.
With overseas holidays and even staycations in the UK ruled out for the short term (if not longer), our homes are becoming frustratingly familiar during the lockdown.
So last weekend, I thought it would be good to plan what I’m calling a “homecation”. Very simply we themed a day around a destination, in our case a day in New York.
It was great! Obviously nothing like the real thing, but it was a little bit of much-needed escapism. And it provided an alternative structure to days that have started to feel a bit Groundhog Day – the same things again and again.
Here’s what we did and how, to hopefully act as inspiration for you to do something similar.
Pick a theme
First of all, pick a location or type of holiday you’d like to go on. City breaks are probably easiest, but you could just go for a whole country. Or even something like a festival or camping. Basically anything you think you can mimic parts of in your home.
Then just think about the things you’d do, places you’d go and things you’d eat on the holiday. That’s the starting point for everything you’ll do on your homecation.
Zone your house
Getting off the sofa can help freshen things up a bit, so if you’ve got the space set out different areas of your home as different parts of your destination. So your bedroom becomes your hotel, your garden is a specific outdoor location (for us, Central Park), your lounge a theatre, and so on.
We then found it good to move around more between the spaces, and treat them as if they are what you’re calling them and do the things you’d do there.
Ok, so calling the kitchen a restaurant doesn’t mean you’ll have a restaurant experience (you’ll have to do the cooking and washing up yourself for a start), but it means you’ll hopefully look at the space in a different way for at least one day.
Curate your entertainment
By now you’re probably getting a bit bored of Zoom pub quizzes and Netflix binges, so a homecation could help inspire you to do or watch something a little different.
It was a really sunny day so we decided to chill out at an open-air concert in Central Park (via YouTube on our laptop in the garden) rather than go on (virtual) tours of places like the Guggenheim museum and New York street murals.
Something we like doing if we visit the US is to head to a bar where there are always multiple screens of live sport and good beer.
So for our evening we plugged in our laptops and tablet and streamed replays of baseball (I found this list of classic matches available on YouTube), basketball (you can get free access to the hundreds of matches via NBA League Pass until end of August) and US Open tennis (available on replay on Amazon Prime).
To get more in the mood we grabbed some US-style craft beers, then dimmed the lights and put on a suitable dive-bar-esque Spotify playlist.
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We decided to “go to NYC” yesterday, with a classic Eggs Benedict at brunch to kick things off. An afternoon reading in Central Park (I.e. our garden) was the followed by a visit to a (home-made in our kitchen) dive bar in the evening, streaming multiple replays of baseball, basketball and US Open tennis alongside craft beer and bar snacks. Plans to see a broadway show (in the lounge) were replaced with reruns of Property Brothers and The Tonight Show back at the hotel (our bedroom). Not the same as a proper trip but it was fun to theme the day’s isolation! #isolationoutings #isolationholiday #holidayfromhome #eggsbenedict #newyorkviayorkshire
Later we’d thought about catching a free a broadway show online or watching some New York set movies. But thanks to a few too many beers we decided to head “back at the hotel” and stream Late Show clips on YouTube.
All in, it was the best Saturday night we’ve had since lockdown began. Largely because it was different to our normal lockdown habits, but also for bringing back memories of much loved trips to NYC.
Plan your menu
This is a really fun bit if you’re a foodie. Theme all your meals around what you’d eat if you were there.
For “New York”, we had eggs benedict for brunch then an assortment of NYC inspired bar snacks in the evening such as loaded fries and buffalo chicken bites.
If we had the ingredients we’d probably have made this cheesecake, but instead cracked open a pack of pistachio cream pastries and pretended we’d picked them up in Little Italy. You get the idea.
Get in character
Finally, I’m not saying you should pretend to be someone else, but definitely use your imagination to pretend you are somewhere else.
Be the holiday version of yourself. Dress like you would if you were really on holiday, from beachwear (if that’s where you are “going”) through to dressing gowns in the hotel/your bedroom.
And really importantly, don’t do any work or other life admin if you can avoid it.