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How to swap real-life adventures for digital ones

Helen Alexander

Senior Contributor

Many of us won’t be jetting abroad any time soon, or even taking the train to see friends in the next town, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep seeing the world and socialising. Here’s how to enjoy the things we love in real life, within an online world.

Create a virtual venue

Digital gatherings enable us to be together, even when we are physically apart. From birthday parties and pub quizzes to art classes, many group activities can be carried out online with easy-to-use tech and a little bit of forward planning.

Taking inspiration from the worldwide success of the Virtual Choir, people are now signing up to sing together with organisations like the Sofa Singers, while online book clubs and reading groups are popping up everywhere – Brooklyn-based A Public Space recently launched Tolstoy Together, to build a community of people batting their way through War & Peace, while Rebel Book Club just launched a 14-day reading challenge for people who want to up their non-fiction game.

Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Free apps like Housewarming make it possible to host group video calls, so why not observe the latest Japanese trend of on-nomi (which means ‘online drinking’) and raise a glass to on-screen friends and family. 

Enjoy some audio entertainment

Podcasts have become increasingly popular in recent years, so thankfully, there’s a huge online library of interesting episodes to download. Scratch your itchy feet by tuning into travel-conversations like Terra Incognita, which talks to polar explorers, recreational tree-climbers, Faroe Islands sheep farmers and a whole host of other international adventurers. Or learn more about people from other countries with Where Are You Going?, which stops strangers in the street and offers a fascinating insight into their day-today life – destinations range from London to Tokyo.

Concerts might be cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, but a number of performance spaces have pivoted to screening shows to virtual audiences. In New York, the Metropolitan Opera has launched a free-to-view series while the venue is closed, and Opera de Paris’s 2020/21 season is now online – head to its website to see productions of Swan Lake, Carmen and Don Giovanni. Meanwhile the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera have some fantastic recordings to watch, and Turin’s Teatro Regio recently launched its Opera on the Sofa YouTube channel.  

Fill your home with art

After cancelling its fair, Art Basel Hong Kong will present more than 2,000 works online with an estimated value of $270 million, and that’s just one of many virtual viewing rooms you can browse. Search your social media channels using the hashtag MuseumFromHome and a whole heap of galleries and cultural spaces will pop up.

Get close to the ancient Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies during an online tour of the British Museum in London without getting up from your sofa. Admire mind-bending artworks at the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Catalonia, ‘wander’ past statues and sculptures in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery and gaze at the Sistine Chapel’s ornate frescoes as you discover a virtual Vatican

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