Winter can be grey and slow at the best of times, and this year these feelings have been amplified by limited social interactions and the view of the same four walls.
Ever the optimists, we are striving to turn frowns upside down, so we have created a crowd-sourced lockdown travel guide. We wanted to find out what you’re doing to treat yourself right now, and how you're escaping the monotony of life in your apartment, in ways that embrace the ethos of travel.
And you did good! We’re so inspired and have many new ideas - like writing letters to friends or look at pictures from old trips - for how to have festive fun with a dash of escapism. Here’s a round-up of your top 7 holiday-from-home tips, from tropic cocktails and the Beach Boys to Japanese book club in German: we love your creativity!
“Winter means sunny walks on the beach. Ok, it used to! I’m from California, so every year on Christmas day, we’d take a long walk on the beach. Since moving to Europe, I have created a Californian Christmas day by turning the heaters alllll the way up, putting on a bikini and flip-flops, listening to The Beach Boys, putting a beach-y scene on Youtube, and making a few ridiculous tropical cocktails for myself. While it seems small, it totally transports me and is 100% a mini-holiday!”
“I was missing the element of spontaneity and discovery that so often comes hand in hand with travelling. So, to replicate this experience, I have a box with pieces of papers inside. Each piece of paper lists a hike in either Berlin or Brandenburg. Every week I open the box, select one piece of paper at random, and go on that hike! So far, I’ve been to Pfaueninsel, Babelsberg and Cecilienhof!”
“Whatever I’m doing, I need to have music on! At the moment, to forget the grey skies and early sunsets, I’m listening to an "Accra-Lagos-Capetown" themed playlist that I created. It gives me positive summer vibes and relaxes my body, even in the cold Berlin winter.”
“Being stuck inside can easily lead to lethargy. To look after my body and my mind I do online yoga classes (currently I’m doing Yoga with Adrienne) and meditate. Then to completely get out of myself, I get hands-on, and spend my time drawing like a fiend and doing home improvements like building Ikea furniture! This balance between updating my space and being creative is so great for utter escapism. Next, I’d like to try tye-dying masks.”
“My partner, his parents and I have set up a Whatsapp book club. We’ve been picking one short story a week from Murakami’s 'Men without Women', and discuss it over a (virtual) tea on Sunday. Murakami paints such a vivid picture of Japan, and we love searching for the specific and intricate details about the country that have been dotted throughout the story. It combines everything we love: amazing writing, new cultures, family time, and - most importantly - a dedicated moment for tea.”
“When we’re on holiday, we always take the time to be in the moment, and that’s what I’ve started doing on my weekends. One of my favourite activities is walking around Boxhagener Platz with a take-away coffee from Neumanns Cafe. I’ve also been taking long bike rides through Treptower Park, listening to soul music, playing board games and reading books. Putting my phone away and enjoying the present activity is such a great way to restore my energy.”
“I love diving into books about travel, allowing my mind to paint pictures. I really love the vivid imagery of Pamuk’s Istanbul, and would recommend everything by Tolstoi as his words really transport you to St Petersburg at another time. I also paint a lot during lockdown, especially abstract paintings of exotic places. Nature also helps me escape, and having many exotic house plants makes me feel as if I'm in a tropical forest, while the marshlands in Spandau feel like they belong to another country.”
How are you making mini-holiday moments? Let us know! And if you feel like daydreaming about your next German escape, check out our beautiful places to stay.