With Covid-19 cases rising in the U.S., many travelers are canceling their Thanksgiving plans to help reduce the spread of the virus.
If you’re one of millions of Americans with a long holiday weekend, you can maximize your time and explore new activities (or improve your current ones). Here are 3 things I’ve done that have made quarantine fly by, but also made me feel I used my time wisely. With the extra days off you have, and since you’ll be at home anyway, you have no excuses to try these new activities — and nothing to lose.
- Learn how to cook (trust me.. it’s easier than it looks).
I am not a great cook. In fact, I’ve always told my friends the only thing I make in the kitchen is a mess. I generally make one or two things a week (like a salad or a package of chicken), then I order take-out and delivery or go out for the rest of the week. For someone who travels as much as I do, and the fact I live in a NYC apartment (notorious for small kitchens), cooking was never a priority.
However, quarantine forced me to start cooking at home. I had extra time on my hands, I wasn’t traveling and I did move to a bigger apartment (I finally had an oven!). Also, I discovered Blue Apron, which is perfect for a single person. The meal delivery service sends you the exact amount of ingredients to make amazing dishes. Each meal has two servings, so I just save that extra serving for lunch the next day.
Cooking is extremely meditative. I didn’t know this before. It gives me a chance to spend time with my thoughts for an hour, go over things that happened at work that day, plan for tomorrow. That’s part of the reward for cooking: clearing my mind.
Cooking at home also connected me with travel. I could recreate ethnic dishes from various countries I had visited. I found a lot of benefits in cooking every day.
If you plan to start cooking, there’s one thing you definitely need: it’s a good knife. I had to buy a lot of cooking equipment, but it was the knife that made all the difference. After spending several hours reading reviews on the best knife, I decided on Zwilling J.A. Henckels Zwilling Chef’s Knife, and I have no regrets. The knife is made of a special formula high carbon no stain steel, forged from a single piece of solid steel. The ice hardened Friodur blade stays sharper longer, and has incredible resilience. This knife can cut!
2. Explore your neighborhood like you never have before.
I moved to Williamsburg Brooklyn recently. It wasn’t something that I had planned, it just sort of happened. I’m incredibly happy here, and I’ve spent a lot of time exploring in ways I never would have done had there been no quarantine.
I spend a lot of time outside, especially since I have a dog. I take her on two 1-hour walks a day, sometimes more. Rather than just walking her and creating standard routes, we now go all over the place, whether past the Williamsburg Bridge (a turn-around point) or further north into Greenpoint. We’re in the habit of walking more than 30 minutes into East Williamsburg, which has an entire different feel.
I love these walks. I stumble into off-the-radar parks, small bodegas off side streets, residential areas with beautiful buildings, that random cupcake shop in the middle of nowhere.
These walks have introduced me to so many cool places I never would have visited, but the daily exercise is therapeutic.
3. Start a blog (you always wanted to!).
A blog is something that I pushed off for many, many years. I was too busy. I wasn’t sure if anyone would read it. I didn’t know where to start. I made many excuses to continue delaying it.
Here’s the good news: with everyone at home, more people are spending time online. More people are Googling, reading news, reading anything they come across. You will have an audience if you start a blog. If you want the blog to be successful, it takes a lot of work. You have to publish compelling content, you have to post almost every day, and you have to understand the business side, like affiliate marketing.
I started Travelbinger as a hobby, something on the side. I had no idea my blog would turn into a major website and later become this successful. It’s the only independent travel site that’s a publisher with both Google News and Apple News, and I have readers all over the world—so you never know what could come out of starting your blog or website.
If you want to start a blog as a hobby, that’s great too. A blog is a good way to write more long-form thoughts, publish more pictures and have people outside your followers on social media read it and identify with you. You can have an impact in ways you never thought you could.
One thing you should know: you’ll be spending a lot more time in front of the computer!
I upgraded my office chair, and it’s the best decision I ever made. My back feels a lot better, and my posture is great. I went with Nouhaus Ergo3D ergonomic office chair (again, researching dozens of chairs and their reviews for days). I love it!
What are some new things you’re doing over Thanksgiving weekend? Let us know in the comments below.
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