Take off with no take off

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By Sophia Choudhury, 2nd Year French and Spanish student

The Croft Magazine // Sophia Choudhury talks travelling the globe through immersive virtual exhibitions, performances and tours of sweeping canyons

With thousands of flights cancelled, and international travel shut down, many of us have undoubtedly missed out on long-awaited trips. For some, this might be an opportunity to return home to see family. For others, it is a chance to escape their day-to-day lives. Isolated from friends and loved ones, many people are using platforms – such as Zoom and Skype – to connect with others across the world. These extraordinary times can be used as an opportunity to find joy in the simple things and new ways to adapt to life, including travel.

Many individuals and organisations have created innovative ways to see the world through virtual tours and livestreams of events to allow people to experience moments they might not have had the chance to encounter otherwise. These are not identical to first-hand experiences of different cultures across the world, but for now, it seems to be a very good second-best.

With the options ranging from livestreams of orchestral pieces to DJ sets, to guided tours of natural art and street art, it would be hard to find something that doesn’t suit each individual taste. A vast number of these are also free, making them accessible to all. It might even help you to find a completely new interest or hobby. Here are some suggestions to spark your interest...

Thanks to the Australian Chamber Orchestra, it is possible to watch their 2018 performance of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony at the Sydney Opera House. Closer to Bristol, the Royal Opera House has chosen to broadcast previous performances both from themselves (Gloriana, 7pm Friday, April 24) as well as the dancers of the Royal Ballet (The Metamorphosis, 7pm Friday, April 17 and The Winter’s Tale, 7pm Friday, May 1). Classical music isn’t the only genre available, as singers such as Stevie Wonder, Billie Eilish and Jessie Reyez link up with the likes of Samuel L Jackson, Lewis Hamilton and Lilly Singh to take part in Lady Gaga’s One World: Together At Home (7:15pm Sunday, April 19).

The world-renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is currently offering the chance for people to experience their collections through audible and visual art. The empty galleries visible on their online videos offer new unseen angles, including of exhibitions from the founder of Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo, and iconic designer Coco Chanel.

On the other side of the artistic world, Google has compiled street-art tours where you can visit cities across the world such as Malmo, Buenos Aires and Delhi. Knowing Bristol’s street art - its reputation, quality and quantity - it wouldn’t be surprising if these pieces attract the attention of many across the world.

Epigram / Jessica Mortimer

Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park has certainly been basking in the limelight over the last few weeks, however, it is not the only wonder Oklahoma currently has to offer. The state’s Nature Conservancy allows the exploration of its canyons and ridges throughout the year. Many will be feeling detached from green spaces and the freedom nature has to offer, having only a single form of exercise a day approved by the UK government. Luckily, some of the United States’ National Parks and the National Marine Sanctuaries have created immersive virtual tours of their locations ranging from the caverns of New Mexico and the fjords in Alaska, to the playful underwater dances of sea lions in California, via the shipwrecks of Michigan’s Thunder Bay.

Hopefully you will be intrigued to explore a new area of the world within the confines of four walls, perhaps inspiring new creations as people merge their current passions with those yet to be discovered.

| The students guide to self isolation

Featured image: Epigram / Emma Loubser


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Epigram Travel

The travel section for the University of Bristol's independent newspaper, Epigram. Edited by Nick Bloom, Evy Tang and Ellie Caulfield.