By Sam Allen

If you’re an introvert like me, you might have celebrated at the beginning of the lockdown. In some ways, even though the reason for staying at home is a bummer, the prospect of not having to go into the outside world thrilled me. Wear pyjamas all day. Connect with friends only when you need to—and then by video. Listen to all the music you want. What’s not to love, right?

About five months into COVID season, the novelty of my cluttered apartment began to wear off. My own cooking tasted like yesterday’s leftovers, and I got tired of making a daily decision about showering. I missed the excitement of summer travel!

But what can you do when all you want is to step out of the ordinary for a while? A staycation, of course! They are becoming increasingly popular among lockdown-afflicted folks partly due to their ability to blend novelty with a little bit of safety.  

Here are some ideas for staying close to home without going stir-crazy—at least for another day or two!

Farm Boxes To Enliven Your Palate

About two months ago, I got sick of scrolling past pictures of bread on my timeline. I decided to splurge on the foods I’d like to make—vegetable dishes! I researched a bit and found Imperfect Foods, a farm box company that cuts down on food waste by delivering leftover produce and pantry staples directly to your door.  

Thanks to my farm box, and the handy Instant Pot Duo that my sister in law bought me last year, I’ve made Zuppa Toscana, Dal Makhani, and Couscous with chicken from recipes I’ve found on the internet. Yum! 

The novelty in this is that these are things that I’d order when out at a restaurant and would normally be scared to make at home. With a farm box and my Instant Pot, I’m able to ease up on both COVID boredom and banish my fears of wrecking a dish! Masterchef, here I come!

Live “In-House” Concerts

Steve Martin’s schtick about musicians wanting to bring us together in song notwithstanding, some pretty impressive live streams are coming up in the next few months. Whether you prefer pop, indie, or uplifting jams, the internet surely has something to suit your fancy. 

While many of these performances are free, some have become so popular that their original footage is being packaged and re-sold for you to keep forever. I was particularly taken by Nick Cave’s Idiot Prayer performance, which is being released in November.

Local Jaunts Away From Home

For my recent birthday, I went to San Francisco and its beachy neighbour Pacifica with my mom. Two glorious days out of my apartment made life exponentially easier for me once I had returned home.

Image by Sam Allen
The view from the tip of Rockaway Beach in Pacifica, California

My mom and I made sure that the places we checked into were following CDC guidelines, and socially distanced at the beach. Then we proceeded to love the heck out of our staycation, a whole hour and 20 minutes away from our home!

We stayed outdoors for the majority of our tourist-ing, hiking around Sutro Heights Park at the end of Geary and at Lands End, just across the street. We wore our masks and distanced even when my mom pet ALL the dogs. We thought outside the box and visited places that we wouldn’t have thought of if we hadn’t needed to be creative. Sutro Park and Land’s End were right across from our motel, so we didn’t need to worry about exposing ourselves to Coronavirus in a public restroom.

Image by Sam Allen
Land’s End at the end of Geary Boulevard in San Francisco

Later that night, we went to our favourite Italian restaurant—also on Geary—and bought piroshkis while waiting for our food to be cooked. Although we could have dined al fresco, we decided to play it safe and eat in the motel room, knowing that it had been sanitised and aired out for two days before we arrived. 

Sadly, we avoided the pool and spa, so while I love soaking in warm water on a balmy 31-degree evening, thanks to 2020 weirdness I opted out to avoid catching anything contagious. 

The Skinny On Staying (Close To) Home

If you’re growing bored with staying safe at home, subscribing to a farm box, watching live concerts, and taking well-thought-out expeditions near you can add a little spice to your routine. It’s not out of the question to travel if you really want to. But you can dine like a tourist in the comfort of your own home if those pyjamas are calling to you for just one more day. Happy hibernating!