10 Activities To Do During Your Staycation

As the pandemic continues to spread far and wide, it hinders many of us from doing one of our favorite activities as college students during the spring: traveling. Instead, we remain inside our houses or dorms and go only to places in close proximity to us. When we scroll through old pictures, looking at our past selves enjoying the serene white beaches or the cherry blossom trees in the Public Gardens, we miss the days where we could roam around. 

However, that doesn’t mean that we should stop exploring new places and try out new activities. Wherever we are, no matter the circumstance, there will always be something new to try or do. As we continue to stay indoors, for the most part, we should look around our familiar surroundings, try something new, and find joy in the little things. Let’s embark on this new adventure and start now. Here are 10 activities to do during your staycation that can hopefully make it a “trip” to remember. 

1. Watch travel documentaries 

I’ve never been one to watch travel documentaries, and before the pandemic I wasn’t too keen on them, thus, I had never watched one. I didn’t really have any idea of what these documentaries would entail and the only thing that I knew about them is that they would include a history of the places the person visited. One day, while I was with my family, we watched Joanna Lumley’s Japan on Netflix. In the first episode, I was already hooked. While she was in Hokkaido, I saw her witness Japan’s beautiful cranes in the early morning, as well as the gorgeous and intricate ice castles. We saw her interact with people who raised awareness of Hokkaido’s indigenous people, the Ainus. I learned new things as I continued to watch the documentary series, living vicariously through Lumley’s experiences for forty minutes or so. When I watched her exploring the city, it brought me back to the days when I traveled outside the borders of the Philippines and made me miss that excitement when you explore a country that is unfamiliar to you and finding some comfort in that. After watching this, I told my parents that we should go to Japan when the pandemic is over, whenever that is. I was glad to experience a different culture even if I wasn’t there physically. It’s a great experience and for those who haven’t tried it, you should—you might surprise yourself like I did. 

2. Get baking

I’ve loved baking ever since I was a child. For me, even the thought of going into the kitchen, mixing the brownie batter together with all the different ingredients, putting the raw brownie batter in the oven, and licking the spatula with the leftover batter (even if you’re not supposed to) brings me pure joy; whenever I have a baking day I always look forward to it. What I love about baking is that it allows you not only to create snacks that are familiar to you, but also you are able to go online and try new recipes, maybe ones that come from a different culture if you are feeling adventurous and experimental. With that said, if you are a globetrotter or miss finding different cuisines around the world, make these delicious treats in your home. You can close your eyes and imagine yourself in that country as you place that dessert in your palate, savoring the flavor and bite of it. Apart from this, if you just crave sweets but you’re on a budget and don’t want to buy treats from the grocery, there are easy three-ingredient recipes online that can help you satisfy that craving. Don’t let anything stop you from creating your favorite treats. 

3. Brunch 

Before I left for Boston, I gathered around the kitchen with my friends, some of us cooking foods like omelettes and spam for brunch. We sat at the table and talked together gorging on delicious food, our plates empty and stomachs full. You can never go wrong with great food and company. With the current situation, if you are in the college dorms, you might not be able to use the kitchens and cook brunch. However, if you do have a microwave and a big room, you may be able to do it by using easy three-step recipes and sit on the floor together. But before you plan in-person meetups, put yours and others’ health and safety first.  Another option is to go on Zoom and have brunch in bed, eating your favorite foods together as you talk to each other virtually. Having brunch is also a great idea when you are busy with schoolwork and want an excuse to spend time with your friends, instead of passing by them in the hallways or hanging out with them for short periods of time. When you gather around food and surround yourself with good people, without a doubt, you will have a good time—I know I do. I think food can bring people together, after all, who doesn’t love eating? 

couple watching sunset Photo by Khamkéo Vilaysing from Unsplash

4. Watch the sunrise and sunset 

When I go to nice beaches, where the waters are a clear cerulean blue, waking up early to watch the sunrise and waiting for the sunset is something that I try to see. There is something so calming about watching the sun go up, seeing the magnificent golden rays lighting up the sky with its fiery orange color, as well as watching the sun go to bed, seeing cotton candy clouds or even a tangerine orange light up the sky one last time before the day ends. Right now, as I am awake from the afternoon until morning for my online classes, sometimes I get a glimpse of the beautiful sunrise and just look at it in awe. When the sun goes down, if I’m not busy, I take it all in for a second: looking at the wonders of the world, and admiring the painter who is creating this painting as I watch it in motion. This is a very minute and simple activity, but if you are interested in feeling at ease and watching nature, this is the activity for you. Watching the sunrise and sunset can make feel at peace as you recognize the magic of Mother Nature and appreciate it. I think seeing the light can give this sense of hope and sends a message that every day is a good day.

5. A walk in the park

In this day and age, whether we are doing flex or online-only classes, we spend most of our days in our rooms, studying or taking a break if we are not in Zoom classes. We limit ourselves to too much exposure from friends, classmates, teachers, and passersby. As a student, I know that it can be difficult to stay in your room for long periods of time, sitting on your bed, desk, or floor, you can get Zoom fatigue and even restless. The days of seeing that clear line between school and life are gone for some of us. Despite this, we still need to create that boundary and get out of our rooms once in a while, even for a few minutes. We need that change in scenery. If where you are permits it and is safe, try to take a walk in the park while still following safety protocols. Look at everything around you, listen to the chirping of the birds, feel the cool breeze and sun in your face or the cold winter snow, and connect with nature once more. This can clear your mind and put you in the right headspace. Sometimes we may not know it, but taking that brief walk is something that we need. Doing this can make us feel some sense of normalcy in this surreal time. 

6. Start and create a new project

There is a lot that we can do while we are taking our staycation and that includes making something that we can call our own. If you are artistic, business-savvy, or both, you can create that business dream that you have or get a head start on the project you have wanted to do for a long time. There is a long list of things that you can do from starting your own boba tea business to creating the novel or film you dreamed of. When you create a project, whether you decide to display it to the public or keep it to yourself, it is a courageous thing to do and is not easy. However, regardless of the outcome, you have created something unique and showcases who you are that you can share with others, if you want to. This will definitely give you a sense of pride and allows you to spend more time working on your passions. Along the way, you might even discover some hidden passions that have been lurking in the shadows and decide to embrace it and include it in the project you are creating, or can even display challenges that can push you to produce your best work yet. At the end of the day, embarking on this new journey and making your dreams a reality will be rewarding and can even lead and open various paths and opportunities. 

7. Learn a new language

Hola. 你好. Kamusta. There are millions of ways to say “hi” when you go around the globe and meet new people. This simple word can speak volumes when you are meeting someone for the first time since it marks the beginning of a relationship. Apart from this, learning a new language in itself is fun because you are able to challenge yourself to try something new as well as appreciate the beauty of the language, like looking at how you construct a sentence or even meanings behind a single word. On top of that, you are able to discover more about the culture you are studying about. You can learn about various celebrations, traditions, why they celebrate that occasion, and even about the different foods that you eat during that special occasion. In my eyes, I think that learning a language can be quite intimate and personal because by showing interest, it displays to those from that country that you want to further your understanding of the culture. When learning a language, I do think that the best part is that you can make new friends along the way when you travel to different continents, continuing to practice the language until you have mastered it. So, whether you are a novice or a linguist, there is never any harm in studying a foreign language. 

Row of potted plants Photo by Vadim Kaipov from Unsplash

8. Explore your green thumb 

While we are staying indoors, if you are someone who is attuned with Mother Nature or who wants to get into nature, here’s a great way to start: gardening. For some, planting puts them at ease; it gives them something else to focus on, to take care of something other than themselves, and can even be a great way to turn off their phone and get their hands dirty. When you have your own plant baby, you can appreciate nature more as well as learn various techniques on how to take care of plants; how to keep them alive for a long period of time. At the same time, it can make your home look beautiful and even aesthetically pleasing to the eyes when you take care of them properly. Besides this, planting can teach you how to be more patient, since you will be taking care of your plant for a long period of time. I think even seeing this plan grow before our eyes and seeing it unfold can make us feel good about ourselves; knowing and thinking to ourselves that we did a good job in taking care of this other life. This can be a fun activity to do during our spare time and might not take as much time in our day if we are able to give it some tender loving care, making us smile and filled with pride whenever we look at it standing tall. 

9. Paint by the numbers 

During the winter break, I helped out my mom and sister when they were doing “paint by the numbers.” When I think about it, it was an activity that I would say they got invested in, spending their days trying to finish the artwork, filling in every big and tiny detail, making sure that it showed one brushstroke, not multiple (my bad) and that it was neat and clean, exact to the picture that is given to them. Despite not being artistically inclined, I did join my sister and mom in this activity for a short while. Pushing aside the frustrations I felt when the paint splattered to the next number or adding too much paint, I did feel that sense of peace and to be slow and steady as I painted. A wave of tranquility seemed to just come over you when you didn’t think about messing up the painting too much. I watched my sister and mom do it and with each stroke of the brush, I felt this sense of stress flow out of them, without them showing it through their facial expressions. They just stayed calm and relaxed, laughing off mistakes sometimes, and just trying their best to execute the painting to the best of their ability. I know nowadays there are also “paint by the numbers” apps on the phones, but if you are into this, then I suggest trying it out in-person too. It might feel even more satisfying compared to filling it out and accomplishing the work on your phone. If you don’t want to feel alone, call your friend and do it together, this can be your way to bond too. 

10. Spa day 

Ever since my freshman year where I endured the bitter winter, experiencing for the first time what it’s like for your skin to dry up and crack if you leave your room without putting moisturizer or enough lotion, I have taken an interest in skincare and something I have found relaxing. Let me say, when I treat my skin right, I feel refreshed, relaxed, and well-rested, and is a great way to start and end the day. For some people, back when we can roam around without masks, going to the spa was something that they enjoyed and would do when they wanted to treat themselves. However, even as we have this staycation, we can definitely still treat ourselves by creating a spa day. We empty our schedules blocking out a free day, call our friends or relatives (unless we want some alone time), play some music, put on some face masks, apply blackhead removers, moisturize our bodies, and give ourselves a manicure and pedicure. With this day, we take things slow so that we can recharge our energy, making sure that we are able to connect with ourselves and each other, and feel good about ourselves. After a long busy week, this can even be a great way to unwind and separate yourself from the real world and crawl into your own little space for a couple of hours. 

 

When it comes to vacations, there is no doubt in my mind that we will find a way to turn it into an everlasting memory that we will come back to. 

As always, bon voyage and enjoy your staycation!