Travelling hopefully – how to stay upbeat despite coronavirus

So much of travel is in the mind’s eye, the anticipation. At Sunflower we often see people buying our guides up to a year in advance – planning ahead is one of the greatest joys of travelling. Imagining ourselves hiking Etna’s flanks or driving Gran Canaria’s spaghetti-loop roads brightens the short days of winter and the long but grey days of summer in northern Europe …

So whether you are self-isolating or you’re just waiting for the crisis to be over – and it will end, you might like to do what we’re doing at Sunflower.

Whether it’s somewhere we’ve been or somewhere we’d like to go, we take a book down from the shelf and browse through it. This is much more enjoyable with our new editions in their wider format – there’s more space for inspiring photos.

When a walk takes our fancy, we say to ourselves ‘I’d like to be there right now!’ We download its GPS track from our website (most of our books have free GPS track downloads). Then, book in hand, we read the description and “walk the walk” – we open the GPS track in Google Earth and see where it goes – in 3D. Sometimes we go into street view on Google Earth, or we tilt it to see the ups and downs.

Of course there’s a lot on Google Maps street view (especially if you want to do some car touring from your armchair), but rather than face the boredom of isolation for an indeterminate time, this is a great opportunity to get to grips with Google Earth which has – to our way of thinking – much more scope than Google Maps. We can ‘fly away’ to our destination, even if the airlines are grounded.

And if you really want to get away, then why not check out one of our ‘Walk and Eat’ guides: Madeira, Avignon, Lisbon, Nice, Mallorca and Kefalonia all have free GPS track downloads on our website. Once you’ve walked the walks in those books, you can get further into the mood by cooking up some of the many recipes for local dishes in each of those guides.