Travel without Traveling:
Bringing Tulum, Paris, and Scotland Home
While many of us won’t be straying far from the sofa for a while longer, hankerings for, say, balmy afternoons under the Yucatán sky, or rambles across misty Scottish moors, or a proper glass of French fizz are to be expected. In other words: Tulum, the moody Scottish Highlands, and Paris are three of the spots we miss visiting most right about now. This is how we bring these dreamy destinations home.
Outrageously buttery croissants, a pop of just-because champagne outside Café de Flore…oui, we miss Paris. A lot. Next time we land at CDG, the schedule is sorted: a night at the sumptuously renovated Le Bristol, lunch at Septime, a lazy afternoon of gallery hopping in the 8th. For now, we’re choosing to bring the essence of one of Europe’s most ethereal cities to us. Bon—or rather non—voyage.
A crunchy baguette smeared thick with French butter is one of life’s most sensual pleasures. Thankfully, Apollonia Poilâne ships her rustic loaves overnight.
Juliette Binoche, small yappy pooches, and one misadventure after another: Call My Agent is an utterly charming depiction of Parisians being Parisian. The show depicts a group of talent agents trying to wiggle out of frequent mishaps with their megawatt clients. But really it’s an endearing fiftyish minutes of the French cast’s antics around the city. We’re jonesing hard for season five.
Lost at the Louvre
The Louvre has beefed up its virtual presence, and the offerings do not disappoint. Since you can’t wander through the many galleries and pay your respects to the Mona Lisa, we suggest clicking into the Advent of the Artist tour. Spend an hour zooming in on works by Delacroix and Rembrandt with no tourists blocking your view.
Prepandemic, a runny omelet with a glass of crisp Chablis at Petit Trois was a treat to look forward to all week. Now, chef Ludo Lefebvre and his team have pivoted to takeout, and every dish—we stan the French onion soup—tastes just as good at home as it does in the restaurant. In the absence of Ludo in your town, bust out Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (or be 2021 about it and turn to YouTube) and make your own.
What’s more quintessentially French than a crisp bottle of fizz? Sommelier and wine guru Melissa Gisler Modanlou of Rock Juice imports only the best natural bottles—we heartily recommend this unfiltered, traditionally made champagne from female winemaker Aurélie Barrat.
An investment piece from a heritage French brand is one chic and practical way to keep a piece of Paris with you always.
The moody, misty, soaked-in-history landscape of the Scottish Highlands is the topography we crave for an earthy, into-the-wild trip. The craggy, stony hills; shimmering lakes; and mossy-green vistas make it a place of untamed beauty. The tartans, cozy hotels (we’re looking at you, Gleneagles), and whisky aren’t half bad either.
Pour a Dram
Windswept island location? Check. Local third-generation distiller? Check. Peaty, smooth-on-the-tongue whisky? Check. Laphroaig is one of Scotland’s oldest and most scenic distillers, and its virtual tour is in-depth yet easy to digest.
Scotland Meets Shakespeare
A murky Shakespearean drama set in the heart of the Highlands. Many have worked their way through Macbeth at school, and Justin Kurzel’s film adaption is a triumph of eerieness that’s beautifully shot, to boot.
A swipe of bright, rich pigment on cheekbones mimics the warm, rosy glow that only a brisk walk delivers.
Tartan and Tweed
Araminta Campbell is the Scottish queen of textiles responsible for the sumptuous array of tweeds throughout the delightfully quirky Fife Arms in Braemar. But custom tartans aren’t reserved for long-established clans. Book a virtual appointment with Campbell to design your own family tweed or tartan and browse her stunning showroom through the screen.
Honestly, if you haven’t watched the sexy eighteenth-century epic that is Outlander, you really should. But as with so many other adaptions of period dramas, the book is better. Did Diana Gabaldon’s historical fantasy win a Booker Prize? No. But the series is an immensely transporting, fascinating window into a tumultuous time. Better still, there are eight books in the series (with two more to come).
Short and Sweet
Buttery shortbread is as quintessentially Scottish as sweet treats come. Sure, there are cleaned-up versions, but in the spirit of authenticity, keep it old-school with a native recipe or order a tin of Walkers.
There’s a sultry serenity to this slice of the Yucatán. Tulum is a dreamy tropical ecosystem of jungle, sea, and Mayan history. In the spirit of travel without traveling, bookmark a weekend to revisit some quintessentially Mexican tastes and textures.
Mainline to Maya
In lieu of paying a visit to the Mayan ruins dotting the cliffs just north of Tulum, bask in the majesty of these structures via a virtual collaboration between Google and the British Museum. Learn from Mayan anthropologists and take a meticulously executed virtual tour. Nothing replaces the IRL experience, but this is the next best thing.
Twenty-twenty turned many into amateur mixologists. In 2021 we’re going pro. The best margaritas are made in Mexico, but our gooped-up carrot-and-orange version hits the spot.
The texture and patina of ceramics carefully carried home from long-ago adventures spikes daily dining with something so special. 1050 Grados curates the best of artisanal Mexican pottery, like this traditional bowl cast from local clay and burnished with quartz stone.
A spritz of Florgasm hits all the right salty, tropical notes, with a hint of pink pepper and heady ambrette.
Ordering a custom Yucatecán hammock from Coqui Coqui’s exquisite store may seem excessive. But considering 90 percent of our time is spent ambling from one cozy spot to another, the idea of swinging, sipping, and snoozing in a hammock handcrafted in Tulum seems entirely sensible.
Samin on Acid
Nothing lifts the pandemic blues quite like Samin Nosrat’s boundless, sunny enthusiasm and deep knowledge of everything culinary. The “Acid” episode of Netflix’s Salt Fat Acid Heat delves deep into zesty Yucatecán cuisine. And the riotously colorful backdrop of jungle-meets-market-meets-kitchen of Doña Asaria doesn’t hurt.
Slink around your patio in this sexy, slouchy set and make a mental note to add it to your next-time-in-Tulum packing list.
We hope you enjoy the products recommended here. Our goal is to suggest only things we love and think you might, as well. We also like transparency, so, full disclosure: We may collect a share of sales or other compensation if you purchase through the external links on this page.