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Traveling Vicariously During the Time of Covid

Updated: Mar 27, 2021

Our travel plans were put on hold for the last 13 months, but a recent search through our photo archives reminded us that even travel to an imaginary place can be fun these days.



Neighborhood market, employee's bicycle resting against a wall, familiar soft drink logo, indecipherable language—the mélange of strange and familiar we feel with travel. Photo: Donald J. Rommes


Several years ago, we visited my daughter—who lives in Florida within easy reach of Walt Disney World. After sending time with her, we visited the theme park. We especially enjoyed Epcot and the Wild Animal Kingdom.


For those who haven't been, Epcot is arrayed around a large central lagoon and functions, in part, as a World Showcase. It is said to offer "a celebration of culture, cuisine, architecture, and traditions – infused with new magic." Many different countries are represented by clusters of iconic buildings that are dotted around the periphery of the lagoon. Each cluster is managed by native workers and possesses the characteristic architecture, costumes, scenery, merchandise, and food that typify a particular country,



Tie-up posts for gondolas in a Venetian lagoon or a scene from "Italy" at Epcot? Don't tell your Facebook friends. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes



It is easy to imagine yourself in a country as you meander through the replicated buildings and sample the country-specific food. People who see your Facebook posts will have a hard time figuring out that you weren't actually in France, for example.


The Wild Animal Kingdom is in a separate part of the theme park. It is a place to safely observe animals in manufactured environments that resemble the animal's home. The Maharajah Jungle Trek in "Asia" for example, is a place to observe tigers as you stroll through walkways and past fading frescoes on stone walls that are made to look old.



Tiger fresco along the Maharajah Jungle Walk in The Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes



Later on, you will enter "Nepal" with its wooden houses, Himalayan mountains, and prayer flags.


The experience does indeed transport you (figuratively) out of your surroundings in a way that resembles actual travel abroad. Interestingly, so does the simple pleasure of reviewing these digital images. They helped me forget the sacrifices of present-day "Covid Time" while increasing my yearning for travel—even to Florida.


To see more of these images, click here.


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