How to #OptInside

Getting a little stir crazy? COVID-19 has unfortunately shut down a lot of open space. What to do? We have a few ways to bring the great outdoors indoors. Do you have some ideas on how to #OptInside? We’d like to see it! Tag your Instagram and Facebook photos #weekendsherpa and #optinside

My Weekend Sherpa:

Want to do it Did it
Week of:

1) Camping in the Living Room


So your camping trip got put on hold? You can still set up camp in your home! This activity is surprisingly cathartic, as just breaking out the camping gear feels pretty good. Move the coffee table and pitch your tent. You can also lay out your sleeping pad and sleeping bags, even your camping chairs. If you don’t have all the gear, be creative: Move furniture around to make a fort-style improvisation, bring out pillows (much more comfy, anyway!) and create your own camp-haven out of the resources you’ve got. Then set your TV to YouTube’s “Campfire by the River” by TheSilentWatcher. Perfect. You’ve now got yourself a sweet little camping spot right by the river. Sit back, read a book, listen to the sound of the crackling fire and birdsong in the background. Play some board games or cards and, when evening comes, see if you can find a good stargazing channel to stream and gaze upon. Good night. Share your pics with us on social using both #weekendsherpa and #optinside


2) S’mores Over Candlelight

Candlelight Smores #optinside

Okay, let’s hope you have a bag of marshmallows on hand, or maybe you have some Peeps you bought for Easter and can break them out early. Light a candle, preferably unscented. Place your marshmallow on the end of a fork and hold it about three or four inches above the flame. Rotate like it’s a rotisserie. Careful here, marshmallows can catch fire if it’s too close to the flame—slightly charred marshmallow is still kinda tasty, though. If you’ve got the graham crackers and chocolate (Hershey’s is the old standby, but anything works), make s’mores. For the adults, we recommend pairing the s’mores with some whiskey because that’s a great combo around a real campfire, so it should be equally great around the candlelight. Share your pics with us on social using both #weekendsherpa and #optinside


3) Couchella

Couchella OptInside
Couchella livestream music optinside

No music festivals? No problem! Tons of artists are livestreaming music (here’s a list of upcoming livestreaming shows; NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts has a great archive of intimate acoustic performances). If you’ve got personal outdoor space at your residence this is easy (see gallery pic), but it’s easy indoors, too. Grab the lawn-chairs, your favorite picnic blanket, a cooler, and the food + drink provisions (that beer you have at home tastes just like the $14 ones at the festivals!). Set up as you like, then make Outside Lands Inside Lands and Coachella Couchella and find some upcoming live streams of popular artists. Beach balls optional. (Reminder: Hang-outs should currently be only with people living in your household.)


4) That Next Big Trip

While travel is on pause, an imagination for the future is a way to keep optimism and gather some ideas. We’re sharing a video we created on one of our favorite trekking trips, Tour du Mont Blanc. This 10-day backpacking trip around the highest mountain in Europe criss-crosses three countries (France, Italy, Switzerland). While you can camp, most people stay in mountain huts and small lodges in charming towns. Pro tip: You can arrange for luggage transfers to most places you’ll be staying, so all you need is a daypack. (PS: the last shot is actually a dip in the Adriatic Sea near Dubrovnik post-trek.)


5) Wanderlust in the Time of Coronavirus

Shikoku Japan hike

Our friend the travel writer Don George (who was an early editorial advisor for Weekend Sherpa amid busy schedules at Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveler, and travel company GeoEx) recently shared his reflections on how to keep wanderlust alive during this very challenging reality of a global health crisis. It’s a thoughtful, beautiful read. Take a moment for it. What travel books and wanderlust stories are you reading these days? (Photo by Weekend Sherpa, taken 2016 on the island of Shikoku, Japan.)


6) Selfies at Amazing National Parks & Exotic Destinations

Okay, it sounds kinda cheesy but it’s actually highly recommended! Tune your streaming TV to YouTube. Search something like “beautiful landscapes” and you’ll find a variety of gorgeous and relaxing videos. We like Top 13 U.S. National Parks and Norway’s Nature. Get a shot in front of the fjords of Norway! Crater Lake! Yosemite Falls! Get creative with it in your poses and your wardrobe. Snowy backgrounds mean hats, gloves, and jackets. Desert destinations call for T-shirts and sunglasses …. your screen background is Hawaii? Aloha! Break out a bathing suit (maybe hold off on the birthday suit though … this is PG selfie). Share your pics with us on social using both #weekendsherpa and #optinside


7) Create Prints from Leaves & Weeds

Fill your indoor space with reminders of the natural world by creating leaf art prints. Our friend Ellen Rawley (follow her @wild_still) gave us this idea. You’ll need leaves and flowers, paper (card stock is best, but computer paper will work!), a hammer (a mallet is best, but a metal hammer works too), and a stable work surface you don’t mind getting banged up, like a cutting board. First, gather your materials from directly around your home whether that’s picking leaves in your front yard or harvesting from between the cracks in the sidewalk. While some flowers make good prints, greens and leaves are more consistently impressive.

Some common weeds to try are crabgrass, oxalis, dandelion, and wild radish. Back inside, arrange your material on top of the paper you want to print onto. When you are happy with your composition, place a piece of computer paper on top and hold firmly while you hammer over the entire arrangement (if you’re doing this with a little one, try taping the paper instead so that fingers are spared). Once complete, remove the top sheet of paper and peel off any remnants of plant material. Voila—you brought the outdoors inside. Share your pics with us on social using both #weekendsherpa and #optinside


8) Follow @WeekendSherpa and Sign Up for Our Weekly Email

Social Distancing

Getting a little stir crazy? Check us out on Instagram @weekendsherpa where we feature the best of California’s outdoors and some destinations beyond to put on your bucket list for the future. You can also sign up to receive our weekly email roundups, every Thursday. And listen to our new podcast “Take it Outside” with Weekend Sherpa co-founders Brad Day and Holly Kulak. They discuss the latest in local outdoors and travel across California and a few places beyond!

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