Stuck at home over the past few months, the team at adventure and small-ship tour operator Zegrahm Expeditions turned their wanderlust into a full-fledged Armchair Explorations series. The company, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, corralled its expert community of marine biologists, ornithologists, geologists, botanists, historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, and divemasters to contribute footage and lend their expertise – the end result is an educational and heartfelt collection of inspiration for future travels.
“Zegrahm’s Armchair Explorations are unique in that the virtual feels very personal – these aren’t typical webinars about sales and dry information,” Virtuoso travel advisor Susan Halperin says. “I thoroughly enjoyed the video celebrating the 30th anniversary with founders Mike Messick and Jack Grove. The two explorers reminisced about leading adventures on all seven continents. Stories of how they overcame various mishaps when they were just starting out make for great memories and laughs.”
With more than 40 videos (and fun articles), Zegrahm’s Armchair Explorations library highlights interactive events, educational workshops, and digital storytelling. Below, three of our favorites:
Whip Up Your New Favorite Portuguese Salted Cod Recipe
Zegrahm’s series includes educational workshop videos, but these aren’t your average cooking classes. Marine biologist Madalena Patacho dives into Portuguese seafood culture while incorporating fascinating historical tidbits, such as the story of the country’s White Fleet of ships, whose crew, during World War II, sated the country’s growing appetite for salted cod. Viewers will also learn how to make the classic dish as Patacho, situated in a peaceful garden filled with birdsong, prepares the recipe. The ingredients are simple and easy to source: cod, garlic, onions, a generous amount of olive oil, and a cathartically named style of “punched potatoes.”
Find 6,000-Year-Old Rock Carvings on a Virtual Safari
Local guide and wildlife expert Chris Stamper leads a stay-at-home safari video in Namibia’s rugged Damaraland region. As he pulls from photographs and videos he’s taken over several years of Zegrahm expeditions, he introduces viewers to barking geckos and a days-old baby elephant sheltering next to its mother. History buffs will enjoy the photographs of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed archeology sites with ancient rock carvings that clearly depict giraffes, lions, wildebeest, ostriches, and other animals. The best perk: A peek at a baby-and-mom pair of the desert-adapted sub-species of rare black rhinoceros. Save this pro tip for your next safari: “Black rhino calves typically run behind the mother,” Stamper says, “unlike white rhinoceros species, where the calf runs in front.”
Learn to Knit Like a Scot
Online storytelling can take many forms. For example, geologist Tom Sharpe provides a quick multi-sensory approach to visiting his native Scotland in an article filled with tried-and-true recommendations. Yes, there is whisky tasting know-how – never add ice; “Slàinte” means cheers; and the Malt Whisky Yearbook is your spirits bible – but this overview provides a lot more. For travelers pining for the land of lochs, Sharpe suggests learning to knit your own scarf with the help of Colours of Shetland; reading novels by Sir Walter Scott (such as Rob Roy and Lady of the Lake); and watching filmed-in-Scotland movies such as 2019’s Wild Rose and the classic feel-good favorite, Local Hero. For the proper ambience, listen to the beloved Tannahill Weavers.
Top Photo: Getty Images. This article is sponsored by Zegrahm Expeditions.