It seems that everyone will get their turn at a quarantine birthday. Some may even get two as we approach the anniversary of COVID.
Last February, my husband and I sat at one of his favourite restaurants to celebrate his birthday, unbeknownst to us that a looming pandemic would lock down the world a month later.
And here we are, eleven months later, still in a province-wide lockdown.
Finding something fun to do indoors, after a year of being stuck inside, can feel discouraging and uninspiring.
But not for me, folks. Not for me.
After not seeing anyone for their birthdays this past year, this was my time to plan a themed celebration for not only the person I adore the most, but the person I’ve been quarantining with.
Since he wasn’t in need of materialistic gifts, and since there’s not many outdoor activities to do in the city during a wintery lockdown, I created an experience right here in our home: a four-day “escape” to our favourite travel destinations.
A Quarantine Passport, if you will.
Our four-day weekend was booked for Montréal (our first trip together, and where he proposed), Las Vegas (where we celebrated his 30th birthday), Puerto Vallarta (a trip I won at a previous job) and Balsam Lake (our end-of-summer camping ritual).
When we travel, our itinerary is often based on what food we want to try or restaurants we want to visit. Bottom line, we love food and we love eating anywhere we go.
So naturally, the highlight of this Quarantine Passport was the food. I planned carefully-selected meals for each of the chosen destinations, representing a cherished memory from “that time we…”
From driving back home from snowy Montreal with a bag of warm St-Viateur bagels in the backseat, to morning pancakes and campfire hot dogs with chipmunks visiting our campsite, to enjoying a Mexican feast by the turquoise waters, to treating my husband to In-N-Out Burger for his birthday when our Grand Canyon tour got cancelled, these foods are tied to memories that make travel adventures nostalgically special.
Most of the meals were prepped by yours truly, and a few were ordered from our favourite local restaurants that remind us of our chosen destinations.
I designed the cards on Paperless Post and had them printed, so that my husband had something physical to open.
If you have a birthday coming up, or just want to add some much-needed excitement to this otherwise mundane period of our lives, sit back and come along for the journey.
Brunch: St-Viateur Bagel with Cream Cheese & Smoked Salmon
Dinner: Truffle Ravioli from Giulietta (similar dinner we had in Old Montréal)
Music Playlist: Montréal Chill
TV Background: 4K Snowfall – Peaceful Snowing
Brunch: Homemade “Eggslut” breakfast sandwich (I followed this video)
Dinner: “In-N-Out Burgers” (I ordered from Burger Drops, a local burger joint)
Music Playlist: Las Vegas Classics
TV Background: Bellagio Fountains
Brunch: Pancakes and bacon
Dinner: Hot dogs and slaw
Late Night Snack: Hot chocolate and marshmallows
Music Playlist: Acoustic Covers of Old Songs
TV Background: 4K Campfire by the Sea
Brunch: Huevos rancheros (I was inspired by this recipe)
Dinner: Baja fish tacos
Music Playlist: Puerto Vallarta
TV Background: 4K HDR Calm Waves
Cherished travel memories are something we can all hold on to a little longer these days. Who knows when will be the next time we’ll book plane tickets, pack a suitcase and get our passports stamped. This little weekend escape made us feel the closest to that excitement of adventure, wonder and gratitude.
And that’s the beauty of this experience. As much as we miss these times, in the end, we’re grateful we got to experience them in the first place. How wonderful is it to look back at multiple moments in your life that fill your heart, and in this case, fill your belly too.
💙 ✨ 🌎
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