During Coronavirus Pandemic, This Local Family Found a Way to See the World

A child looks out the window of a plane.
The Harder family discovered a unique way to entertain and educate the entire family through global travel—without leaving their home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By: Kathleen Geherin

As we all continue to search for creative ways to stay positive and remain connected with our loved ones, the Harder family discovered a unique way to entertain and educate the entire family through global travel—without leaving their home.

The Eden Prairie family (Cullen and Stacy and their daughters, Ireland, 14; Gisella, 12; and Victoria, 11) have been busy “traveling the globe” over the last few weeks. The sojourns have taught them about world cuisine and provided the backdrop for the local family to cook amazing home meals. In addition to cuisine, they are also discovering traditions and learning about faraway destinations—with a little effort, a whole lot of ingenuity and—YouTube.

Related: Southwest Metro Coronavirus Resource Guide

MSP-FCO: The Harders “landed” in Rome, Italy, and officially kicked off their world tour, hopping on Vespas (OK, hoverboards at home), viewing the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Trevi Fountain—while enjoying gelato, of course! Lastly, their five-course dinner included Caprese salad, carbonara, margherita pizza, mushroom risotto, rosemary and olive oil focaccia and chicken Parmigiana. Dessert hit a high note trio with tiramisu, panna cotta and cannoli, accompanied with espresso.

FCO-WHU: A long overnight “flight” was best endured by the assistance of their lovely flight attendant, Gisella, who offered drinks, snacks and cozy blankets. Upon arrival, they visited some of the top attractions—The Han Show Theatre, East Lake, Yellow Crane Tower and Chu River Han Street. After a long day of touring, they enjoyed a traditional Chinese dinner of dim sum, hot and sour soup, Szechwan chili chicken, spring rolls, shitake fried rice with water chestnuts and cashew chicken. Dessert featured a traditional selection of sweets and hot tea. Next stop: a spa, where they indulged in gently-heated slippers, cozy neck pillows and relaxing face masks with eye gel.

Related: COVID-19: How to Keep Your Children Entertained at Home

WHU-BRN: The Harders were soon “back in the air” and headed to Bern, Switzerland, “traveling” the cobblestone streets and taking in beautiful views of the Aare river. After, they enjoyed a fondue dinner while listening to a Swiss radio station on iHeartRadio. Next stop: Maui.

BRN-OGG: Upon “arrival,” they were greeted with fragrant leis and fresh pineapple juice. The Harders learned to hula dance (YouTube) and watched a traditional Polynesian luau. As they slipped into their hot tub, they toasted with Mai Tai cocktails and virgin piña coladas and began planning their next inspired “excursion.”

Grab your passport, and let’s join the Harder family and elevate our spirits to 30,000 feet and soar through the friendly skies.

Kathleen Geherin is a regular entertainment contributor to Southwest Metro Magazine.