I was searching for ideas on how to celebrate an upcoming birthday. With restaurants and venues still closed, it means we just need to be a little more creative. After all, we all need something to look forward to! I came across Airbnb Online Experiences and discovered some pretty interesting ideas to explore. The more I searched, the more I kept visioning about gathering family and friends virtually. There are many offerings hosted by experts from around the world. Want to learn how to shake your booty with a Columbian choreographer? Learn how to make pasta from Nonna in Italy? How about a private jazz concert or co-write a song with a Nashville musician? OOOOOh… how about a sound bath to clear your mind?  Prices are reasonable and the events (via zoom) sound like fun! If you wish to have a private group party to share in the experiences, contact the hosts directly for pricing. You can check out all the Airbnb online experiences here.  Here are some ideas that caught my eye (there are soooo many) that will make an unforgettable experience during pandemic times…

Meet a real-life Shark Scientist: from $25 per person for 1.5 hours. Through a selection of images and videos, marine biologist, Justin will take you on a virtual dive into the clear warm waters of a Mozambican marine reserve—home to some very large fish, and even larger sharks. Meet the sharky subjects of 12 years of research and uncover new information on the movement, personalities, and behaviours of the bull shark, their shark cousins, and their favourite food—the mighty giant trevally. Through this live online experience, you’ll venture out on and under the water to tag and track large sharks. Once we find them, we’ll take skin and blood samples and implant satellite, acoustic, and archival tags.
After everyone gets to know the subjects, you’ll learn the logistics of filming them in the water and have all of your burning questions answered (Are sharks aggressive? Do we really want MORE sharks in the ocean!?). Most importantly, you’ll become part of the organization (The Rockhopper Fund) efforts to protect and restore marine ecosystems and understand how you can have a positive influence on the world around you.

Mind and Body MasterClass with an Olympian: from $29 per person. 1.5 hours. Join Mechelle (track and field professional,a 2007 Pan American Double Silver Medalist, 2007 World Champion, and 2008 Olympian) for a virtual workout and motivational storytelling for a good cause! All proceeds from this experience go to TrackGirlz, a nonprofit organization that empowers girls through sisterhood and track and field. This high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout will feature track and field inspired strength and conditioning movements and proper running mechanics and techniques. All movements will have low and high-impact options.

Meditation with a Japanese Buddhist Monk: $14 per person for 1 hour. Learn about Buddhist Monk, Kuniatsu, and his practice. Then partake in two sessions that include chanting and breathing. Afterwards, he will answer any questions about meditation. He’s been a practicing monk for over 20 years and guiding this AirBnB experience for over 5 years.

Secrets of Magic: From $27 per person. 1.5 hours. Prepare to be inspired and spellbound as you go on an epic 90 minute journey through the magical world with host, Martin and Guinness Book of World Record holder . Join him in the Secrets of Magic Zoom Classroom where you will take part in a mind-blowing magic show with everyday objects such as cards, coins & the gold-dust of our times – a roll of toilet paper! Martin share with you some of the tricks. But this experience won’t just be about learning tricks, you’ll also explore the psychology that turns a trick into a piece of magic.

Pastel de Nata Baking Class: From $27 per person (+ ingredients). 1.5 hours. This online class is zoomed directly from Jose and Ines’ kitchen in Portugal, a fun opportunity to emerge in Portuguese culture and discover some secrets.
They will share their wonderful adventure of the culture and gastronomy of their country. Then they will guide the cooking class to create the best pastel de nata in the world! A unique, traditional and family recipe. The recipe that you will learn with is Ines’ grandmother’s recipe.

Songwriting with a Nashville Musician: Fron $42 per person. 1.5 hours. This interactive experience will make you feel like you’re in a writers’ room on Nashville’s Music Row. In a 90-minute virtual session, you will start from scratch and co-write an original song with Anne Buckle, a professional songwriter in Nashville. Never written a song before? All you need is a willingness to be vulnerable and an idea or two. Anne will coach you every step of the way, from picking a theme to writing the lyrics to putting the words to a melody and adding chords on guitar, ukulele, or piano. At the end of the session you will have co-writtten an original song together.

Puerto Rican Salsa Dance Party: From $22 per person. 1.5 hours. Transport yourself to the Caribbean with this virtual salsa dance party. Learn local moves from local dance expert, Angelina,  without ever leaving your house. I’ll show you how to party like you’re in Puerto Rico step-by-step. BYOB and learn how to make tropical cocktails with ingredients you have right in your own home. Then  learn the basics of “Salsa de Calle” (casual “feel the music” kind of street dancing) and other Caribbean dance styles for both singles and couples.

The Art of Making Japanese Mochi: From $40 per person. 1.5 hours. Host Miyuki will guide on how to make two mochi recipes: Strawberry mochi (or other fruits) or Mochi ice cream and three-color dumplings (mochi balls on skewers). She will send a list of ingredients and tools required prior to the class.

Design Your Own Espadrilles (and they will make them): from $132 per person. 1 hour. (This is a great gift idea instead of an event gathering) Meet your host virtually at the espadrille workshop in Barcelona, in a very unique and special place, where you will feel surrounded by finished espadrilles and their parts. Learn the story and traditions behind the famous and beautiful shoe. Then, every guest will choose the color and size of the base, the laces, the threads, and the type of stitching. Once ready, the host will stitch LIVE your own traditional espadrilles, following your instructions. Once finished, the artisans will teach you the different ways to lace them up and use them. And of course, the shoes will be shipped to you. Luis and his wife Kathe are the founders and artisans of HANDMADE BARCELONA®, an ethical brand of handmade traditional shoes from Cataluña, Spain. They have been making shoes for many years in their family-owned factories in Spain.

Virtual Visit to an Animal Sanctuary: From $15 per person. 1 hour. This looks great especially for a kid’s birthday idea. Take a virtual visit to the Charlie’s Acres Sanctuary and meet a variety of rescued farm animals. Get up close and personal with their animal residents, as they share their stories of resilience and healing. Meet their animal ambassadors and you may be surprised at what you learn since we rarely see the animals in our food system. Join them as they feed cows, rub pig bellies, chill with turkeys, and take a walk with Johnny, a spunky little goat who uses a wheelchair. Charlie’s Acres is a registered non-profit. All Experience proceeds go towards the care of their rescued animal residents.