Nine-year-old Abbie traveled everywhere from Disney to Belize, without leaving her driveway.

By Alison Fox
April 21, 2020
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Credit: Jenni Murphy

Last week, Abbie Murphy traveled to Roatán, Honduras, swam with sharks in Belize, surfed in Hawaii, and camped in the Great Smoky Mountains — all without leaving her driveway in Charlotte, N.C.

After her spring break trip to to Destin, Fla., was canceled due to coronavirus, her mom, Jenni Murphy, got creative and decided to turn a disappointing situation into something memorable: a virtual spring break.

“We decided, 'How about we go lots of places, we're only stopped by our imagination and the supplies in the house,'” Murphy recalled to Travel + Leisure. “We got a little MacGyver with the things we had in the house. We tried to replace our sadness by doing things that would make us feel like we were going somewhere — even though we never left the driveway.”

Abbie at Kice Island, Fla.
| Credit: Jenni Murphy

The pair drew inspiration from trips they were supposed to take that were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as places Abbie had been dreaming of visiting. Each day, they traveled somewhere new, starting with a trip to Hawaii, where Abbie hula-danced — with the help of a hula-hoop — and drew a surfboard out of chalk.

Abbie surfing in Hawaii.
| Credit: Jenni Murphy

Abbie visited all her favorite characters at Disney World (her favorite day of the “trip”) and got wet on Splash Mountain, — with the water and everything — before camping out in a tent in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Abbie at a Disney character greeting.
| Credit: Jenni Murphy
Abbie at the "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique."
| Credit: Jenni Murphy

They also recreated a canceled cruise to the western Caribbean by going snorkeling with  "sharks" in Belize (above) — luckily, Abbie was a dolphin trainer for Halloween so she already had the wetsuit. She also hung out with sloths at a sanctuary she had been looking forward to going to in Roatán.

Abbie paddle boarding with manatees in Florida.
| Credit: Jenni Murphy

“I would say it turned around our sadness about not getting to go to Florida. It opened up our imaginations, we got kind of crafty,” Murphy said, adding her friends were all following along. “I posted all of my adventures on social media and they couldn't wait to see where we were going next.”

Abbie told T+L one of the best parts (besides getting to draw with chalk) was getting to hang out with her mom.

“I think the bright spot in this is the time we got to spend together,” her mom said.