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Neil Patrick Harris Reveals How He Is Staying Sane During Quarantine and the New Hobbies He's Picked Up During a Year at Home

The award-winning actor opened up to Departures about life during the pandemic and where he wants to travel.


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One look at Neil Patrick Harris' Instagram, and you'll be swept up in a world of wanderlust. The actor has shared photos from Costa Rica, Croatia, Italy, France, Israel, and more. But when COVID-19 spread, the A Series of Unfortunate Events star stayed home like the rest of us and tried to find ways to stay sane and entertained. It was about creating 'light breaks,' which is why he partnered with Baileys to launch Baileys Deliciously Light (their new version made with less sugar and calories than Baileys Original Irish Cream). It was through that partnership Departures was able to chat with veritable jack-of-all-trades to find out how he's been keeping busy and where he hopes to travel once it's safe again.

How did you find those lighter moments during quarantine?

We had a great family friend, Michael Serrato, who was moving from California to New York to stay with us at the beginning of last year when everything was starting to shut down. His life was put on hold, and he was with us during this whole last year. He has just been such a bright light and provided so much help and smiles and good times for us. I thought it would be a good thing to pay it back to him. So, we surprised him at his home with Baileys Deliciously Light at the ready, hundreds of festive balloons, a dedicated marching band, and a personalized billboard in the sky.

How did you stay sane?

That was the challenge: trying to stop and find perspective. And I would do it through exercise, meditation, taking some time for silence, a bath, a beverage, etc. It gives your brain a little chance to reset. Even if you're in close quarters.

Did you pick up any new hobbies?

I've been taking workshops. I'm very interested now in how things work and fixing and building things. It seems so easy to send things out to be repaired. But, now that we're all together in our own little worlds, I want to be the guy who's able to prepare and create something. I create content as an actor, but I want to create physical things with my hands. So, I've been dabbling in woodworking and tools.

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Have you built anything?

Well, I'll tell you what I have built: my table saw. I think most mere mortals would accomplish putting it together in a couple of hours. I managed to do it in three days. So, it's sitting there ready to cut things into smaller things. And that's the goal.

How have you been occupying your kids?

We've been hanging out doing puzzles, watching movies together. I bought the Oculus Quest VR machine. So we've been getting to virtually escape. So, we've been playing around with some VR nonsense, watching things, creating things. We pressed some flowers over the fall. I was trying to be as artsy as possible.

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Speaking of puzzles, you created an at-home escape room game.

Yes! It's an escape game for a single person that has proven to be quite successful. The timing proved great because it's been a few years in the making. So, it's perfect for people looking for something to do when they're by themselves.

You're also a magic fan. Have you learned any new tricks or participated in any of the online magic shows?

I've done many. Justin Willman has a great online magic show because he uses the television medium naturally. He's very savvy with that. It's a really interesting subset of magic, and people are taking advantage of it, which makes me very happy as someone who likes to promote the art.

You've been able to escape virtually, but where do you hope actually to travel when it's safe again?

I'll tell you a place I'm dying to go back to. Because I'm in New York City, which has lots of buildings, I've been craving to go somewhere with a lot of open space. We went to Alaska, and it was just remarkable. It's just gorgeous with snowmobiling and winter sports. I'm anxious to escape and try some winter sports.


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