One of the true perils of being a travel addict: how to cope when the supply runs dry and you’re back at home.
To be totally honest, despite blogging about travel I don’t have a strong desire to be a full time traveller. I love balancing a life full of travel adventures with my ‘real’ life. A life with my partner, a home base, a job, good friends, a favourite local bar and favourite hiking trails.
A life of perpetual travel sounds more exhausting than glamorous to me. Not to mention unsustainable and downright unattainable for most people.
But I’ll admit, sometimes while sitting on my couch flicking through beautiful travel snaps on Instagram, the pull to pack my bag and book a one way ticket to anywhere can be pretty major. Especially if my next trip is months away.
Rather than lament, I’ve come up with ways to ‘travel’ when I’m not actually travelling. It helps me stay inspired and excited about life, regardless of where my passport is currently stamped.
After all, life at home should be just as amazing as life on the road.
Here are my tips for how to travel when you’re not actually travelling.
Travel through your tastebuds
So much of my travel involves food that it’s a perfect way to continue the ‘travel’ while at home.
Go to dinner at a restaurant that serves a cuisine you’ve never tried. Explore your city’s Chinatown, Little Italy, Little India or other ethnic quarters to get a delicious, authentic and local experience.
On a budget? Get creative at home! I love looking for inspiration in my stash of recipe books covering everything from African, Spanish, Greek, Mexican, Indian and more. Alternatively, there’s literally millions of recipes online.
Even if you’re not a master chef, sushi, tacos and curry – or cheese and wine – can be pretty simple to put together. Throw on some fun music to match and you’ve got yourself a night in Kyoto, Oaxaca, Jaipur or Paris!
Take a hike!
Fresh air and exercise is good for the soul, especially when rewarded with beautiful views along the way.
If you’re not an avid hiker, start with something easy and fun. Not sure where to start? Your city or state probably has great resources on the interwebs. My go to is Washington Trails Association. Or look at bigger sites such as Modern Hiker, Outdoor Project and All Trails.
Play tourist for a day in your own city
I spent two years working in Sydney’s Circular Quay: a short walk from tourist hotspots like the Opera House, Botanic Gardens, Harbor Bridge and The Rocks historic precinct. Yet I can probably count how many times I actually got outside to experience it on one hand. Isn’t that ridiculous!
It’s easy to write off ‘touristy’ spots in your city, but they’re touristy for a reason. Usually because they’re beautiful, cultural or iconic.
Spend a day (or even a few hours after work) getting to know your city through the fresh eyes of a tourist. Visit one of the museums, grab a bite to eat and shop in Chinatown, or see a play in the theatre district. Pack a picnic and take your lunch break in those famous gardens.
Escape through fiction
The ultimate lazy way to travel when you’re not actually travelling: escapism via movies or books. Delve into 1920s Paris, the Antebellum South, Bali’s tea plantations or discover ancient civilisations without having to leave the couch.
Some of my favourite travel-related movies: Wild, Midnight in Paris, Roman Holiday, Eurotrip, Lost in Translation, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Motorcycle Diaries.
Some of my favourite travel-related books: Into the Wild, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Tony Wheeler’s Bad Lands, The White Tiger, Turn Right at Machu Picchu, Kindred, On the Road.
I love watching Netflix documentaries too, like Planet Earth, Wild China and Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown series.
A weekend getaway in your state – or interstate!
For those working the 9-5, which let’s face it these days seems more like the 8-6, weekends are the perfect time to getaway. Especially somewhere in your own state.
I’m a firm believer that chores and errands should be avoided at all costs on the weekends. My weekends are precious, and I’d much rather do a little cleaning midweek and a Monday night grocery run instead.
Get some friends together for a camping trip. Escape to wine country with your partner. Head to the coast to soak up some sunshine.
Some of my best memories from my time in the US has been weekend getaways in Washington State. Washington readers looking for inspiration, I’ve documented my picks for weekend escapes in fall, winter and spring. Summer tips coming soon!
Take a day trip to somewhere new
Travel can be as simple as a day trip to somewhere you’ve never been, or haven’t been to in a long time. That nearby city with a cool restaurant scene or festival? The beach you haven’t been to since you were a kid?
A day in new surroundings will make you feel just like you’re travelling. All you need is a tank of gas or a bus ticket!
Get artistic with your travel photos and memorabilia
I’m sure I’m not the only person guilty of taking hundreds of photos while travelling, only to return home and have them sit sadly on your computer, doing nothing but take up precious hard drive space.
Get creative with your photos now that you have a little more downtime. Pick the best ones to frame and decorate your apartment. Make a photo album. Print some images for a collage or scrapbook, adding ticket stubs, postcards or other fun memorabilia you brought home from your travels.
Added bonus: a short highlights reel in physical form will be much more fun for family and friends to peruse, rather than bombarding them with a massive Facebook album.
Plan your next adventure!
For me, planning my next trip is (almost) as exciting as actually taking it! Start reading travel magazines, guide books and blogs. Get lost down the Pinterest rabbit hole.
Once you have a destination or activity in mind, it’s so much more motivating to start saving to achieve it!
Give back and check your privilege
I think it’s important to remember that if you’re travelling at all, you’re already more fortunate than many others. Billions of people in this world will never have the opportunity to travel out of their home country – or city for that matter – due to personal, financial or political circumstances.
Yes, it’s a bummer that you’re back from Europe and life is now lacking waffle selfies in the Grand Place… but get some perspective and remember what’s actually important. (FYI this is not a lecture, I’m guilty of it too).
If you have spare time, find a local charity or community group to get involved in.
How do you travel when you’re not actually travelling?
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