Today's post is going to be all about how you can satisfy your wanderlust when you are not travelling. I have 15 different ideas that you can utilize. Let's get started!
Get lost in your own city
Become a tourist for a day and explore your city and surrounding areas. Between the big trips, satisfy your wanderlust with staycations. Staycations give you the opportunity to discover places close to home. They are a satisfying little taste of adventure and travel. Perfect for when you are looking for a low-cost vacation or if you can’t get enough vacation time to go far away from home.
Take a Day Trip
If you can’t go somewhere for a week or more, whether due to time or financial constraints, appease your wanderlust temporarily with a day or overnight trip somewhere easily accessible to where you live. Pinpoint somewhere you’ve never been and hop on a bus or a train, or get in your car for a quick trip. That same energy that you feel when you book and embark on a longer getaway further away can still be accessed with a short trip.
Leave Room for Spontaneity in Your Day
One of the best things about travelling is not being entrenched in your regular routine. Normally, on a day-to-day basis, we’re fairly tied to a fixed routine: get up, go to work, come home, make dinner, etc., with maybe a trip to the gym or somewhere to see friends thrown in. But for the most part, things don’t deviate all that much from one day to the next. You can feel some of that excitement travel brings to your life by shaking up your at-home routine. Leave room for spontaneity by not over-scheduling your life, and do things differently every day. For example, if you always take a certain route home from work, try a different one. If you always do a spin class on Sunday mornings, take a kickboxing class instead. Give yourself permission to live outside of a routine.
Start Learning A New Language
Tame your wanderlust between trips by learning a new language. Whether you physically go to a language class, take an online course or work with a website and app like Duolingo (easy and fun to use, personally this is the one I use), immersing yourself in language study can help take the edge off your need to wander. Target your studies to the destination you’re hankering to visit. That way when you do go, you’ll be prepared.
Flex Your Social Muscle
Travelling requires us to go outside of our comfort zones and (gasp) actually talk to people who aren’t in our immediate social circles. And it’s through this engaging with strangers that some of travel’s best magic happens. Applying this principle to life at home can give you that same feeling you get when you’re meeting people through your travels. Make a point of actually smiling at others, striking up conversations with people you see at the gym, in your building, or at the dog park. Doing so will add a new spark to your day and who knows, you might just meet someone great.
Even backpackers and budget travellers will justify spending a few extra dollars on something unique, be it a souvenir, day trip, or entrance into a certain can’t-miss attraction. If you can’t treat yourself to an actual vacation, do the next best thing and add a bit of indulgence to your day. Splurge on a really nice bottle of wine, or pick up some exotic ingredients for a gourmet meal at home. Or maybe you want to treat yourself to a really nice travel book, or spend time with a good friend instead of staying late at the office. Whatever you choose, find a way to make your day feel special.
One of the greatest bits of traveling is the culinary experience, so why not recreate that close to home? Try to find authentic, hole in the wall eateries and experiment a bit. Ethiopian, Cambodian, Lebanese, South Indian, real Italian,… you may discover a new favorite!
Relive Past Trips
Looking through pictures and videos of past trips and adventures is a sure way to satisfy your wanderlust. It will remind you to be patient. It will remind you that like previous trips, your next trip will be well worth the wait. Taking a walk down memory lane always puts a smile on my face. It gives me motivation to keep saving for my next trip.
Travel Based Blogs and Books
Either write or read travel blogs. Or do both! Writing about, and sharing, your travel experiences can be a great way to satisfy your wanderlust. This will allow you to relive past adventures. Another benefit is being able to help and inspire other travelers with your stories and tips. Be transported to another place without leaving your desk. You’ll also get some great ideas and tips for your next trip.
The downside to this is that is can really incite more wanderlust and make it unbearable so on the flip side you can try a different approach.
Start Planning Your Next Trip
It’s never too late to start planning! If you’re like me, then you love planning, researching, and imagining your next trip. The biggest problem is always where to go next, so many places to see! Researching and looking at pictures of destinations you will one day visit can help satisfy your wanderlust. Okay, this wanderlust squasher works best if you have a specific destination on your heart that is definitely going to happen- but you need to wait a bit longer for the pieces to fall into place. Start researching where you’d want to go, stay, and what to do- just don’t consider dates or book anything yet. This way, once you get enough money, or vacation days, or whatever it is- you’ll be good to go and (relatively) stress-free. Along those lines, you may want to start learning the language of your next destination- this is the time to do it!The threat of looming travel and the desire to not be helpless abroad make for a motivating deadline.
There are often volunteer opportunities in your city that allow you to work with an international population. Perhaps there are immigrant kids and families that need help with tutoring, learning English, or job skills. A website such as Volunteer Match can help connect you with an opportunity that fits your talents and time commitment. Another great idea is to host international families or students for dinner or a holiday meal. If you’ve ever been abroad alone, you know that nothing beats an invitation to a home for a meal. This is a win-win situation, because both you and your invitees get to learn about each other’s cultures. If you’re not up for a local connection, try supporting a cause abroad in a country that you’ve been to, or want to visit.
A desire to travel often creeps in when we feel less connected to our communities, families, and friends. Social ties make us want to stick around, and give us reasons to. We all want to be seen and to be known; but that only comes from making an effort to get involved. Try joining a new group, reconnecting with friends you don’t see often, or stepping up to lead something. Show up consistently. Look around your life to see where you have influence or gifting, and figure out how to impact people that way. When our lives at home are filled with meaningful connections and pursuits, we want to leave them less- for a time, anyways.
Having a Travel Oriented Calendar
This is something that I personally do. Currently I have a page-a-day Rick Steves calendar as well as a Rick Steves Wall Calendar. But obviously that's my preference because I am mostly interested in Europe, there are so many calendars that you can get and they will be tailored to what you are interested in.
Now if these things don't work and you feel the pull of wanderlust even more than you can try these ideas.
Cut Yourself off from Travel Related Media
Don’t read travel books, look at travel photos on social media, or watch travel shows on tv. Take the National Geographic book off the coffee table. If temptation is not in your face, it’s much easier to forget about. I go through lots of seasons where I rely on this method.
Train For Something
Sign up for something big, like a marathon. That’s a guaranteed 12 weeks of training where you’ll be thinking of nothing but running, nutrition, and sleep. Your effort will be laser-focused on attaining a new goal, which is nearly as satisfying as planning a trip abroad. You may even be able to work in a mini runcation for a race in a nearby city. What wanderlust?
Adjust your Attitude
Find positive things to attribute to your time “grounded”. This could include saving money, being present for family celebrations, improving your work ethic, or even just being able to keep a recurring commitment for once. This will help the season feel worthwhile and less disappointing.
The fun of experiencing new cultures doesn’t have to be limited to our travels abroad. Thankfully, the world isn’t as small as it used to be- there is more of the world in our own backyards than ever before. Utilize what you can, your local library, your computer etc, there are so many things that factor into conquering wanderlust. So if you’re stuck in a season where you’re grounded, use these tips to satisfy your inner explorer until it’s time for the next adventure!