When the itch for travel becomes so strong that booking a trip is all you can think (and talk) about, but you can’t actually go anywhere, it can be easy to go into a wanderlust stress spiral. But you don’t have to. There are a few simple ways to satiate the travel bug temporarily without actually getting on a plane.
One of the things that appeals so much about travel is the change of pace and opportunity for adventure it promises. Every destination offers something different and every time you step off a plane there’s a rush of excitement for what’s to come. Travel is all about potential — potential for discovery and finding something amazing around the next corner. But that same feeling can be accessed without actually leaving. Get out of your local comfort zone and discover a totally new neighbourhood. Walk around, get lost, and see what you can discover in your own city.
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.
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.
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), 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.
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.
Or, if there’s an Urban Adventures tour in your city, you could soothe your wanderlust angst with a day tour in your hometown!