We’ve all been there, dreaming of a vacation we can’t take. Sometimes there is just not enough time, money, or freedom in our lives to travel, but that doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your spirit of adventure. Think out of the box and find ways to nurture your travel soul even when life seemingly makes that impossible.
To get you started, here are 10 creative things you can do when you want to travel but can’t. Try some out and let us know how it goes!
1. Armchair travel
One of the easiest ways to get to know a destination is by experiencing it through the written word. Visit your local library and spend some time looking at travel guides, read a travelogue or delve into the world of travel blogs. There is an entire world to explore via books and blogs. Add a glass of exotic tea into the mix and you have yourself a recipe for true armchair travel bliss.
Books and blogs to light that travel spark
Some of my favorite travel books
- Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World
- In Tuscany
- Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now–As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It
- Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide
- City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
- Mud, Sweat, and Gears: A Rowdy Family Bike Adventure Across Canada on Seven Wheels
A few of my favorite travel blogs
- Digital Nomad
- Dream of Italy
- Adventurous Kate
- Camels and Chocolate
- The Planet D – Canada’s Adventure Couple
2. Watch a movie
Whether you want to follow the adventures of two roving motorcyclists traveling the world or be inspired by the sights and sounds of Barcelona a la Woody Allen, there are an amazing array of movies that can put you in the travel mood. Want to feel like you are there – go foreign.
- Michael Palin’s Around the World in 80 Days (My Favorite)
- Long Way Down
- Vicky Cristina Barcelona
- Into the Wild
- Out of Africa
- The Way
3. Be a tourist in your own city
You don’t necessarily have to leave the city you live in to be a tourist. Grab that camera, get a map and start to wander. Visit local hotspots or major tourist attractions in the area and try to look at your city through the eyes of a first-time visitor. It’s easy to stop being curious about a place that you see every day so take the time to notice things around you.
4. Plan your next trip
Okay, so you can’t be there right now, that place your dreaming of, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ever go there. Get some guidebooks and start planning your trip. Research the area, pick out places you want to visit, figure out the best time to go. Make a plan to destroy the obstacle that is keeping you from going. If money is an issue, estimate the cost of your lodging, airfare and sightseeing budget and make a plan to save the money you need. If time is an issue, figure out how much time you will need and find or make space for your trip.
5. Eat some international food
Okay – so yum, I envy you if you do this one. Whether you love to cook or consider take out your main meal source, foreign food is easy to come by and can bring the flavor or a place right into your kitchen (and stomach).
International Recipes for the Travel Hungry
- Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs
- Paula Wolfert’s hummus
- Navratan Korma from the Court of Mughals
- Mango Pulp in Jaggery sweetened Cardamom Coconut Milk
- Classic Salade Niçoise
- Lardo, pear, blue cheese and honey crostoni with sourdough bread
- Arroz Con Pollo
6. Fake it – visit from the comfort of your own home
Be a virtual tourist! The internet is overflowing with pictures, videos, panoramas and descriptions of travel locations. Research a place and then create an itinerary that you can follow from home. Include music, videos and food in your itinerary. An added plus of the planning portion of this is that you get to know the area you are faking a trip to really well!
7. Learn the language
As Charlemagne said, “to have another language is to possess a second soul”. Learning a language can not only make your travels richer and easier, but also give you an understanding of a culture that you could have in no other way. You can spend some time learning travel basics or try learning a song or poem. Whatever you do, don’t worry about doing it perfectly – make it fun, speak with relish and wild abandon. No one is watching….
8. Listen to some world music
Listening to music from a culture/area is one of the quickest ways to get to know its heart and soul. From Native American traditional music to modern bollywood, there is so much to explore when it comes to world music. Put on some headphones and crank up the volume or turn on some music and dance. Soon you will feel like you are visiting that place you dream of going. Check out my post on Pandora World Music Stations for some inspiration.