If you’re like me, you probably find yourself imagining what it would be like to travel, just for fun, about 90 percent of the time. However, if you’re like me, you find choosing the daily responsibilities, and joys, of life – a great job, kids, a partner and otherwise good things, gets in the way of that. If that’s true, this post is for you.
Here’s the secret: just because you have cause to stay put for a period of time, doesn’t mean your inner traveler has to hide in her suitcase! When it’s just not practical to chuck it all and hit the road, here are a few tips for incorporating travel inspiration into everyday life.
1. Take a train. If train travel isn’t part of your everyday life, try taking a train to a new city. This affordable, underutilized and unique way of going from one place to another can feed your travel bug and bring back great memories of your last trip through Europe. Plus, train travel is quintessential Americana. I took a train from Denver through the Rockies for the first time this weekend to visit friends. I learned about the history of the state while viewing gorgeous rivers and mountains that just aren’t visible in the same way from the road. Plus, I made a few friends from all over the world utilizing our train system to explore America. Those conversations inspired the traveler in me while helping me to see my backyard from an entirely new perspective.
2. Community college classes. A travel writing class, photography class, or French cooking class can be just the thing to stir up your travel cravings into domestic delight. One of the wonderful benefits about travel is the freedom we feel to try things we wouldn’t normally try at home. Motorcycle lessons, anyone?
3. Find a conversation partner. Look on a local coffee shop community board or Craigslist and find someone who speaks a language your interested in. This gives you the opportunity to practice a new tongue, it’s free and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a new friend out of it like mine named Juan, who happens to love salsa dancing.
4. Host a couch surfer and let the traveler come to you. Experience the sense of excitement and adventure of somewhere new while extending hospitality to a fellow global citizen. Meeting new, interesting people is one of the best things about traveling, and gives you the opportunity give back for all those times you were helped on the road.
5. Local Art. Local museums are easily overlooked and too often taken for granted. I’m from a small Texas city with legendary art museums that I never really appreciated until coming back home as an adult. Meet a friend for lunch at a café in your local museum; catch a visiting exhibit or watch a film. Many people only experience art when traveling. You can change that.
6. Give up paper cups. Sure, it sounds like a strange way of experiencing travel at home. But it’s way more likely that you’ll sit in a café when traveling to enjoy a cup of coffee then you will at home. Stop in a local shop, and take your coffee in a “for here” mug. Bring your journal or an inspirational read to complete the experience. In 10 minutes time, you’ll feel reconnected to your inner traveler.
7. Taste. Our sense of taste is one way we explore the globe and this is truly something you can experience anywhere. Try ethnic cuisine - an Ethiopian Indian or Asian restaurant can be one way of doing just that. Sit on a pillow, talk to the chef and ask questions about the region and food. Discover a new favorite Argentinian wine, order a dessert you can’t even pronounce! Or get a cookbook with new exotic recipies to try making it yourself. Uniquely delicious food can transport you to an entirely new place or remind you of a favorite travel experience.
8. Open spaces. State, Regional and National parks in the U.S are often times taken for granted. Try taking a weekend to explore outside. Grab a bike and a state park pass and you can experience a true sense of wonder in your own backyard.
9. Armchair traveling is okay too. Movies and books about travel can inspire the traveler in all of us. Out of Africa, Shantaram or Finding Elliott Rouse are all travel oriented stories that regularly lend me inspiration. Try reading the biography of an early adventure traveler like Osa Martin. Tapping into the traveler’s spirit in others can make your heart feel alive and well. Consider starting a travel book club as a way to experience this with friends.
It’s possible to take small steps toward being a constant traveler, even if your travel baggage stays on the top shelf in the closet. The things we love about travel - the amazing people we meet, the sense of discovery, of learning; new food, new music, new sights…it’s completely possible to create these experiences right where you live! After all, finding travel inspiration when on the road is easy; true travelers find it at home.
What are some ways you find travel inspiration?
Traveler & Creeker