Cure the travel bug with these quick fixes
Sometimes we just can’t embark on an exotic adventure, I get it. I spent four years barely leaving my hometown’s county during the time I was taking care of my father, who suffered from dementia. We all have reasons; both real and imagined for why we can’t escape the day-to-day grind of our lives; two kids, a full-time job, a sick dog, a lonesome parent, or a maxed credit card…you name it.
So, I’ve brainstormed a bunch of fun ways for you to take a quick ‘vaca’ (even if it’s just in your heart and mind) without actually leaving town (or even your own home). I’ve found that just 1 day spent out of my daily routine (and comfort zone) yields tremendous benefits for my mental and physical health. Perhaps you’ve found this to be true in your own life.
Here are some of my favorite local travel escapes *drumroll please*:
- Cook a meal from your dream destination, whipping out that Italian cookbook you picked up recently.
- Watch a foreign film, documentary or travel show (You know I love me some Anthony Bourdain!)
- Visit a zoo, natural history museum or arboretum; you’ll instantly be transported to the savannas of African or the jungles of the Amazon.
- Read a good travel adventure book. I recently finished listening to Stranger in the Forest about Eric Hansen’s trek across the jungle interior of Borneo. It was fascinating, skin-tingling and really transported me there (disclaimer: I have, in fact, been to Borneo, so I suppose it re-transported me there!)
- Visit an art museum and focus on the collections of the old masters of Europe.
- Listen to music from around the globe. My favorite is Putamayo World Music where you can listen to and buy every genre from Celtic to Samba.
- Throw a theme party, with music, food, and décor from your chosen destinations. Costumes required! Sample drinks from the area; pisco sours from Peru, burgundy wines from France, mirto from Sardinia, or a fine oolong tea from China. Rent a digital projector and have your worldly friends share travel photos from their most recent trip.
- Buy an exotic flower arrangement, taking in the scent of plumeria and the warm colors of torch ginger, heliconia, birds of paradise and orchids.
- Make a vision board focused on a dream destination, using old travel magazines from a used book store or library sale.
- Practice a foreign language. Try an online tutorial like at Duolingo or Fluent in 3 Months, take a community college class, or join a conversational language club.
- Take a mini vacation in your own city. Plan a day doing things you’ve never tried in your own town; a beer brewery tour, a hip restaurant, a crafty art class, a massage at a day spa. To help you really feel that you’re on a trip, don’t use your own car… get a taxi, ride a bus, take the train, or hire a limo! Spend the night at an Airbnb across town. Extra credit if you bring along an out of town friend who can make you appreciate your town’s charms even more. Double extra credit if you write a postcard from a café during your mini-vaca to really cement the idea that you’ve been away. Triple extra credit if you write in a journal.
- Relive memories from a previous trip by pulling out your old travel journal or photo albums. Cozy up on the couch with a drink appropriate to that trip and soak it all in.
- Lastly, next time you DO get to travel, be sure to bring home some mementos to help you relive your trip: some regional food, music, clothes, nature treasures or postcards.
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