I haven’t been on a trip since October. That’s a long old time for me and my feet are growing very itchy. Fortunately I don’t have long to wait now until I’m jetting off again but this abeyance in adventure got me thinking about how I fulfil my travel needs even when I’m not heading off to explore somewhere new. Just because I’m not away doesn’t mean my head’s not in the clouds.
So here are my top six tips for what to do when money or work, or some other petty annoyance, dictate that you can’t travel. (Read also, How to Stay Sane).
1. Be thankful
The other day I was looking through some of my travel photos and I was like, “Wow,” “Wow!”, “WOW!!!”. It’s very easy as a part-time traveller in a period of abstinence to forget about all the amazing places you’ve been and the incredible things you’ve seen. So when you’re not travelling it’s always good to spend time reminding yourself. Flip back through your photos, or if you have them, go through your scrapbooks and look at your souvenirs. Reminisce and give thanks for all the awesome experiences you’ve had and recognise that the sacrifice you’re making now means more wonderful memories to come.
2. Read, read, read
I can resist any kind of temptation except books and so my favourite way to escape the drudgery of everyday life, is to curl up with a pot of tea and a travel book. A lot of modern-day travellers (particularly the ones who take themselves oh-so-seriously) don’t rate them but I’m still a sucker for a good book, I love the smell and the feel of a book, not just what’s inside it. So my recommendation is to read and explore. And if practical travel guides aren’t your thing (why the hell aren’t they?!) then how about you tackle some fiction? There is a myriad of books out there which will whet your appetite and maybe even inspire you to visit places you’d never considered before.
3. Watch the box
I’ve been an avid film fan for a few years now so if I’ve been working too hard and I’m too tired to read (which has happened a lot recently) I’ve found that the easy way to mainline my travel fix has been to watch a movie. And until recently I hardly ever watched my TV but then I bought a new sprocklebracket to plug in to it and it’s opened up a whole new world of travel and nature documentaries for me. So sit square-eyed and enjoy.
4. Connect with like-minded people
On line resource has been an absolute revelation to me. I’ve made a great number of connections with other travellers and learnt so much in such a short space of time. Don’t be afraid to chat away on line, swap tips, ask questions and make recommendations. You will learn so much and hook up with like-minded people which will open up a whole load of new opportunities for you. Since joining Twitter alone, I’ve found the balls to finally start publishing my ramblings, such as they are, made friends with someone who was so generous as to let me stay in their apartment for free, and got chatting to people who have inspired me to travel to new places and in new ways. So don’t be afraid to reach out, even if you’re essentially a shy person (aren’t we all).
5. Get planning
For me half the fun of travel and being a solo tripster is in the planning. I can lose days of my life comparing and contrasting flight times, accommodation prices, what the best things to do are, what the local delicacies are, learning a few words of the language, familiarising myself with the customs, discovering where the best drinks are, trying to find what’s off the beaten track and just generally learning what’s what. So while away the hours until your next trip finding out all about it. If you’re a planoholic your neurotic self will thank you for it. And if you’re not, plan it anyway and then tear it up into tiny pieces before you go away.
6. Don’t be afraid to dream
2017 is going to be a year of big changes for me. It’s the year I’m finally going to grow up and accept that as a woman in my forties with responsibilities I can’t just up and off. It’s going to be the year that I make sacrifices for things other than travel; I finally have to accept that unless I forgo travelling with the regularity and frivolity of previous years, I’m not going to be able to afford to do up my house. So there’s going to be a lot of dreaming in 2017! I’ve always poo-pooed the idea of a bucket list, because I believe that life shouldn’t be lived according to a series of tasks that we tick off as we go and that opportunities have to be grabbed as and when they arrive. But I’m finally starting to accept that I can’t continue living my life with this fly-by-the-seat-of my-pants mentality – well, not *all* of the time, anyway. With travel reducing in 2017 I reckon I should spend some quality time fantasising about all my travel possibilities and drawing up my So Long List. I think I do very well as a part-time traveller, maximising my disposable income and limited time off work to best effect, but perhaps now is the time for a little stocktaking and some strategic planning and to start thinking about all the places I really have to see before I head off to the great city break in the sky.
And if all else fails…
So there you go. My top tips for how to stay sane and while away the weeks between your adventures. And if these don’t work then you’re going to just have to admit defeat. You’re going to need to accept that part-time tripping isn’t for you and pack in your job, sell your silverware, wave goodbye to your friends and family and head off travelling full-time. It’s not for me – but hey, I refer to point 6 – I’m not afraid to dream!