By Samantha O'Brochta

When you can’t hop on a plane or train to get to your next destination, what can you do? There’s a variety of reasons why one might not be able to travel. Whether it’s an illness or injury that prevents you from taking a long-planned trip, a lack of funds to make a dream destination become a reality, or a global pandemic keeping you inside, it can seem like there’s nothing you can do. Here are some creative tips to fulfill your wanderlust.

Relive Past Travels 

When living in the moment on the road, you tend to use your senses to take in everything you’re experiencing. Perhaps you even forgot to write down what you did and saw because you were having such a lovely time. Even though time has passed, it can still be a good exercise to journal about previous adventures. Take time to remember the scents and aromas that wafted through the air. Close your eyes and rebuild the setting with your imagination—what kind of people did you meet along the way? Was there a unique moment that would make for a hilarious anecdote? These all deserve space on a page and will help you relive your favorite journeys.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

If you’ve taken photographs on your trips, go back to your archive and reminisce. Consider why you thought these shots should be captured. Create a photo book out of the best images and keep it on your living room table so you can have a physical copy to browse when relaxing with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. If you have photo editing software, go through each shot and brighten them up or add a vintage filter. Are there any shots that seem particularly outstanding? Find a photography competition to submit to and potentially win a reward for your great eye.

Local Adventures Await

Every town or state has those odd spots of local legend that you claimed you’d visit someday, but kept putting off. Is there a hiking trail, beach vista, or campsite nearby that never made it onto your daily itinerary? When you live close to something, there’s no urgency to take advantage of it because you know it’ll always be there for a rainy day. Well, now is the time to take on the challenge of the ultimate staycation and make your surroundings as interesting and delightful as a trip to Paris or Bali. Using guides like Atlas Obscura, you can find unique and hidden places within your state that you might have never considered. Another option is to approach your town or city through a new lens: Find a guidebook and see the space through the eyes of a tourist, pretend it’s the first you’ve ever been. It’ll help you gain a new appreciation for where you live.

Cook up Something New

If you can’t visit a new location, you can at least learn how to cook different cuisines. Let the flavors transport you to other places through your taste buds. Find a local cooking class to inspire you to sauté, grill, or bake something you’ve never tried from an unfamiliar culture. For those who like to try things on their own, the internet contains infinite recipes to take on if you dare—you may even discover you have a secret skill for making a delicious homemade dish with ties to a distant country.

Bring Other Cultures Home

When experiencing a travel deficit, surround yourself with things that will help you feel like you’re still accessing the world. Watch a film or television program that transports you to another time and place. Download an app that will help you learn a new language—or at least brush up on one you’ve previously studied. Start a collection of foreign currencies, stamps, or keepsakes from the road—there are many books chronicling travelers' escapades around the globe that could keep anyone entertained for hours. Pull out some souvenirs and decorate your home with pieces from across the world. Even the small things will make your abode feel like a space that’s appreciating different cultures, which will make any homebound traveler feel a spark of adventure.

Samantha O'Brochta is a digital content creator living between London, New York City, and the Pacific Northwest. When not writing, taking photos, designing graphics, and editing video footage, she enjoys the performing arts & comedy.


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