For when you miss traveling

June 03, 2016
There was a time, about a year ago when I was in a new city every other weekend. I think I was once in 4 countries within 7 or 8 days in May 2015, trying to see as much of Europe as possible before moving back the the States.

There are times now when I'm happy to be home and building a career and life, but there are other times I intensely, overwhelmingly miss traveling. Right now, travel isn't very practical. Part of it is money- we moved back to the States, bought a car with cash and are starting our lives over and need to start thinking of saving for retirement since we're American. The other part is scheduling. I'm pretty flexible as a grad student, but my husband would have to request time off (and doesn't get paid if he doesn't work). These days when we do get time off, we visit his mother who has health problems a couple states away.

So it doesn't look like I'll be able to do much traveling in the near future, and while it's always possible we could find ourselves spending a night or two in a nearby city, it's not quite the same adventure as jetting off to another country for a weekend.

Just today this showed up on my facebook feed, another reminder of what I once had:

So instead of moping, I've been trying to uncover what it is about traveling that is so exciting and rewarding despite being expensive, exhausting and sometime a little scary (like that time we went to the airport and found we'd booked our flight home for the wrong day. Oops) How can I capture the same emotions and thrills that travel gives me, but without leaving my city?

These are some of the things I came up with:

I miss newness and discovery. Travel introduced me to so many things that are new or exciting and when I do the same things day after day it's easy to see why I crave jetting off to somewhere new and far away.
Instead I can try to find something else new to experience, like an art workshop or even just trying a new cuisine. If you're cravings excitement try getting out of your comfort zone in other ways closer to home.

I miss the anticipation of a good weekend or holiday. I miss having things to look forward to and having a schedule full of interesting events awaiting me.
Instead I can become better at scheduling things to look forward to in advance.

I miss the sense of accomplishment that comes with successfully executing a plan. Maybe I had to navigate a rail system in another alphabet or successfully ordered breakfast in my school Spanish.
Instead I can set specific goals in other areas of my life and celebrate when I reach them. 

I miss spending the day exploring a new city and relaxing in the evening, tired but happy. Being on the go all day is tiring in a rewarding sort of way. Now compare that to sitting at a desk or clicking around on Facebook all day. It's just not as fulfilling.
Instead I can incorporate more movement and activity into my everyday life. I already go to the gym about 4 times a week, but while it often leaves me with a sense of accomplishment, it's not always quite the same. Seek out experiences that engage your body, whether it's dancing, hiking, rock climbing or something else.

+ I miss getting out of my house/office more. When I travel, I'm hardly ever in the hotel/airbnb, and I'm almost always either outside, somewhere interesting or in transit to somewhere. Now I'm almost always either at home or work.
Instead I can make an effort to change up my scenery, especially if I can go outside. This is tough when you have set responsibilities, but maybe you can work at a different location in your building for an hour, read a book at a park instead of on your couch, or maybe just driving to a different grocery store than the one you usually go to.

+ I miss the excuse to indulge - a slice of cake with coffee, a beer in the afternoon, an extra scoop of gelato. Or maybe we spend a little extra and stay in the apartment with the air conditioning, or buy the funicular ticket instead of walking up hill.
Instead I can still enjoy myself when I have a chance, especially since we have a closet full of craft beer we never get around to drinking. This one I can totally handle.

I miss getting "away from it all" for a few days. Taking time off and being physically away from work and made it easier for me to ignore work emails for a few days. It also made me appreciate  my own bed and closet more once I returned home.
Instead I can.. well, I could just turn off my phone and stay off of social media, but we're looking for an escape, not isolation. I could do a better job of not bringing work home with me, but right now it's a priority to get my thesis done ASAP so that's not really an option. And maybe I won't try to force this one, and leave some of the magic of a holiday abroad untouched.

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