Travel is a beautiful and glorious opportunity when we have it.
The exhilaration we get as we step off the plane and into a new country for the first time. The expansion of our minds as we meet new people, hear new languages, eat new, delicious cuisines.
The reminder that wherever we go, we are all connected and the things we think separate us are actually just superficial to the things we have in common.
Travel is a gift.
However, in our current state of affairs—pandemic, lockdown, travel restrictions—it can be easy to give in to the feeling of being stuck. And, perhaps, to give in to the despair that the things we love—if you’re a travel bug like I am—might not be available to us any time soon, if ever.
So, with all that is going on in our world, how can we satisfy the itch for travel, exploration, discovery, and adventure?
Here are three strategies I’ve implemented to satisfy my urge to travel, and also save money while doing it in the safety of my own home!
(Given the circumstances of the current state of the world, travel is not something we can do as freely as we travelers would like.)
Consider these tips to help you to keep your travel mindset active and allow you to explore and indulge your adventurous side.
1. Read books written by people who travel.
Reading books written by people who travel is a great way to explore their personal experiences, which provides the reader with that sense of discovery, learning of new places, and new experiences.
In reading books of other people’s travels, you might even discover new places you want to add to your must-go list. Some authors offer shorter pieces, similar to essays, so you’re able to go someplace, see the experiences all during your lunch break.
One of my favorite people is Paul Theroux, who’s written a great collection of books about his travels, and he’s been everywhere. (I’ve read much of his work. And they’re in short form; it’s like reading a series of crisp, delightful essays that transport you and give you a felt sense of travel.
2. Watch travel films, documentaries, and docu-series.
If you are more of a visual person, there are many wonderful travel films and documentaries that provide an escape and entertainment. Life these days can feel so constrained, and there is this sense of loneliness that we have in this time.
But when I turn on an episode of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” it’s like I’m off with him! Anthony Bourdain had such a gift for storytelling, and the way those episodes were filmed makes it seem as though you were really in the mix with him, wherever in the world he was in each episode. You can almost smell the smells, and partake in amazing places and experiences through his eyes, seeing things we may not have had the opportunity to see otherwise, had we gone ourselves.
Travel documentaries and docu-series are a wonderful way to remind myself of these great adventures and explore new places, seeing landscapes, and meeting people from all over the world.
3. Be an adventurer in your own town or city.
I live in San Francisco, I walk a lot with my dog, and I have loved to explore new streets and locations I’ve not yet discovered.
I like to look at houses and imagine that I’m a visitor in a way. Imagining the people who live there, I wonder whether there’s a family or not, what they’re doing with themselves. And I particularly like walking around at night when the windows are lit up, and I can kind of see into people’s windows and stoke the fire of my imagination.
I wrote about a similar experience in my book Bowing To Elephants, in the chapter on Venice. I was in a square, looking up and there was this beautiful window that was bathed in a dance of light. And the color in the room was fireplace-warm. A reddish-brown glow with highlights and shadows dancing on the faces of the people inside…
(In my daily life, I practice being both an engaged adventurer and an observer of the world that’s unfolding all around us.)
These are just a few ways that you can explore and discover new places around the world (and in the world of your city or town). Sometimes you can even travel in the comfort of your own home, without ever getting out of your pajamas (and no lines at the airport)!
Where are you excited to explore next? What adventures have you experienced in your own town? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!