Traveling the world has probably been crossed out of the bucket list of most people this year.
As I’ve written before, I’m more than happy to stay where I am at this point, but I can only imagine that this is not what everyone is feeling.
So what can you do when you can’t travel much but are missing these times?
Sometimes the solutions are the most obvious things that can easily be forgotten.
It’s a good thing to think about the why of your travels. What was the reason you wanted to travel? Was it the sights, the culture, learning another language?
Depending on what you had wanted to get, you can focus on one of the aspects below.
How much do you know about your home country? If you’re like me, you know all the cities and famous sights of Australia, Colombia, Thailand…., but have no idea what your own country has to offer. It always seemed so ‘boring’ and ‘unglamorous’ right? Maybe it’s time to change this perception. Head out and explore your local area. I had never paid much attention to the beautiful destinations that are just a few hours away from my hometown, thinking only mountains halfway across the world would be stunning and make me jump in awe. I was truly wrong here and have found some places that were just as exciting as others thousands of kilometers away.
The same goes for all these ‘adventurous activities’. Bungee jumping in New Zealand, Skydiving in South-Africa, rock-climbing in Canada? Look around in your area. Many activities that seem so special when we are abroad, actually exist ‘at home’ as well 😉
Learn how to cook dishes from another country
I know I could have written down ‘get Chinese take-out’ and be done with it. With many of us stuck at home and having rediscovered our dormant cooking skills, it might be time to step up to the next level. I had been feeling very ‘homesick’ for some good Japanese food the other day and realized how long it had been since I last had attempted to make anything. So I planned out my meal (rice and miso-glazed eggplant with ginger/soy-sauce tofu on the side), and even before I started cooking, I was flooded with memories of my time in Japan. It wasn’t so much as emotional nostalgia but rather these fond memories. That was a day that I somehow managed to travel to another place for a little.
Even if you haven’t been to the country which food you want to cook, the process of looking up recipes etc can put you into the right mood.
Find other resources of foreign countries.
Every time I put on my Brazilian music playlist, I’m taken back to the times when I was drinking caipirinha, spending my time at the beach, making loads of friends and practicing my Portuguese. Music has such a big power to take you back to when you were listening to it.
The same goes for movies and books. Find a French film, a Colombian telenovela, a book written by a Japanese author, and dive into this world.
Find native speakers of that foreign language to practice with. The small town I moved to (60,000 inhabitants) has a Facebook group of ‘Brazilians living in X city’. Can it get any more random than that? With the pandemic regulations loosening in many countries, you might have the chance to find ‘language meetings’, i.e. language cafés, tandems, … Happening again. Times like these can truly make you feel like you’re in a different world. You can always check couchsurfing, italki or other international forums and language learning platforms for native speakers in your country
Hit up your international friends over video chat!
I’m also incredibly grateful for technology these days. The number of Zoom meetings that I’ve been having with friends all over the world has been astonishing. It never hurts to text an old friend, maybe someone you met and you got along with well but haven’t spoken to in a while. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can reestablish a connection.
Last but not least: if the corona restrictions allow it, invite a friend from another city to come to visit you. I love showing my area to visitors as it’ll make me appreciate it so much more and look at it with new eyes. And don’t worry if you think there’s nothing majorly noteworthy. Sometimes the smallest places can bring out the right atmosphere if you share it with a person who is usually not there with you. The other day I visited my sister, and we went to a small Saturday market. It was one of my highlights to simply see where she goes to every week and which she enjoys so much. We got some yummy fruit and made breakfast on the balcony – true holiday feelings 🙂
Every time someone comes to visit me at the gorgeous Lake Constance, I’m reminded what a beautiful region I live in. Other people had warned me before that I would quickly forget about the lake’s existence and shockingly they were right! Visitors will be able to make you appreciate your own surroundings again more.
I know that this is not the same as traveling but I think it’s a good time to understand which aspects of traveling is important to us. Maybe it’s all of them but maybe we’re actually just wanting to add something to our life that will shake up the routine a bit!