Most of us dream of traveling far more than we actually get to do it. Sometimes a nice afternoon daydream is as far as we want to take it, because the reality of a trip can be exhausting, especially if we’re having an eventful phase of life near home that we want to be present for. Other times, though, we’re legitimately longing to get away and are so irritated by all that lame life/jobs/bills/chores nonsense. Sigh. It’s easy to think that travel is for other people — those with more money or time than you, maybe — but there are plenty of simple ways to make travel more accessible in your everyday life.
1. Take day trips! They’re an affordable, time-efficient way to explore somewhere new for a few hours without going through airport security.
2. Re-prioritize your finances. It’s easy to assume you can’t afford to travel, because who has random lump sums of money laying around unless they actively planned to set it aside? What you spend each month on green juice or happy hours could easily be the cost of a plane ticket. Budgeting sucks, but it can help you prove to yourself that you technically can afford to travel if you’re willing to make trade-offs. While there certainly are people with tons of time and trust funds to spend screwing around across Europe for years without ever working, most people who’ve seen a lot of the world are no different than anyone else — they just shifted their goals around a bit differently.
3. Spend your extra money on experiences instead of things. Even if it’s just in your hometown, doing an activity with your money instead of buying a new purse with it sort of allows you to buy fun and have an enjoyable experience to break up the grind of your everyday life. If you’re looking to start saving for a big vacation, see the rewards of spending on smaller experiences will remind you why it’s worth it to keep stashing money away.
4. Work while you travel. If money is your biggest barrier, consider working abroad. While visa issues and other logistics can vary, earning cash away from home is extremely doable. Consider taking on a gig as an au pair, hostel concierge, farm worker, or cruise ship employee.
5. Explore new parts of your home. Look at a traveler’s guide or map of the region near your hometown. Even if it’s the tiniest town in the world, you’re likely to stumble on something you’d always overlooked. Go on mini exploration jaunts to these new parts of own, or try even simple things like taking different routes on your commute to look at your home with a new set of eyes. Consider the things you love most about the area, and re-discover them, paying close attention to their spectacular details.
6. Cook an international dish you’ve never tried before. Exposure to culture and delicious food porn. Everyone wins.
7. Find an engaging side hustle. It’s another way to earn extra money to take a trip, and it’s a great way to discover other passions and talents outside your job that you never knew you had.
8. Take more long weekends! Three days to a new city in your home country is a lot easier to swing than two weeks on the other side of the world. It can be a great way to give yourself something to look forward to without the expense and hassle of a longer trip.
9. Keep your mind open. Most of the thoughts we have today are the same thoughts we had yesterday and the day before, on a loop. That’s just how our brains work, and being aware of this can serve as a reminder that amazing things could be right in front of our eyes, unseen because we’re so stuck in our own routines. Look for opportunities everywhere you go, and say “yes” to surprise experiences. Sometimes, the sense of adventure we love from travel can exist in everyday life if we’re willing to see it.
10. Heighten your sense of awareness. One of the reasons we love travel is the rush of novelty we feel when exploring someplace new, as if the volume is suddenly turned up on our senses. All the foreign sights and smells and sounds are richer than ever. The details that give visitors the greatest fascination and excitement are often everyday mundanities to locals. In some ways, we can replicate that thrill in our own everyday life by practicing a sense of presence and appreciation. Finding excitement in the small joys in our lives and focusing on what’s in front of us rather than our worries takes mental practice, but it can make life in our hometowns so much more satisfying. Try to randomly shake up your everyday life now and then by striking up conversations with new people, trying new foods or doing an activity you’ve never done before – it sounds like the kind of thing you might tell a five-year-old, but think of how rarely we actually do this! When we re-examine our rigid routines and see they’re not so stifling after all, we can create a mini mental vacation wherever we are.
Original by Claire Hannum