I have been feeling a little under the weather recently. No, I’ve not fallen victim to cold and flu season, rather I’ve developed a serious case of travel fever.
This time last year I had just quit my job as an office manager for a successful law firm, and was getting ready to embark on my first ever solo trip across New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Indonesia.
Fast forward twelve months later, and I can’t help feel a little bit flat that this is all over. The excitement of preparing to head off into the unknown completely by myself is a pretty addictive feeling. I have had a wonderful year filled with amazing adventures, new friends and experiences, and it’s quite difficult to reconcile that part of 2015 with the slightly lacklustre tail end I seem to be experiencing.
“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
With Christmas, and the new year, fast approaching, it’s increasingly difficult not to look back on all the great things that have happened during the past year. For me, 2015 has been a game changer. I have changed so much over the past twelve months: travelled to five countries solo, turned thirty, finally finished writing my novel and made the first attempt at achieving my career goals. I really hope to keep going with this positive attitude well into 2016.
But as I sit here, watching the dark night draw in (its 4 pm and it looks like the middle of the night) I can’t help but think back to long sun-filled days, glowing sunsets and sunrises, sandy beaches and days full of colour and new experiences, with a little bit of a pang. The wanderlust struggle is real, people, and its taking everything I have not to pack a bag, grab my passport and head off into the distance.
So how can we deal with these intense feelings of wanderlust?
How can we help ourselves when nothing seems to pacify the travel bug?
Is there a way to quell the sense of loss we experience when getting back to our normal routine? Do we even have to?
Here are a few ways you can incorporate the excitement of new experiences into your everyday lives:
Get out and explore your surroundings
I used to be a little frightened of heading out on my own. I’m a very sociable person and I like being with people. I would only travel with friends or as part of a couple. What would people think if they saw me alone sipping coffee or having a lunch in a café? How could I possibly navigate my way across the globe? I used to hide behind my computer or a book when left to my own devices, but now I am happy to just sit back and watch the world go by.
Solo travel went some way to change my outlook on this. That and what can only be described as an eternity of being a singleton, being comfortable with your own company becomes second nature. Swallow that fear and say goodbye to any embarrassment.
Take yourself out of your comfort zone.
Go experience a new part of your city or town.
Spend some time appreciating where you are from. If you look at the place with new eyes, it can often appear completely different.
Go Meet New People
Meeting new people sounds harder than it is. Talking to strangers and putting yourself out there seems to strike fear into even the bravest heart. I struggled with this for some time. As a person who once suffered with anxiety, I am proud that I can put myself out there and meet new people. Whether its dating someone new, plucking up the courage to ask for what you want, making new friends or simply asking a stranger for directions, it can seem a little daunting. So how do we get over this fear? Think back to how you were when you were a child? Could you approach that kid in the playground and ask them to play with you? Probably. Maybe it’s time we took a leaf out our younger self’s book and become a little braver. It’s OK to be disappointed. Ask someone out. Make new friends. It’s a great way of looking at your surroundings with new eyes or through the experiences and hobbies of a new person in your life.
Take a train or bus somewhere different
I am lucky enough to live in a city surrounded by beautiful places, all within decent travelling distance. The Yorkshire Moors, The Peak District, beautiful stately homes rich in history like Dunham Massey and Bramhall hall, and sprawling parks with public footpaths and truly stunning views like Lyme Park. Grab your walking boots and a friend and get exploring.
Start planning your next trip
If you’re slightly broke, like me, this might seem like a futile exercise. But it really isn’t. January sees a number of sales on flights and hotels that will start to make thinks seem a little more affordable and that next trip possible. There are a whole host of ways we can rebalance our budgets and free up some cash if we are willing. Coffee fan? Quit that morning latte habit and stash the cash in a pot somewhere. Drinker? Curb your wine enthusiasm for a month and watch the pennies stack up. Travelling need not be expensive, if you just know how to go about it. Look at sites such as Airbnb for rooms or even whole properties for rent at low prices. Check out the sales with travel companies like laterooms.com or Expedia – I pretty much used these exclusively when I travelled around Bali.
So in the spirit of making resolutions for the new year, take that wanderlust and turn it into something positive.
Do you have any tips for exploring your own town or city? How do you satisfy your wanderlust?