You get stuck at home.
And I don’t mean only those times when you aren’t allowed to leave your house (er – we all know what I’m talking about, right? Dark Ages and all that. Wait, or is it 2020?).
Nope, it can be something else – perhaps your piggy bank is empty (Yikes…), you’ve run out of your vacation days (Jeez, I’m an expert in that!) maybe you’re taking care of sick loved ones, starting a new business and can’t afford to not be around… The bottom line, you’re stuck at home.
So, what to do to fuel your wanderlust when you can’t travel?
I remember Bojan once said to me: “I understand you love traveling, but it doesn’t make sense to just sit around and wait for the next trip to happen – you gotta live in between!”
So, I took his advice seriously back then. Not sure though if it’s what he had in mind – but I wrote down a few ideas on how to travel from home and started to implement them in between our travels.
See what I did here? He can’t say that now that I’m just waiting for the next trip to happen, and I still get to do travel-related things to fuel my wanderlust. *patting myself on the back once again*
Now, these aren’t just ideas for armchair travel (You’ll have to move your pretty little bum for some of them) but you can realize most of them without as much as leaving your doorstep – thumbs up to travel without leaving home!
27 ways to fuel your wanderlust when you can’t travel
1. BROWSE THROUGH MEMORIES
I myself have been doing this a lot lately! I mean, what’s not to love about browsing through old photos or reading travel journals? You might be surprised how quickly we forget certain moments or how things made us feel (.
Make yourself a cup of coffee (or pour a glass of wine, no judging here) and re-live your favorite travel moments. Ahem, if you end up planning another visit to that country, don’t blame me.
Nope, I wouldn’t mind going back. Like, tomorrow.
2. ARRANGE YOUR TRAVEL JOURNALS
Do you travel journals? Now, be honest with me – are they laying around somewhere at the bottom of the closet or are scattered around the house?
Use the time when you’re home (that is, when you finish re-reading them) and give them some love – wrap them in travel-themed paper (it can be DIY) – this way you’ll protect them AND you’ll know immediately what country your journal is from.
And yes, find a place for them and keep them together!
Don’t write in a travel journal yet? If you’re blogging, I can tell you this will help you a lot later when drafting out articles. But even if you’re not a blogger – did idea no. 1 not convince you?
3. BACKUP YOUR PHOTOS
So, thanks to technology we don’t need to press that button on a camera and impatiently wait until we return home, run to the photo studio and get those 36 pictures (while being petrified by the idea that perhaps the cute guy from a summer camp will be only an unrecognizable blur in the photo).
But what’s not great? Having 3000 photos from a two-week trip in Greece, waiting in the folder on a desktop/hard drive with tens of thousands of other photos. What if your computer crashes down? Or your hard disk falls on the floor (ok, you can always get a case for it, but it’s not 100% guarantee that it will help)?
Btw, been there, done that. Both, to be precise.
So, take time to nicely organize your photos and then make a backup or two – it can be another hard drive (we use WD), or even better – upload them to a Cloud. Nope, when the sun shines this cloud won’t disappear, this I can guarantee.
4. CREATE A PHOTOBOOK (ALBUM) OR A SCRAPBOOK
While you’re at it organizing photos, why not pick your favorite ones ( I knooow, it’s impossible to decide which ones those are, but a word of advice here – don’t complicate too much) and print them out (or order photo prints online). Make a good, old-school album (like this one)! Well, or a photobook, if you’re more into modern stuff. 😊
Or you can go a step further – do you collect postcards, entrance or plane tickets while traveling? Make a scrapbook with witty comments, drawings, photos – that’s an amazing way to fuel your wanderlust right from the armchair.
5. WATCH A TRAVEL-RELATED MOVIE / SERIES / DOCUMENTARY
Ok, that’s a classic one – if a picture tells a thousand words, then “moving pictures” tell a billion.
Whether you’re binge-watching a series on Netflix, downloading movies from Jack-Sparrow-related-place (ehm) or watching documentaries on National Geographic – if you love traveling, this is doubtlessly a great way to make most of traveling without leaving home.
Er – since we returned from a year-long journey honeymoon, we’re binge-watching all Netflix series that are in Spanish – we’re familiar with all the narcotraficante-tricks, can recite important historical events in drug wars in chronological order and know the name of at least two cousins from the biggest drug kingpins (we can’t go wrong with Maria!). Not that we enjoy watching violence or the white-pow industry – but having been surrounded with Spanish on a daily basis for 10 months, that Latin buzzing in the background and occasional “maldita perra” yelling feels kinda comforting. Can’t help myself, I’m a sucker for Spanish.
So, several ideas for you:
Netflix series: Narcos & Narcos Mexico (I mean, I’ve just written a whole paragraph about them?! These aren’t about travel, obviously, but all the music, parties and landscape will make you wanna visit those countries despite everything you’ll see).
Are you an adrenaline junkie? On Red Bull TV you’ll find many episodes about rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing, windsurfing, etc. … at epic destinations around the world. Yeah, I have to turn it off sometimes because I can see Bojan plotting new adventures (which results in buying tons of new sports gear) and I clearly don’t wanna go bankrupt.
Otherwise, you can hop to our Pinterest to find hundreds (literally) of ideas!
6. READ TRAVEL-INSPIRED BOOKS
While one prefers videos, the other is a bookworm. Guess who is who? 😉
Reading travel-related books will transport you to a whole different dimension, awaken your desire to explore distant corners of our Earth or will simply help you escape “a reality” and disconnect for a while.
Reading is as close as you can get to travel from the comfort of your couch and it’s a first-class recipe to fuel your wanderlust while you’re stuck at home.
Some of my favorite travel-related books:
Motorcycle Diaries (E. Che Guevara) – yep, it’s a book as well and a great one!
Eat, Pray, Love (E. Gilbert) (also a book!)
7. COOK AN INTERNATIONAL DISH
I was talking about recipes, right? Ok, now time for the real ones!
Just imagine – the smell of Indian curry cooking on the stove, the first bite of a crunchy taco, the sweet taste of macarons which feels like you’ve immersed yourself in a cloud of happiness….Ok, I’m outta here now! *getting her apron on*
Even if you aren’t an excellent cook, don’t be afraid to try something new – in worst case scenario you’ll just throw it away and repeat the exercise. In many cases you don’t need any fancy ingredients or the secret is in spices. Play around and make your own version of the recipe! Well, but if you prefer cookbooks, then I’d start with this one.
8. MAKE A COCKTAIL!
If that’s not a way to get yourself in a vacay mode than I don’t know what is!
You can get a cocktail recipe book or find a recipe for the cocktail you want online.
Are you into Mexican rhythms? Siii?! Time for the margarita!
What about the Brazilian atmosphere? Caipirinha then!
Our van was named after Chilean/Peruvian national liquor – Pisco of course! Make a Pisco Sour cocktail, but stick with one or two – this stuff is strong AF and “guilty” for some of the worst hangovers I’ve ever had. Ooops. 😀
If you’re not into cocktails, pour yourself a glass of Argentinian Malbec, Portuguese Porto or Italian Chianti. Dreaming about countryside walks around Champagné? Ok, I think you got the answer.
*opens a bottle of wine while making a Cuba Libre*
Psst, one serious thing though: Excessive drinking is not good for your health! Emphasis on excessive. 😉
If you don’t drink alcohol due to religious/other reasons, you can always make alcohol-free cocktails!
9. DECORATE YOUR PLACE
If you’re surrounded with travel-themed items in your home, they’re gonna fuel your wanderlust 24/7. Ok, exaggerating. But every time you look at them sounds quite right.
Besides, re-decorating now and then is kinda sorta like soul-cleaning, isn’t it? So, bring some freshness into your home in the form of travel-themed décor.
You’re wondering what to get? Here are some ideas:
…or you can save the budget and go DIY!
What about if you draw a world map on the wall and lines leading to photo frames with your pictures from that place?
Where do you keep your magnets? On a fridge, or even worse – unwrapped in a shoebox? Get a magnet board, arrange them nicely, make a frame – and ta-da! – you got yourself an awesome DIY travel-themed wall décor!
Browse through your souvenirs as well. Perhaps you’ll find a dusty box with a waterpipe from Iran in it in your attic, who knows? Nope, surely not me, ah-ah. On a completely non-related note – spring is here – relaxing evening on the patio, anybody? 😛
10. ORGANIZE YOUR TRAVEL GEAR
Has it ever happened to you that you were last-minute packing for your trip and you were hectically running around your house, gathering all the stuff and losing your mind because you were sure AF that you had seen your GoPro in the living room just yesterday but now it’s not there?!
(*raises both hands sheepishly*)
So, here’s the thing. It doesn’t have to be this way. I know, what a surprise, right?
With a lot of time on your hands being at home, stretch that redecorating-house-session to organize-your-gear session. Make a room for all the gear, get storage boxes and arrange your stuff in a way that you’ll actually be able to find it immediately next time.
Is there anything else you wished you’d had with you the last time you were traveling? Like, perhaps a dry bag, better headphones or a tripod? Now it’s time to buy them.
11. CATCH A SUNRISE /SUNSET AT HOME
Remember how we’re all obsessively waking up at 4 am in the morning to catch the sunrise behind that famous temple or trying to elbow our way to the perfect spot on a beach for a stunning sunset photo?
(I may not be the best representative since I oversleep most sunrises and as an introvert can’t take pictures with too many people around, but er – you get the idea.)
Well, why shouldn’t we do this at home as well? It doesn’t matter if it’s your balcony, a nearby hill or a mountain in your country – watching the world wake up or go to sleep will be equally dreamy from anywhere in the world.
Besides, how many of you can raise your hand if I ask if you strolled the streets of your town in the early morning light and try to work that “golden hour”?!
I thought so.
12. IMPROVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS!
While we’re at taking photos – why not get better at this?
It’s true, all photos will bring back amazing memories, no matter how good they are – it’s all about moments after all. But I’m willing to bet the effect will be even better if the photo is so clear that you’ll know where it was taken, if you don’t cut somebody’s ankles (or head) out of the photo and if you know a thing or two about composition.
You can find loads of videos on YouTube (I love Peter McKinnon’s videos for instance), that will help you improve your photography and editing skills, or you can take a look at Skillshare and find something for yourself.
13. READ A TRAVEL BLOG
If you prefer opening new tabs in Windows over turning pages in books, travel blogs are a great idea to fuel your wanderlust from home.
I’m gonna shamelessly invite you to read our blog (AND low-key stalk us everywhere!), but hey – there are hundreds of thousands of them out there. Ok, that’s not reassuring, I’m just gonna put that thought away. #dontcompareyourselftoothersandallthat
Anyhow, joke aside (was it?) – with an abundance of blogs out there (here I go again) – you’ll be able to travel from home… er – for an eternity? Or at least until your next trip. 😊
Plus, travel blogs are full of useful info that will come in handy when you’re finally able to travel.
14. PLAY BOARD GAMES OR DO PUZZLES
Board games with a touch of travel? Yes, this exists too! Everyone probably knows the strategy game Risk, right?
Then there’s this board game called Istanbul, where you collect rubles at the Istanbul bazaar or a Ticket to Ride where you set up your own rail network in Europe, different editions of Monopoly (i.e. Monopoly National Parks, Monopoly Aspen, etc.), …
And what about a board game called Pandemic where you try to stop spreading of the deadly virus around the world? I swear, I’m talking about a board game and not 2020. 😀
Grab a drink and prepare yourself for a night of fun!
Enjoy solo activities? Travel puzzles it is then!
15. GO TO A VIRTUAL MUSEUM / SIGHTSEEING TOUR
In recent weeks, the popularity of virtual travel has grown tremendously due to the you-know-what and there are more and more museums and sights around the world that provide virtual reality tours. How cool is that?!
Those sights actually look pretty realistic and once you travel there in real life you’ll already know your way around and you’ll be first at the best spots! How about that, huh? 😀
So, I’m traveling to Peru today, what about you?
Besides virtual tours, there’s always Google Street Traveling! Like my friend said: “You just plop that little man down on some random street in South Africa and BAM!” She knows how to party! 😉
16. LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
Well, learn… at least you can start learning it!
We have a saying in Slovenian that roughly translates into “the more languages you speak, the bigger your worth is”.
Now, I see you getting all excited, so calm down for a second – this does not mean that if you learn to speak six languages, offers for 6-figure-jobs will start raining down at you.
But if you at least learn some basics, your travels will get exponentially more rewarding. The locals will immediately treat you differently – going from “Oh, another ignorant tourist” to “Hey, this one is really trying” in the span of a few words.
And if you manage to learn the language to the point where you can participate in a simple conversation (with the help of enthusiastic waving of your hands and your pantomime skills acquired by countless hours of playing Activity), you’ll experience the country in a completely new way.
Which languages to learn?
Knowing English is taken for granted anyway (ok, French don’t get this somehow, but don’t have time and energy to go into this).
Apart from English, it is very useful to know Spanish (which is quite an easy language to learn, plus there’s no shortage of Spanish soap operas out there). Imagine, knowing just one language and you can understand everyone from Mexico to Argentina (even Brazilians, since with knowledge of Spanish you’ll understand some Portuguese as well)! Oh wait – well, if you’re from the USA, that may not sound so special to you, but coming from Europe where everybody speaks a different language, that’s like an uber-awesome thing.
Knowing to speak Russian you’ll be able to get by in most of Central Asia and Indonesia is enormous, so knowing some basics is useful as well.
Hey, basic knowledge of Turkish allowed me to communicate in Iran even though they basically speak a different language….
Hey, what about if I invite you to learn Slovenian? 😃
Yep, I can hear you cracking up with laughter now, especially if you Googled Slovenia and realized it has 2m inhabitants only. But guess what? Our language has Slavic roots and even though people from Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovakia, Poland (all Slavic countries, basically) claim they can’t understand us, we’re somehow able to (at least partially) understand them. That’s kind of fun if you’re into eavesdropping. Traveling, I meant traveling.
Learning new languages is not only a way to enhance your travels, but it is a great idea for a new hobby that will keep you connected to traveling and train your brain at the same time.
17. GET A COLORING BOOK
Do you know that coloring is proven to be soothing? Well, incorporate travel into this – buy a coloring book for adults with travel motifs and fuel your wanderlust one picture at a time (the one from Lonely Planet or City maps for example).
(By the way, this can also be a great idea for gifts for travelers)
18. GET ARTISTIC!
A step beyond coloring? Drawing or painting! Choose some of your favorite photos from your travels, channel your inner artist and get to work.
There are many techniques available – draw a sketch, use watercolors, maybe even carve a picture in wood (or if you are at least slightly talented you can even make a relief picture).
It’s relaxing, it enables you to travel right from your couch and your finished product can be a great addition to your home décor.
19. LEARN A NEW DANCE
Another great way to travel when you’re stuck at home!
The temperamental rhythms of Latin-American dances will quickly awaken the cells in your body and with a little imagination, you can swing in the tango rhythms all the way to Argentina, indulge in wild rolling of your hips during Brazilian samba, or dance your night away to the sounds of Cuban salsa (we actually took lessons in Trinidad!).
Of course, you have other (less sexy but equally cool) options as well – like, what do you say about Irish dance?
20. MAKE A PLAYLIST
What’s your favorite music?
For example – all my favorite bands are rock bands, but still, my butt starts to shake involuntarily at the first sounds of Latin music. My friends call this “Sandra’s-latin-chakra-opening-moments”. Well, as long as music gets me into a better mood and (mentally) transports me to the streets of Puerto Rico (not that I’ve been there yet, but I’ve listened to La Gozadera too many times and I can’t even pronounce Puerto Rico without starting to sing that song).
Think about what kind of music attracts you – maybe it’s meditation music from a temple in Asia, Arabic sounds, jazz from New Orleans, mariachi from Mexico (where’s my tequila, it’s time for la fiestaaa!) etc. – make your favorite playlist on Spotify and save it for those “rainy days” when you’re stuck at home.
21. START A GARDEN OR CREATE AN “URBAN JUNGLE”
Wait, what? Yep, I meant what I said – start a garden.
Now, you don’t have to get all crazy and take over two thirds of your grandma’s field (she won’t be impressed, I guarantee you), but you can start with making a flowerbed or a garden box (which can fit onto your balcony as well).
What does all this have to do with traveling from home? Wait, I’m getting there.
We talked about making international dishes before, right? Well, go and plant your favorite spices (i.e. cilantro/coriander for tacos, basil for pasta, mint for mojito, etc) – this way you’ll always have fresh ingredients for your favorite dishes and they will taste even more authentic!
However, if you have your own (huge yard), you can really go a step further (no, I don’t see myself getting in that direction, like, ever – but it’s an idea that counts) – what if you design a destination-related garden, like Tuscan, Japanese or English garden? Now, that’s a great way to teleport yourself far away without even leaving your yard.
Don’t have a yard or a balcony? No problem, spices can be easily grown on a window shelf (or like this!) and you can use plants as a part of home décor – buy a few bigger cactuses (for an extra Mexican vibe there should be an obligatory little sombrero on a top of them) or join the latest fashion and create an urban jungle in your living room with the help of huge tropical pot plants.
A confession from a person who has managed to keep a basil plant alive for two weeks top (and that was the only plant she ever managed to keep alive):
I’m quite proud of Bojan’s little project – two homegrown avocado plants. It’s true they look slightly hopeless and getting brown at the edges. It’s also true that there’s perhaps a 0.2% probability that they will bear those guacamole-inducing fruits within ten years. So, ten points for him for trying despite being doomed from the beginning. 😀
22. LEARN SOMETHING NEW FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES
Another great idea on how to travel from home and another great idea for a new hobby.
What caught your attention during your last travel? The beautiful inscription on Turkish tiles perhaps? Then you can start learning calligraphy!
Does your mouth water upon mentioning sushi? Why not get the equipment and learn how to make it at home?
Did colorful tropical fish during snorkeling fish really impress you? Maybe it’s time for a diving course! (yes, they can be done at local diving centers as well).
Did wandering around India made you fall in love with yoga? Then you can supplement that one hour of yoga a week by learning a little more about the history of this several-thousand-year old practice!
Were you fascinated by feng shui in Japan? Huh, maybe your next summer project could be to feng shui your living room.
23. START SAVING MONEY
Ok, that may not be the most fun “travel from home” activity, but it’s surely a useful one, especially if you’re stuck at home because your bank account is as dry as the Sahara desert.
Now it’s time you make a plan! Make a goal – how much do you want to save for traveling each month/in a year (please, stay realistic, a number bigger than your yearly income may just not cut it).
Then review all streams of your income and start tracking your EVERY expense. Yes, every. It’s as tedious as it sounds at the beginning, but after some time it comes as naturally as brushing your teeth before going to bed (I do hope this comes naturally to you, that is).
At the end of the first month review your expenses and check if you’re on track with savings. If not – well, you know what’s your job? To check where you’ll have to tighten your belt next month.
It’s not that much fun saying no to yet another dinner in your favorite restaurant – but it will be worth it. And filling up your piggy bank and knowing you’ll be able to travel soon is a satisfactory way to fuel your wanderlust!
24. MAKE YOUR BUCKET LIST
Already have a list of things you want to see, try and experience in your life?
No? Then what are you waiting for, make it now – just writing down those places and activities will fuel your wanderlust. And, it is a special feeling every time you tick something off your bucket list.
But beware, the more you travel, the longer the bucket list is usually getting – there’s some kind of weird math involved in this. 😉
25. MAKE INSPIRATION BOARDS ON PINTEREST
If you use Pinterest, you can also take advantage of your free time at home to create inspiration boards for your future travels.
What can you put on those boards? Anything connected to traveling, basically. You can have a board for your bucket list of adventures, for itineraries, the food you want to try when traveling, the most beautiful beaches, interesting ruins, the best travel gear,… whatever comes to your mind.
Pinterest is great for inspiration and besides, once you get down to planning, you’ll already have everything in one place!
Have you already checked our Pinterest? Sure, you can follow us as well, you’re more than welcome. 😀
26. PLAN YOUR FUTURE TRAVELS
“Planning is half the fun!” cheerfully claims Bojan every single time… and then the day before we’re about to leave, he asks: “Hey, did we book a place to stay? What are we going to do there?”
Well, while I am not the biggest planning expert myself, the improvement after a year of travel is quite significant and now I enjoy planning much more than before. But I still prefer to make detailed guides AFTERWARDS – for you, dear readers. Because, you know – only then do I know everything firsthand! 😊).
But it’s nice to have at least something planned out – and when is the best time for planning your next adventures if not when stuck at home?
27. EXPLORE YOUR TOWN/COUNTRY
Last but not least – important and many times overlooked – explore what’s right around the corner!
I understand – you are really into foreign cultures, dreamy beaches with palm trees, snowy Andean peaks, Norwegian fjords, African deserts, …. (ok, I’ll stop before I’m carried away) – yes, I understand you, absolutely.
But what about your home or country? I’m sure there’s plenty of things to see and explore – all you have to do is to put yourself in the shoes of a tourist and you’re good to go!
A few weeks ago, Bojan and I went on a day trip from Ljubljana – and we took side roads instead of a highway. The goal? To visit ruins and castles along the way. Well, we realized we’d need more days since there are so many!
And we didn’t even tour any of those ruins/castles, we just walked up to them/around them. And we had homemade sandwiches and two beers with us, so this was an extremely budget-friendly trip. But sitting on the top of the hill with sandwiches in our hands, a castle behind us and a view over the valley in front of us – it was exactly the same feeling as when exploring some Mayan ruins at the other end of the Blue Marble.
So, pack your bag, take your camera and set out to explore your backyard (don’t go too literal here though) – that’s the best way to fuel your wanderlust and it surely falls into the category of travel, despite not going far at all!
I’m sure there are many more ways to fuel your wanderlust from home – in fact, if you have some, write them in the comments, we’d be more than happy to try them out!
And don’t forget to save this pin for those times when travel without leaving home is your only option! 😊