I feel like people who have truly caught the travel bug who aren’t currently travelling or living abroad (including me!) are often stuck in an awkward in-between place, like the place in between heaven and hell – limbo or purgatory. You are somewhat living in the past, reminiscing about the amazing times you had in some exotic place, you are looking at your old pictures, talking to friends you met in those places. Then you come back to reality and you are kind of like “how did I get back here”, “what am I doing with my life”, “I need to get back over to (insert name of a city you miss here)”. Then you start to dream about and maybe even plan a future trip. Then you start living for the future, focusing on saving money, imagining how wonderful it is going to be, counting down the days.
Then you kind of stop enjoying your actual life in the present because you are neglecting it to some degree. It is important to remember that the future isn’t guaranteed, you only have this moment and you can’t waste it! You don’t have to wait to travel abroad to enjoy some of the aspects of travelling, in fact, you can experience them from your home.
So, while I don’t have a cure for the travel bug (the only treatment is travel itself), I would suggest that you try to alleviate the symptoms with a combination of methods. Travel for me is kind of like an addiction and these are some of the ways I get a little hit from my home city, while I save money for future travels.
1. Watch foreign films & TV shows
For me watching foreign films and TV shows is the second next best thing to actually travelling itself. You can live vicariously through the characters and you get that sense of immersion in a foreign setting without actually being there. This is especially great if you are learning a foreign language.
If you currently reside in Australia, the TV channel SBS has a massive free library of foreign films and TV shows that you can stream online. Netflix also has a collection of foreign films (to be honest I haven’t watched many from there as I find movies on Netflix to be very much hit or miss, whereas 90% of the time I enjoy the films from SBS).
My favourite foreign film of all time is ‘Das Wilde Leben’ which is about the German sex symbol Uschi Obermeier.
2. Read a fictional book about travelling or one that is set in a foreign city
I am not a big reader and it usually takes me forever to get through a book. If you are a bookworm, this might be your best way to get your travel bug fix. I recommend this for similar reasons to why I recommend foreign films, mainly for that sense of immersion.
My favourite travel related fictional book of all time is ‘The Beach’ by Alex Garland. There is also a film based on this book which I also recommend.
3. Learn a foreign language
If you know me personally you will know that I have been (mostly) teaching myself German for years and on and off. I sometimes find this hard to do because I am in love with Germany (yep, I dropped the L-bomb) and speaking, reading, writing and hearing the language makes me miss it even more. This, however, is a very productive way to work through your travel bug because there are huge benefits of being fluent in a second language (that is a whole essay in itself). This will also help you prepare for future travels.
You can even make this a fun social real life experience by attending language events (Mundo Lingo), socialising with a native speaker in real life or online to practice or by going to a class.
4. Take a trip in your home country
If you live in a humongous country like Australia or the USA, there is always a place to go that you haven’t been before, whether it is within your own state or in another. Even if you live in a smaller country, it is unlikely that you have seen all of it.
Make a list of all the places you have been curious about or longing to visit in your state or country as a whole and make it your mission to visit some of those places! I have made myself multiple visual lists mainly for my home state (Victoria, Australia) and for other countries using the website Tripcipe which I find to be a handy tool.
Your trip doesn’t necessarily have to be super expensive either. My 3-day trip to Tasmania cost me around $600AUD for a 2.5 day tour and return flights from Melbourne to Hobart (not including the cost of the boat tour I did which was around $130AUD) which is fairly cheap.
You can do it for a lot cheaper than though. You can stay with family or friends, Couch-Surf, you can do a day trip, camp in free camping grounds (admittedly, these are harder to find these days) or stay in other cheap accommodation. Spend some time on some researching and work out the most cost-effective trips you can do and do them!
5. Start preparing for your next international trip
This is a tricky one because it can be super torturous especially if your trip is very far away. I personally find this difficult to do.
Long before I did my first overseas trip a few years ago I spent a lot of time absorbing all the information I could find about countries I was interested in visiting within Europe; on backpacking, packing and travel safety. Why not spend some time doing that for the country or countries you are planning on travelling to? Maybe you can put together some possible itineraries, packing lists, learn some safety advice for that country and work out how you can reduce your spending there. Maybe get your feet wet by watching some documentaries or travel vlogs about the place? Get prepared and get excited! And linking in with my above tips – why not watch a TV show or movie based in the country you are visiting or read a fictional book based on the place?
If you are super focused on saving money at all times like myself, you probably spend a lot of time sitting at home and trying to stick to mainly free or inexpensive activities. I just want to encourage you to try to enjoy the ride, even if it does come with some restrictions. Treating yourself once in a while might put a tiny dint in your savings but you also need to remember to enjoy your life in between your trips.
I hope you found this post to be interesting and somewhat helpful. If you have any tips on what you do to ride out the travel bug while you aren’t travelling please share them in the comments section below!