How to Feel Like You’re Traveling Even When You’re Not

how to feel like you're traveling even when you're not

This summer involved a few small trips, like driving a few hours for a weekend here and there, but mostly focused on our move from Tallahassee to Miami, Florida. That took up a huge amount of resources, especially the two most important ones for travel – time and money. Thinking about how to feel like we’re traveling when we weren’t was the only way to avoid being bummed out that our summer wasn’t filled with traveling like usual.

Through finding housing in Miami, moving a car-load full of things we won’t need in our Miami apartment to my parents’ home in Kentucky, packing up the rest of our belongings in Tallahassee, uHauling to Miami and settling in and starting new jobs, we really haven’t been able to even consider when we could take a big trip next.

Brickell Ave is our new home
Brickell Ave

It’s the first time in MONTHS that I have zero trips on the radar for a long while – and it’s odd. It just doesn’t feel right!

We are so excited to live in one of the most international cities in the world and to now have incredible access to the rest of the world with so many different options for flights out of Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

how to feel like you're traveling even when you can't
That being said, we’re both very new at our jobs and have to put in some time to establish ourselves as dedicated team members before taking off for 7-10 days on the next jetsetting adventure.

Even though this new chapter in Miami has been filled with excitement everyday, it still feels different than taking a trip somewhere. When traveling, your intentions are to explore everyday all day long without real life responsibilities, like buying furniture and getting your oil changed.

However, over the past few weeks I have had a realization that even when you can’t travel –   maybe you don’t have time off, you just did something very adult like buying a home, or you’re about to start another semester of law school – there are ways to keep the spirit of adventure in our everyday lives.

kayaking at the Wacissa River, very close to home
Kayaking at the Wacissa River in north FL

Being brand new to a huge city makes exploring a natural part of the daily routine, but I truly believe if you make an effort to stay curious, you will continue to grow and be enlightened, the best parts of being somewhere new, no matter if it’s in your hometown or across the globe.

I’m still going to be daydreaming of where to go next (as of now, our next big trip will be for Luke’s 30th birthday to Mallorca in April!), but until then, I am going to take on the challenge of still feeling like I’m traveling even when I can’t. You should, too!

Here’s how to feel like you’re traveling even when you’re not:

Book a day for yourself and fill it with activities

Downtown Louisville farmer's market
Exploring a local farmer’s market

I do this on every trip in order to get as much as I can out of the new city I’m visiting. I also just love being busy, and know many of you can relate to that. When I had a free Saturday in Tallahassee, sometimes Luke and I would come up with a whole day filled with things we’ve talked about doing for a while but hadn’t gotten to it. An example would be something like this:

  • try the French cafe we had always passed by and wanted to visit for breakfast
  • drive about an hour north to a surrounding small town, Thomasville, and peruse all of the antique and thrift shops
  • enjoy a late lunch at a famous lunch spot there, Jonahs, known for its incredible gourmet southern fare
  • return in the evening and take our puppy on a long walk in a neighborhood different than ours

Even though all of this was within an hour’s range of travel distance, it still just felt like a day that was completely unplugged from reality since we were just present in what we were doing. One activity after another just reminded me of what it felt like when we were spending a weekend in New York City, busy busy busy, or in Copenhagen, as we tried to see as much as possible in just a couple of days.

Book a day for yourself and fill it with nothing

relaxing day at home
As much as I love being on the go and doing it all, I am not above relaxing. I’m really bad at saying no, but it is critical if you ever want to have some time to sit down and do what you’d like to, like read a book you’ve been staring at that’s on your shelf for months or to go to a local park and people watch.

I find that when I am quiet, I am the most inspired by what’s happening around me. I’ll never forget a particular moment, sitting outside of the home of Victor Hugo’s home (the author of Les Miserables) in Paris in a beautifully quaint park on a bench. I had no phone access, and was by myself for just a few moments while Luke went off to pick up some bread and cheese. There is just something so refreshing about observing such normal things, like children playing on a playground and couples taking a stroll through their local garden.

Even if it takes you turning down a friend for brunch to spend some time relaxing, I think this is an invaluable part of travel that home life clutters up. Disconnecting and relaxing is something that requires effort, but is worth the pay off in the end.

Switch up your routine

Please and Thank you coffee shop in Louisville Kentucky
Trying out the “best chocolate chip cookie in Louisville”. It was.

Whenever I return from a trip, I always end up changing my daily routine. We all pick up things from other cultures that we like and bring back in our suitcases with us from all around the world. For example, I loved that our Airbnb host in Berlin, Elizabeth, would walk to her local bakery and pick up fresh bread every morning. I would think that it was so nice to just go say hello to the same people every morning, and likely not even have to ask for your order eventually. I admired that sense of community she had.

During the transition of our move, I was working remotely for my new job, and would go to the same coffee shop every morning and see the same baristas everyday. I would think of Elizabeth and her routine, and how this small new notion I had in my home area had made me feel so much like I was in Berlin.

Eat something you normally wouldn’t

Casablanca in Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale
Sangria for lunch? Sure!

This is one of my favorite parts about traveling – trying local cuisine. It’s so much fun to order something you didn’t even know was edible, like jelly fish or duck eggs. You don’t have to take it that far when you’re at home, but even just trying something that isn’t one of your normal dinner spots will make you feel a little spontaneous and like you’re experiencing something new.

If you don’t have a lot of options around you, you could even go so far as to order a different item off of a menu at one of your staple restaurants!

Do something on your own

how to feel like you're traveling even when you're not
Trying the juice bar right around the corner in Brickell

When I’m home, I love having the company of others to do simple daily things, whether that’s Luke or one of my friends. I just enjoy getting to talk and visit. But when I travel by myself I find that it puts me outside of my comfort zone a little bit.

There’s something empowering about doing something on your own that most people don’t do. I can’t put my finger on why that is. However, oftentimes when traveling, you don’t have oodles of friends and people around you to give them a call to head to Target with you. Waking up early and going on a walk, or going and enjoying a meal on your own mirrors that sense of being on your own that traveling gives you.

Chat with a stranger

Life is so busy, we oftentimes don’t even think to do this when we’re hustling and bustling to work and back. But when you’re on a relaxing trip, you’re not so much in a hurry. You can take the extra couple of minutes to ask the person next to you in the coffee shop or elevator how they are, or to ask the barista what their favorite things to do in the area are. Who knows, maybe they’ll tell you about something local you’ve never even heard of.

Consider becoming a host – or just have visitors

I absolutely love having company and visitors, whether it’s friends coming for a weekend or just somebody stopping through town on their way to another city. I love getting to set up a guest bedroom and make it super cozy, cooking meals for guests, and taking them to my favorite local spots. I used to have a set itinerary for guests when I lived in Washington, D.C. And after every weekend of visitors, I always felt like I had learned so much more about my own surroundings.

I haven’t done this personally, but hosting couch surfers or becoming an Airbnb host could be a great way to feel like you’re traveling even when you’re not because at least you’d be talking about traveling, and having the same mindset as when you are staying somewhere new. You’re just on the opposite side of things as a host.

Walk instead of take your car

Coming back from a trip in a big city, like San Diego or Beijing, it always felt so weird to get in my car and start driving. I would soon realize that I hadn’t been in a car for days!

I love being able to walk from place to place in a big city. Something I started doing in Tallahassee after one of these trips was to park farther away from my office and create a 10 minute walk for myself. It just gave me a chance to put on headphones, be active for a little bit, and then start my day. It was such a small change, but it did emulate that feeling of just walking as transportation, something I wasn’t used to doing in my home town.

Participate in your own local culture

It’s easy to see a local event pop up on your Facebook feed and shrug it off. But if you’ve got the travel bug and you’re not able to travel anytime soon, why not just make the extra effort to go? It will be a new experience, and you may learn a thing or two if it’s about culture, music, or maybe even meet some new people.

You could also do something like a cooking class, a wine tasting, or gardening class. Basically, if you are continuing to grow in your own culture, it will feel similar to learning something new. You are learning. Period.

Take photos of your home surroundings

backyard at home in Kentucky
The backyard at home in Kentucky

Sometimes I forget to appreciate where I live. I take pictures like crazy when I’m elsewhere, seeing some new beautiful architecture or design of a cafe. Maybe you won’t always be where you live someday, and you won’t be seeing the same beautiful things as you’re used to.

Taking pictures will help you capture your present moments, and will help you to see a new perspective on your familiar surroundings. You may even appreciate it more.

Remember a style you’ve seen on your travels and sport it

How to Feel Like You're Traveling
Had never tried out a blanket scarf until Berlin!

I absolutely love how people dress in Europe. Dark and neutral colors, chic leather jackets in the winter, scarves of unique fabrics and textures. Simple makeup yet bold lip colors. To me, it is a treat when we go to Europe that it feels like it is appropriate to dress up for any occasion.

I like to remember the aspects of other cultures tastes and styles and apply that in my own life here. It makes getting dressed feel a little more special.

What are your tips for feeling like you’re traveling even when you can’t?