As a travel writing professional, it might seem strange that I’d write a post about how to find wanderlust in everyday life. Yet, even travel writers can suffer from writer’s block and other struggles (read my last post). Plus, besides moving to the San Francisco Bay Area earlier this year, I really haven’t been traveling much at all. Besides a few trips back and forth to New York, I’ve mostly been in quiet Mountain View.
The strange thing though? I feel beyond excited about my upcoming trips. I’ve found that sometimes the best way to find wanderlust is having something to look forward to…and even if you don’t, there’s always something special about your own backyard. Here are five ways I’ve maintained my travel mentality even while staying in one place.
1) Do something new
As a newcomer to the West Coast, there’s definitely been an adjustment period. At first, things just annoyed me because I was comparing everything to New York and that’s just a losing battle. New York will probably always feel like home. That being said, I’ve really pushed my boundaries in terms of making friends and putting myself “out there” so to speak. From exploring new bike trails and attending off-beat yoga classes to hitting the road to Napa Valley and Sonoma, California feels like a whole new world (yes, I’m thinking of Aladdin here too)! My first two years in New York were full of adventures in and around the city and they are hands-down some of my most memorable.
2) Read Young Adult fiction
Books have always been an escape for me so why not incorporate a little fantasy into your own real-life adventure? Maybe that’s why I’ve been writing a young adult novel the past year. Anyway, for me, young adult fiction makes me excited for real-life destinations. I was in Bali when I found inspiration for my book and even though the world I created doesn’t technically exist, it was inspired by a slew of destinations. If young adult novels aren’t really your thing, then find the genre that captivates your imagination. Travel books are a great starting point and there are some fabulous magazine articles and short stories that have sparked my wanderlust over the years.
3) Go outside
Ok, #4 isn’t super original but it totally works. I think one of the reasons why I’ve been so happy in California the past few months is because it’s 70 degrees and sunny everyday. Coming from New York, I really appreciate that because I tend to become a hermit in winter. Regardless of what temperature it is in your city or town, find excuses to go outside. Whether it’s to walk the dog or pick up a cup of hot coffee, you’re mind will appreciate the momentary break from technology. If it’s too cold to dine outside, pick a spot by the window and people-watch. It’s hard not to smile when I see people holding hands or embracing in such a natural way, like nobody is watching (even though I am)!
4) Check out new photo exhibits
Not that I’m against following other bloggers and friends on their adventures across the globe…because I am and do…but if you start to feel yourself getting jealous or experience FOMA, then it might be time to switch to a photo exhibit. Even if you don’t live near a museum, there are a ton of amazing exhibits on the web. For me, I always like exhibits or photo series that somehow involve contrasting cultures. I saw one a few weeks ago that profiled what “beauty” is across multiple cultures and it was so interesting. Seeing all the colorful backdrops made me want to travel to all of these countries. In short, find photos that spark curiosity within you and make you want to be a better person.
5) Talk to people
As an introvert, this doesn’t always come naturally. However, as a traveler, it should and I try my best to find a balance between the two. Upon switching coasts and knowing only a handful of people in my new city, I made a big effort to meet new people and build friendships. During college it was so easy but in the real (adult) world, there are more factors at play like distance, schedules and significant others. When going outside your comfort zone and meeting new people, you actually learn a lot about the world. Even in the small town of Mountain View, I’ve met fascinating people from Guatemala, Ireland, Argentina and locals who have lived in the Bay Area most of their lives.
How do you find wanderlust in everyday life? Tell me in the comments below!
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