10 Ways to Feel Like a Traveler When You Just Can’t Travel

I know every super amazing travel blogger, vlogger and other-er will tell you that it’s always the right time to travel. If you’re like me, you might have some other things you want to take care of before taking off. Here are ten things you can do to hold you over until your next big adventure.

10 Ways to Feel Like a Traveler When You Can't Travel

Study a new language
Join a Meetup group. Create a Duolingo account. Download a language learning app. Search Craigslist for a language exchange partner. Learning a new language expands your mind and your interests, and it may just prepare you for your next trip!

Attend a cultural celebration or festival
If you’re in a larger city, you’ll likely find a variety of cultural festivities throughout the year. Do a quick search on Google to see what’s happening in your area. Learn more about the history of these celebrations. Ask questions.

Visit a museum
Many cities have entire museums dedicated to the art and history of different cultures. Make a visit and be inspired by the artwork, historical advances, migration patterns and more. You’ll have more appreciation for other cultures and places if you’re armed with a little background information.

Join a local Couchsurfing group
Once you’ve created a Couchsurfing account, you can join local Couchsurfing groups. There are groups in different cities all over the world, and if you don’t see one near you, you can start one. Plan monthly meetups and get to know both travelers and locals. It’s a great way to make new friends and gain some inspiration for future travels. I met people from Colombia, Mexico, India and Sudan at my last meetup.

Offer up your home
Similarly, you can share your space by becoming a Couchsurfing host. It’s a great way to meet travelers from all over the world if you’re comfortable with the arrangement.

Eat adventurously 
Seek out new restaurants that offer up authentic food from around the world. Hint: They’re often small restaurants, so you may have to do a little more research. A quick internet search should help you find what cultures are more prevalent in your area. For example, Dallas has some amazing and authentic Korean restaurants and karaoke places. Going is a real adventure!

Cook AND eat adventurously
If you’re trying to save your pennies (for travel, duh), take to Google or Pinterest and search for traditional (insert country here) dishes. You can cook for yourself, invite friends over or even plan an international potluck. Ask that everyone bring a traditional food or beverage from the country of your choice, and you can make a monthly event out of it.

Attend a lecture 
Museums, libraries, cultural centers and universities are a great place to start. Check local calendars and event listings for upcoming events. You never know what you’ll find, or what may inspire you. Authors, actors, industry leaders, photographers- the list goes on. Universities with a large number of international students and those with strong international studies departments often have great lectures.

Take a class
Have you ever thought about auditing a university class? There’s generally a small fee, but you’ll actually get to enjoy learning without focusing on a grade. Study international business, African culture, Asian art and more. Or, skip the university and take a photography class to improve your travel photos. If you have a photography center near you, see if they offer travel photography classes.

Movie night
Watch a foreign film at home, or see if there’s anything interesting playing at an indie theater near you. You can also look to see if your community has some kind of foreign film theater. For example, Richardson, which is a suburb of Dallas, has FunAsia. FunAsia plays Bollywood films. And if all else fails, watch away your wanderlust on Netflix.

How do you stay motivated until your next trip?

Netflix Documentaries for the Globally Minded

Since avoiding cable is one of my favorite ways to save money, Netflix is responsible for the majority of the time I spend in front of my TV. Around Christmas, I knocked out every single mountaineering-related documentary I could find.

Since then, I’ve become obsessed (as time allows) with finding similarly adventurous and educational movies and documentaries. My cousin and I started swapping recommendations and it was all over! Here are my most recent faves.

Maidentrip- Released 2014

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Maidentrip follows the journey of 14-year old Paula Dekker as she attempts to reach her goal of sailing around the world alone (with stops). I remember hearing about her on the news, and was so excited to see this hit Netflix! I thought it might get boring, but you really see her story developing as filming goes along. You see her grow up while she goes through the highs and lows of bad weather, feeling lonely and eventually feeling very independent.

Final thoughts during credits: I wonder what I’m capable of…

True Cost- Released 2015

True Costsource

Much less inspirational and far more depressing, True Cost is about the impact the fashion industry is having on our world, especially people. I would consider myself the least fashionable person I know, so I wasn’t familiar with the term fast fashion. We hear about sweatshops and unfair wages fairly often, but this film drops you right in the middle of it, then slaps you across the face… I think it’s something every single person should watch.

Final thoughts during credits: I feel great about having no fashion sense! I feel bad about shopping at H&M. *Googles fair trade fashion*

What can you do? First, watch the documentary if you haven’t already. Second, check out the True Cost website and see what you can do to help. Third, find more responsible clothing companies and quit buying crap you don’t need.

Living on One Dollar- Released 2013

living on one dolalrsource

Another educational watch that just makes me want to travel, hug people and give them everything I have, Living on One Dollar follows four friends attempting to live on $1 a day in a rural area of Guatemala. I enjoyed the film, but at the same time it left me thinking…”Wow, how privileged you have to be able to CHOOSE to live on so little.” I learned a lot about the industries there, getting a loan to start your own business there, the crops, what people do for work and how grateful they are for what they do have.

Final thoughts during credits: What can I do about this?

What can you do? The Living on One website has some resources.

So, what about you? Any Netflix documentaries or movies I need to check out?

Technology Thoughts Upon Returning From Camp Grounded

“Why is everyone always on their dang phone?!?!?!?”

cell line

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In all seriousness, that was my first thought upon re-entering the real world after leaving camp. Most of us didn’t want any of our technology (phones, digital cameras, watches, etc.) back, and the majority of my bus didn’t turn their phones on except to let people know they were on their way back to San Francisco.

Since returning, I’ve been run into at a movie theater by another movie-goer looking down at their phone. I’ve witnessed a near miss car accident because one driver was on their phone. I watched a family at the airport- Dad on phone, Mom playing game on phone and child sitting alone. While all of these situations made me feel a little irritated, they also made me feel sad.

Camp Grounded was a reminder that our phones are a crutch, a huuuuge crutch. We use them when we’re uncomfortable, bored, alone and more. We (ironically) talk to each other less because text and Facebook are easier. We have less opportunities to connect with strangers around us face-to-face. There is no doubt technology has amazing benefits. In many ways it actually helps us connect with people we never would (hello blog readers!), but it shouldn’t always be our go-to, and I’m doing my best to live each day with that in mind.

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Hostel breakfast with new friends pre-iPhone days

My friend Kayla picked me up at the airport and I told her about everything. She has been more than supportive of my technology decisions since returning, even following a few herself. All that said, here are the decisions/goals I wrote for myself on the plane ride home.

  • Turn my phone on silent or leave it in another room when visiting with friends and family, unless I know there’s a reason I may actually need it. Remember when we just used phones to call people?!? 😉
  • Disconnect at least 3 nights a week- no phone, internet or TV after dinner. This one will allow me more time to focus on hobbies and talents that fulfill me- reading, photography, making plans to walk, have a picnic or listen to some live music with friends. It will probably also be the hardest.
  • Write/make and send more cards and letters, just because- no holiday required
  • Create a safe space for myself, where I can eat, read, relax and not watch TV or work at the same time. Ultimately, I want this to be my patio…but Texas heat. Gah! I need to brainstorm on that one.

That’s all for technology right now, but I think I may do another post on more personal thoughts and epiphanies I had while away. You wouldn’t expect camp to be so emotional, but it was.

What are your thoughts on technology? Are you glued to your phone? Do you try to incorporate more real ways to connect with people?