Mom Goes Camping

What to Do When You Can’t Travel

refugee-making-me-dinner

Work, money, school… These aren’t excuses for not traveling – but they can get in the way.

So, what do you do if you can’t travel?

 

Travel Is a Mindset

Being a traveler isn’t about going places.  If that were the case, there wouldn’t be a difference between travelers and tourists.

Traveling isn’t an act.  Traveling is a mentality of seeking out…

  • New people
  • Different perspectives on life
  • Opportunities to try new foods, music, dance
  • Inspiring landscapes…

There is absolutely no reason you need to travel to distant places to find all of these things!

I believe that the true travelers are the ones who live with such open eyes and minds that they succeed in finding adventure at home.

 

Fight the Apathy!

Yes, it is a lot harder to find adventure on your home turf: Routine leads to fatigue which leads to apathy.

But, like with all things in life, finding adventure takes practice.

Practice finding the amazement in everyday life and you’ll be able to find the travel experience without ever leaving home.

Here are some suggestions on how to fight the apathy and travel at home.

 

 

1. Invite a Refugee Home

My daughter and I have hosted many Syrian and Afghan refugees at our apartment. It’s honestly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and better than any of my travels (and not just because they all cleaned my apartment 😉 ).

What about the risk? Well, just like with hitchhiking with my daughter, the reward drastically outweighs the perceived risk.

Isabel playing with a refugee from Afghanistan whom we hosted.

Isabel playing with a refugee from Afghanistan whom we hosted.

Having dinner with two refugee families that I hosted

Having dinner with two refugee families that I hosted

2. Go to a Museum

People will visit 5 museums on a weekend trip to Vienna but won’t bother visiting the museums in their hometown.

To make museums more interesting (especially if you’ve already been there a zillion times), try these tactics:

  • Bring a sketchbook and draw some of the exhibit pieces (you’ll notice details that you would have overlooked otherwise)
  • Research just one item or collection in the museum before going.
  • Research one of the artists or scientists who has work in the museum before going.
  • Ask permission to see “behind the scenes” in the museum
Having a blast with my friend in the local Military museum in Belgrade. No one said anything about not touching the exhibits. :)

Having a blast with my friend in the local Military museum in Belgrade. No one said anything about not touching the exhibits. 🙂

 

3. Go for Coffee or Dinner Alone (and without your cell phone!)

This is something you do while traveling, right?  And just think of all the people you meet and how much you succeed in clearing your thoughts!

When you’re alone and not tapping on your phone, people actually talk to you.  This is a great way to meet new people and have some interesting conversations.

 

4. Attend a Service of Another Religion

You visited the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, but what about the mosque in your hometown?

Ask the priest/imam/rabbi/etc. to give you a tour.  Or ask a friend who is from that faith to give you the tour.

*For bonus points, invite some non-traveler friends to come with you.  A lot of them probably have never been inside a place of worship outside of their own religion!

 

5. Host People On Couchsurfing, BeWelcome, WarmShowers…

Can’t travel to distant lands? At least you can meet people from distant lands by hosting them at your home!

Teaching some Slovenian CSers how to forge a train pass using a rolling paper!

Teaching some Slovenian CSers how to forge a train pass using a rolling paper!

 

6. Organize or Join a Meetup

I love the site meetup.com.  Anyone can make a group on there and start organizing events.  You might already have some cool groups there in your area.

Look for meetups that you might not normally attend (such as a hiking meetup if you aren’t normally the outdoorsy type). This will give you an opportunity to push your comfort zone and meet new types of people.

 

7. Read a Book

What better way to let your mind travel to a new land?

 

8. Pretend You Are Someone Else

I still haven’t done it, but I really want to wear a hijab for a few days (I live in Belgrade, which doesn’t exactly have a large Muslim population). I think it would be a great way to experience how Muslim women are treated and how it feels to be treated like an outsider.

In university, I used to sometimes put on wigs and make up alternate identities for myself.  For example, I’d go to a party where I didn’t know anyone as a redheaded Russian girl named Svetlana (as opposed to the dreadlocked art student I was at the time).  It’s enlightening to see how differently people treat you based on your appearance.

Pretending to be someone else during a performance art video while I was still in University.

Pretending to be someone else during a performance art video while I was still in University. I had dreadlocks at the time.

 

9.Talk to People You Don’t Like

One of the things I’ve learned from hitchhiking is that everyone is interesting and can teach you something – so long as you are willing to dig deep enough.

If I (a vegan, liberal-minded, agnostic, feminist…) can get along with hunters, ultra-religious, misogynistic, etc. people while traveling, then why not at home too?

*I don’t necessarily want to be friends with these people, but it’s nice to listen to differing viewpoints on life and gain perspective in the process.

 

10. Look from a Different Angle

I heard about a photographer who did a project where he photographed the most popular streets in Belgrade.

But instead of shooting straight forward, he shot the windows, facades, and other things above eye level.

No one could recognize these ultra-popular streets because they are looking down and forward instead of up!

So try looking at your home turf from a different angle.  You might be surprised at everything you discover.

*If you know the name of the artist, let me know!

How do you fight the apathy when you can’t travel?

 

About the author /


Diane Vukovic is an avid traveler, outdoor enthusiast, beetle lover, sometimes sculptress, couchsurfer, and loves finding ways to explain complex topics to her 6-year old daughter. Follow MomGoesCamping on Facebook and Twitter @MomGoesCamping to stay in touch!

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