Upon return from Chicago last summer I found myself facing five months at home with no travel plans at all. After a year living in and travelling around the United States – the good amount of weekly payment had enabled me to see a ton of places – staying in my hometown for more than a few weeks wasn´t exactly my idea of how I wanted to spend my time and end a year that, up to this point, had been filled with adventure. So I decided to share things that worked for me making the best of some time back home.
Start dreaming, researching, planning
Keep in mind that after a trip is just before another. After the first weeks at home, when you get to show everybody your photos and they´re all about hearing your stories your excitement might fade. So get yourself excited. What would you like to do and see next and when might there be an opportunity to do so? If you don´t get planning you won´t have another adventure soon, as you´re not going to get handed a plane ticket and sent travelling (well unless you´re doing it fulltime I guess).
Decorate your private space with travel memories
This is a great way to look at all the important experiences you´ve made while travelling. It could be anything from a photowall over souvenirs over a world map to things that inspire you and it will help you appreciate all those amazing memories you made. You might not be travelling right now, but after all you saw so many places others might never see and you´ve been lucky enough (or hardworking) to fullfill yourself all those dreams already. So take some time to focus on that and be happy.
Get a job and save for the next adventure
So, if you are really trying to go back to travelling ASAP you should definitely start to search for a job, if you haven´t yet anyways. Not only will it finance your next journey (however big or small it may be), but it´ll also give you a routine and that way it will make the time go by a lot quicker, than being lazy and doing nothing would.
Take weekend trips
There was this one day in October, when I had been at home for two months and had another two to go until leaving for Spain, when I felt like I was busy doing nothing – even though I was working and taking language classes at that point.
So I just took my laptop, typed in the airports close to me and looked for the cheapest destinations to fly to. Like that I ended up in Rome for a sunny long weekend. Weekend trips are usually a very cheap option, especially when you travel off season. And as you´ll only need carry-on luggage you can make use of low-budget airlines. My Rome trip cost me no more than 200€ all together (50 for the round trip flight – 90 for a cute, central B&B and some money for airport transfer, food and a dress). Sometimes all it needs is a bit of flexibility and spontaneity.
Write about it
Obviously this is one of the things I spend a lot time on and I don´t think there could be a better way to relive a moment, a day, a trip, then by writing it down -and sharing it with you. And while repeating it all that way, you will create a work which captures your memories. Put it down on paper – or your computer of course, but that doesn´t sound quite as poetic.
Let a good book take you on a journey
While some people might not understand the point in picking up a book about travel, when you can go see the world yourself, I do enjoy to grab a book with a good story, let myself get carried away, and forget everyday life for a while. Especially books, that are based on true journeys usually capture me pretty easily.
So if you want to check some out, try “Das Stempelmädchen” (if you´re fluent in German obviously) or “Neither here nor there” by Bill Bryson, which convinced me so much -he writes really funny- that I have “A walk in the Woods” ready to be read -I might actually try to write a book review on that one.
Discover your own region
After coming back from the United States, where I had travelled all over the place from New York to Hawaii, I noticed how little I had actually seen of my own surroundings. By that I mean my federal state, such as Germany as a whole, but also western Europe, as everything is so close. So I set of on some trips to change this. Travelling in Europe is fortunately a really easy thing to do and you can find great deals (I spent under 300€ on my 5 day roundtrip to Bruges, Paris and Luxemburg).
Spend time with family and friends
Not only will you be able to tell someone about your adventures abroad, but spending quality time with your loved ones will also remind you of what you have at home, that you´re missing out on while being away. Appreciate those moments, as they can get pretty rare once you´ve decided to give travelling priority in life.
Take every opportunity to go on a trip (even for just a few days)
A weekend at a friend´s summer house? New Year´s Eve in an exiting city -Berlin for instance? A family event or vacation you´re invited to? Join in and enjoy every opportunity to take a trip, however short it may be.
I went on a trip to Bavaria with my parents and brother and was truly exited to get out of my 9-5 work days for a while, even though I had visited this place like six times -I actually don´t know, as at some point I stopped counting – and hiked the mountains almost every single one of those visits.
Cook a meal that reminds you of your time abroad
Admittedly, most of the time I will actually bake. And I mean that good stuff, like huge, crisp American cookies or Brownies that are basically just oil, sugar and chocolate and once I´m back home from Spain I´ll add Torrijas to the dessert list. After all, sweets make you happy, don´t they?
But honestly, cook something you loved to eat abroad and bring part of your experience home. Want to know what is best about this point? You can share and enjoy together.
Take some time to yourself
Turn on that song, that takes you back to a certain moment or place of your journey. Sit down with your photo albums. Eat one of those cookies mentioned before – if your family and friends left you any. Take a walk, write, draw.
What can be quite helpful to come over anything from homesickness to that urge to go away is to enjoy your own company. Maybe that is what you are really lacking. When you are travelling (solo) you have so much time to think and focus on yourself. So make sure you grant yourself that alonetime at home as well, as it can be crucial in the process of figuring out what you really want and need.
Have you been in the situation of staying home for a while between travels? How did you fill the time?