It’s that time of the year again! The holidays are approaching, but I have still got work to do. I can’t help but daydream. I dream of mountains, rivers, seas, and towns—the longer I stay away from them, the bigger they loom in my mind. I contemplated writing about other subjects, but I can’t get traveling out of my mind. If I don’t jot down my travel notes or, worse, if I don’t travel, I don’t know what to do with this blog.
Traveling is a double-edged sword. When you have a wonderful time traveling, you get post-travel blues. And if you can’t travel for a while, you miss traveling so badly that it hurts your chest. Because I experience both feelings almost at regular intervals, I’ve learned how to deal with them separately over time. In this blog post, I want to talk about what I do when I get itchy feet but can’t travel for a while.
1. Read travelogues and travel memoirs
How many activities can quench your travel thirst without costing an arm and a leg and requiring you to go out? I am a natural-born bookworm, but when I crave traveling, there is only one genre I turn to: travelogues and travel memoirs. And I have covered two memoirs in my blog: Sahara Unveiled and Embrace Fearlessly The Burning World. (Note to self: I should review more travel memoirs here.)
Thanks to these kinds of books, I cross the seven seas, climb mountains, learn new local cultures, discover new places and become conscious about the environment. I also feel a vicarious joy through writers who achieve their goals and arrive at a milestone in their lives. I can feel my heartbeat when they face barriers. And I love reading their reactions when locals challenge their actions and views.
2. Watch documentaries and movies
I can’t deny documentaries and movies’ impact on my travel decisions. I remember my addiction to the Planet Earth series. I would be glued to the TV for hours to devour every corner of the world from the poles to the deserts. I knew I would study journalism and travel across the globe like this one day. I couldn’t even travel to the neighboring cities in Turkey back then. And I did end up majoring in journalism, embarking on journeys that had nothing to do with my studies or job.
My obsession with road trips stems from movies such as Thelma & Louise, My Blueberry Nights, My Own Private Idaho and Little Miss Sunshine. I haven’t been to the States yet, but I draw inspiration from these movies and have a vague idea about what I would like to do in the States if I travel there one day. I might not be traveling at the moment, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep dreaming!
3. Write letters to your faraway friends
I am an old soul who has been writing letters for over a decade. I love writing and receiving letters, as I find joy in written words and believe in their power. There is something magical about letters. Knowing that your words will travel miles away—even though your physical body can’t—is somehow liberating. I can and should write a blog post dedicated to snail mail, because it has many benefits.
For me, receiving letters with foreign stamps and postcards enclosed in them is paramount to traveling. I can feel my friends’ happiness, travel to those places through their letters, and get inspired to travel more in the future. I also enjoy writing about my adventures in Japan and know that I’ve inspired some of my pen pals! They have been talking about traveling to Japan already.
4. Listen to road trip songs
There are so many albums and songs out there dedicated to road trips. I don’t travel every day, but I do listen to an album that matches my daily mood. I have completed one-fourth of my “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” challenge that I’ve also mentioned in this blog post. Songs are like invisible means of transportation that take you out and help you have a lovely time at any moment of the day.
As I write this, I am listening to Arcade Fire’s “No Cars Go,” which goes like this: We know a place where no planes go // We know a place where no ships go. I immediately imagine an otherworldly place I can reach only on foot. I let the lyrics carry me on my very own flying carpet, and watch the world beneath me. It is an ecstatic feeling!
I wrote this post to give ideas to those who want to travel but can’t at the moment. And I know sometimes I don’t want to travel physically. When I find myself stuck for a reason, or simply don’t feel like traveling—but also don’t want to be confined in my own brain—I still read travel memoirs, watch documentaries, write letters and listen to songs that lift me up.
But if I feel down regardless of my travel plans, I know it is time to take a break and take care of my mental health. I also wrote a blog post about how I took better care of my mental health this year while living abroad. Sometimes life is hard and gets in the way of our dreams and travel plans. I believe it is up to us to turn sour or not when life gives us lemons. What do you think?
What do you do when you want to travel but can’t at the moment? What inspires you to travel?
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