Sometimes you need to stay close to home. Maybe family or work responsibilities are keeping you grounded. Maybe it’s health or money issues.
There are still ways to see new things, experience other cultures, feel transported.
Recently, National Geographic featured a “travel photographer” who finds and composes interesting shots within Google Street View.
Navigating through the Street View of an area does give you a better sense of a place. So we’ll start there.
1. Use Google Street View to explore an area you’d like to visit or re-visit somewhere you’ve gone in the past.
2. Go to a local cultural center, performance, or festival.
3. Be a tourist in your own town.
- See the cheesy stuff you’d normally skip and take photos.
- Pick out postcards.
- Visit the tourist information office or visitor bureau and find out what visitors are seeing or doing that you might’ve overlooked.
4. Watch some foreign films.
5. Try out any travel apps you’re interested in. See how well they work while you’re still at home.
6. Have you visited all the parks in your area?
7. Take a different route home.
- Skip the freeway.
- Walk or ride your bike.
- Try public transit or take a different line.
- If you’re in Phoenix, have you ridden the light rail yet? End to end?
8. Get lost in a library.
9. Try a new restaurant, coffee shop, or bar.
10. Watch movies about travel.
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty comes to mind.
- So does Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong, which I reviewed last year and is now on Netflix.
- Phillip reminded me of The Motorcycle Diaries. So good. Definitely feels like you’ve been on a long journey through South America by the end.
11. Set up a tent in your backyard or inside the house.
12. Sign up to host an international student.
13. Go to another part of town and explore a neighborhood that’s usually not on your radar.
14. Get out photos and relive memories. Put them in albums or scrapbooks if you haven’t already.
15. Visit a museum. Find out when they have voluntary admission days or other special events.
16. Read a book set in a place you’d like to visit or that takes you on a journey. A few ideas:
- Cheryl Strayed’s Wild.
- In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson.
- Riders of the Purple Sage, the Zane Grey novel that we recently saw an opera based on, really puts you inside the canyons and valleys of its setting.
- Phillip loved Mitchner’s Iberia and said it made him feel like he’s been to Spain.
17. Ask friends for their favorite spots around town (to do, see, eat etc.) and try out their recommendations.
18. Wander around an international market. Buy something you’ve never seen before.
19. Bring a little of the places you love to visit into your regular life. Splurge on extra soft towels or have coffee on your patio.
20. Buy music from a place you’d like to travel. (Or borrow it – Phillip has found some great stuff at our local library.)
21. Make a friend from another country.
- Volunteer with an international students’ group.
- Adopt a refugee family.
22. Explore the stars at a local planetarium or with a regular telescope.
23. Have you seen all the public art on display where you live?
24. Test out your travel gear. Make sure everything works, is comfortable to wear, etc. My dad used to fill his pack with encyclopedias and walk around the block to get ready for future backpacking trips.
25. Take photos of places or things you see every day. Use it as an opportunity to really look at what’s around you and maybe see it in a new light.
26. Watch travel shows or documentaries.
- The Aerial America series puts commentary with footage of various U.S. locations from the air. It’s very relaxing to watch.
- Our Podcast from Italy friends just started a Vlog from Italy with great 5-minute videos (on YouTube).
- While we were in Tucson, we went to a screening of the indie documentary Given, which I recommend. It’s at film festivals the next few months and is available on iTunes.
27. Book a staycation at nearby hotel or resort. They probably offer discounted rates in the off-season.
28. Switch things up in your house.
- Have dinner outside or spread out a blanket and “picnic” on the living room floor.
- Build a fort.
- Rearrange the furniture.
29. Go for a drive and see where you end up.
30. Eat food from another culture. Go to a restaurant or try making it yourself with the help of a friend, cookbook, or a food blog….
- Eat.Wander.Repeat shares recipes for Anglo Indian, Goan, and Manglorean Indian food.
- Lovely Life makes the most beautiful Swedish pastries.
- Putri Chaerul’s Snapguides include recipes and tips for making traditional Indonesian dishes.
31. Find the nearest places to camp.
32. Learn another language. There are apps, podcasts, and resources at many libraries to help you with this.
- MindSnacks has several free language learning apps. Their Learn Chinese app was great when I was attempting to do that, and the games were really fun.
- There are lots of language learning podcasts if you just search on iTunes. I’ve been working on italiano on and off with Learn Italian from Italianpod101.com.
33. Plan your next trip or in-town adventure.