How to Get that Traveller’s High Without Leaving the Country
If the world were a perfect place, you would be able to pack up and travel at any time with no more than a dime in your pocket and a perfectly tipped fedora upon your head. Alas – I am pretty sure dimes only work in America and fedoras only work on hipsters, and travelling without any kind of foresight or money has the potential to go incredibly pear shaped. As a result, it is likely you will need to spend some time between trips with your feet on the ground and your head on a pillow at the homestead in order to save more than one of those dimes so you can leave again. This “down time” can vary: such time between trips might amount to two months or two years, but there is always going to be a point where you need to come back to reality for a while before you can head off with your backpack (or suitcase, if you swing that way) on a new adventure.
For some, this time between jaunts can result in an excessive sadness in which the magic of travel dissipates faster than Harry’s chance of getting with Hermione; a sadness which hangs around until you dust off your foul-smelling backpack and take a budget airline flight somewhere new. For others, they can relish in the opportunities of new adventures on their home soil and spend their time in travel exile marveling at the beauty of their own country. As someone incredibly famous (but not as famous as Harry Potter) once said: “Everybody should play tourist in their own city at least once.” Now, did I just make up that quote to fit in with this article? Maybe, but the truth behind it is undeniably true. The post-travel blues happens to us all, and while it is perfectly acceptable to spend time wallowing in travel boards on Pinterest for a few weeks, it is inevitable that you will need to cheer yourself up at some point, and what better way to do that then by pretending to be a tourist in your own city.
The rules are simple: No fleeing the country for greener international pastures, and fit yourself with a fresh set of backpacker eyeballs that you usually have on when scoping out the cheapest hostel or hottest foreigner in your dorm. Often when going about your day-to-day life you can fall into a trap of work and home and work and wine and home again. However, when you’re travelling and there is always a new city or place to be explored, it’s rare that your days feel dull, and even waking up with a hangover feels special when it’s somewhere strange (as long as you’re not being asked to put the lotion in the basket).
Often we take for granted the amazing places we come from and forget to stop and appreciate things in our own city before desperately booking our next flight out. While it might seem impossible at the time, a few little tweaks can ensure that you don’t waste any adventure time, be it at home or on international grounds.
For starters, try and do something new every week. It may be a cliché, but doing at least one new thing a week can give you back that sexy travelling zing. Hit up Time Out, Concrete Playground and The Thousands websites to find out what zany activity is going on in your city, and then make sure you commit to going along. Go watch a play, head to an outdoor cinema, take in a round of glow-in-the-dark mini-golf (Melbourne kids, this is a thing), drink at that new hipster bar that’s just popped up or try and understand what Jafflechutes are.
If cashed up activities aren’t really your thing and your piggy bank is refusing to put out, then do something free. Go on a walking tour of your city and take the time to explore places you’re too busy to notice on the morning commute. Pack a picnic and head outdoors to a park that when you squint your eyes and drink some goon, kind of looks like Paris. Heck, even buying your coffee from a new place in the morning will supply you with a fresh bevy of barristas to flirt with, ensuring you shake up your routine just a little.
If you’re still not feeling fulfilled and you’re desperate for that stranger connection, join a website such as Meet-Up and find a group of people interested in the same things you are. Or head along to some free lectures or classes, and then integrate your way smoothly into a pack of friends via your hilarious wit and incomparable travel anecdotes. If all else fails, head to a bar and start boozing until you have re-created that travelling alone confidence which see’s you become best friends with someone you just met.
There are so many great things about heading out and creating mayhem in the international community that sometimes it can be easy to forget all the good times to be had at home. As that same famous person once said: “Don’t punch yourself in the face, while simultaneously shooting yourself in the foot.” Meaning don’t spend all your time focused on leaving your home country and end up missing out on some great experiences that can be had without adding a stamp to your passport. Made-up quote or not, you can’t deny the logic of that sentence, nor the allure of adventure be it in a country you don’t speak the language, or a first-time visit to the pickled vegetable aisle of your local Coles.
Rowan still hasn’t finished War & Peace, but she did use it to balance her dinner once. Living in London, she’s steadily working her way through the Europe’s great cities and hopes to try every wine in England before her visa expires.