We were not all born with a silver spoon in our mouths. That would actually be a horrible fate; a newborn could choke on one of those things. But I digress. Some of us have to work fulltime jobs until we can figure out how to break free of the humdrumness of our daily, makeshift lives. We can’t just jet set off to faraway lands whenever we want to despite all of the well-meaning folks on social media who tell us we should do so. We got billsssss and they’re multiplying… and we’re loooooosing control!! In a situation like this what do we do? Here are my tips on what you can do when your wanderlusty dream makes your empty wallet scream.
Become a tourist in your own town. Chances are you live somewhere that other people would LOVE to visit. You grew up there or have lived there long enough for the novelty to wear off and now you just want to be anywhere else. Do the best with what you have and act like a tourist in your own town. I live in Orlando, FL. I know what you’re probably thinking. “Well, YOU live in Orlando! That is a great place to live.” Well, it’s not bad, but just like lots of other people, I was born and raised here and wish I were elsewhere. Tourists see the theme parks, nearby beaches and the mouse! I see the horrible traffic on Interstate 4, the million and one lizards scurrying around and a place I have lived all of my life. Am I saying it’s horrible? Absolutely not. I am saying it’s home and that ain’t so exciting.
How do I make the best of it? By becoming a tourist in my own town. Grab your camera and go to your downtown area. Look for beauty in places you have never discovered. Just because you have lived in a place for a long time doesn’t mean you have experienced everything it has to offer. Take your local transportation, for me it would be the Sun Rail for a quick day of exploring. You probably have some great museums, hiking or water sports in your area. Take advantage of everything your city has to offer to fill up the empty space between vacations.
Watch travel movies. Ok, stay with me here. I know that watching movies will do nothing for that deep feeling of unsettled wanderlust, but it sure as heck keeps a sista motivated to save money for my own adventure. My top three suggestions to help feed that travel bug are Under The Tuscan Sun, Eat. Pray. Love. and The Way. Here is why:
Under The Tuscan Sun is a story about a woman who was broken by a failed relationship and ended up finding herself as she journeyed around Italy. What’s better than that? We all have dreams of doing something extraordinary like buying a house, living there alone while fighting bats and renovating in a country wherein you don’t even speak the language. Well, maybe not everyone wants to have that particular adventure, but you get the picture. My favorite parts of this movie are the mishaps. I loved when she had to survive the night in a lightning storm with nothing but an owl and the Virgin Mary. I like the way she went crazy trying to kill a pest in her house and when she was extra sad when a snake slithered into her home because I would have reacted the same way or worse. Besides, those mishaps made the character seem more real and relatable.
Eat. Pray. Love. was a wonderful movie about a woman whose life was not her own so she decided to set out on a journey to find herself. Starting to see a pattern here? Travel, for me, is about finding pieces of yourself to hopefully have a completed puzzle by the end of your life. Movies like this make me so happy because they give me hope as I sit at home with no money to make a move. As I watched this movie, a lot of my wishing for things to happen turned into actions to make things happen. See how that works? Movies are here to inspire us and, in turn, hopefully we will lead a life that inspires others. Elizabeth, the main character, traveled across Italy, Indonesia and India, met incredible people along the way and found herself. What I liked most about this movie was that, somehow, she didn’t seem to leave us feeling as though she would live happily ever after. That’s real. I can live abroad and fulfill all of my dreams while doing so and that doesn’t mean that my life will be peaches and cream from then on. For some reason I think Elizabeth is probably somewhere right now itching to go on another adventure.
The Way is perhaps my favorite one of all of these movies. I am not sure if that’s because I saw it most recently and it gave me the biggest boost or wanderlust or if it’s because it is truly the best of the three. It was about a man who walked the Camino de Santiago, which is a long trail in Europe. His son was supposed to take the journey but died before he could finish. Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler because you’ll know that much from the trailer. This movie spewed adventure all over the screen with great characters, back stories and lessons galore. My favorite part about this movie is what the father gained through his travels. The same thing I hope to gain from mine. I won’t tell you what that is; you will have to just watch the movie for yourself.
Visit family and friends for a nice little semi-staycation. Seems simple enough right? That’s because it is simple. I visit my sister when I need a little getaway. She and my brother-n-law treat me so well, the house is clean and their apartment amenities are a little hoity-toity. Their pool looks like that of a resort and they feed me as though they were feeding real visitors from out of town. Choose a family or friend who has been trying to get you to visit for a long time and actually go stay a weekend. Explore their city, do things you wouldn’t normally do at home and act like a tacky tourist. I am not advising you to find a family member or friend with the best accommodations to go mooch off of, but I am saying, when you need to get away, go hang out with them and get the change of environment that you need. I have a niece in Texas I have been promising to visit which would cut down on the cost of a hotel. I have family in The Carolinas that might put me up for a weekend or so. I have some Georgia cousins who could spare a bed for a weekend. I am sure you have some options also, you just have to poke around and see what or who you can find.
Go to the beach, a lake or some body of water to get that getaway feeling. There is something about being around water that just has the tendency to take me away. Go to the beach or a body of water that transports you to another place. In Florida there are plenty of lakes and beaches, but there are bodies of water everywhere so just choose one and go. My family and I will pack up a huge lunch, head to the beach with a tent and spend the whole day there enjoying one another’s company. We have even piled up in a couple rooms to stay on the beach and make a weekend out of it. Even though we were within an hour of home, hearing the waves crashing and seeing seagulls flying around outside of our door made it feel like a tropical vacation.
Read wanderlusty blogs for inspiration while you’re stuck at home. You may think that it would get you down, but it just depends on if you’re a glass half full or half empty type person. I read blogs of fulltime travelers and feel that pang of jealousy (but in a good way), which pushes me to work that much harder to build the life I want to live, starting with location independence. It can be done. It is being done every day, so why not me? There are so many blogs to choose from and they all offer something just a little different from the next. Choose blogs that help you with ideas to do around your own town. Find a blog dedicated to your particular interests and interact with them for daily inspiration. Grab some travel magazines and dream big because one day you will reach those goals if you work hard enough.
Eat exotic foods that take you away to another world. It works. Trust me. I visited an Indian restaurant in my area and the décor, smells and surroundings transported me to another place. I must have ordered half of the menu that day. Chicken tikka, curries and garlic naan all teamed up for a fabulous meal. I love Thai food also and one of the cutest restaurants in my area, Royal Thai of Orlando, has beautiful Thai women dressed in traditional garb, such as pha nung (colorful, rectangular cloth worn on the lower body), and the food is delicious. Get out and try some foreign foods in your area to really take your taste buds on a vacation. Another way to do this is by getting in the kitchen and recreating your own version of some favorite dishes you’ve had in your own travels. When I want to get away I get in the kitchen and make my homemade coconut curry noodle bowl or some exotic dish to remind me of my travels.
Go on a cruise. This is one of my favorite ways to travel when I need a low budget getaway. There are so many reasons a cruise is one of the best ways to travel but it found its way to this list because when funds are low then there is nothing better than boarding your home away from home and having everything else taken care of for you. Cruises are all-inclusive so you need very little money to really enjoy yourself. Some cruises can be expensive, but I am not advising you to spring for a boat ride with “The Mouse” and all of his pals. I mean something a little more in budget, such as, a Carnival Cruise for a few days to the Bahamas or somewhere in the Caribbean. A short, inexpensive trip is sometimes all you need to make things right again. Keep check on pricing because there are lots of good deals out there and, if purchased at the right time, you can catch them right in your price range. Food is included so you will not have to worry about what you will eat. I am talking about breakfast, lunch and dinn-dinn! All included! Then you have your entertainment… every… single… night! Taken care of by the staff. The only thing I recommend you take cash for is to tip your servers and room staff (if not included in the price) at the end of your cruise and, believe me, you will feel they are worth it! Cruising is a great way to spend the bare minimum while maxing out the fun.