How to Cure Your Wanderlust Without Leaving Your City

December 15, 2014
vintage style photo of a town with palm trees overlooking mountaints

It’s safe to say I have a pretty severe case of wanderlust. My Pinterest boards are full of places I can only dream of visiting, whenever I troll the Internet, it’s for travel guides to exotic lands, and pretty much the only goals on my bucket list are the amazing places that I want to explore. However, hopping on a plane to a foreign destination isn’t in my forecast anytime soon.

Between rent, utilities and of course, my student loans, taking a vacation won’t be on the top of my to-do list for an unfortunately long time. So, in the meantime, I’ve had to come up with other ways to quench my thirst for travel, without leaving my own city. If you, like me, have travel on the brain but insufficient means to make it happen, here are some ways to cure your wanderlust right where you live.

Take a Staycation


If you have some PTO days to burn but not enough money for your dream vacation, take a staycation instead. Book a hotel room in your city or one nearby. Take advantage of the concierge desk to learn about all of the touristy things you haven’t yet done in your city. Enjoy the nightlife without any of the usual worries, and relish in the simple pleasure of falling asleep in a plush bed with crisp, clean linens. When you wake up, you’ll have the whole day to relax and explore like a tourist in your own city.

Take A Different Way Home


One of the biggest desires those who have come down with a serious case of wanderlust have is the need to explore. If you can’t leave home and follow the open road where it leads, you can at least take a different route home. If you have a daily commute, try taking new back roads instead of your usual highway drive. If you live in the city and commute by foot, walk down streets you don’t usually traverse to get home.

While it may not be too far out of the ordinary, seeing a new neighborhood, a different city landscape, or even just a new billboard can help to break you out of your daily doldrums. If you can plan it right, take your new route home at the end of the day to catch a sunset with a different view.

Try Out A New Restaurant


It’s true humans are creatures of habit. Each day we live within the confines of our comfortable routines and preferences, and have everything from our favorite coffee mugs to parking spots to dive bars. If you have a desire to travel, you likely desperately want to break from your routine and discover new places.

One of the easiest ways to do this without traveling too far from home is by simply trying out a new restaurant. Going someplace to eat you’ve never been to is a small way to have a new experience in your familiar hometown. Between the restaurant’s atmosphere, menu and live music if you’re lucky, a new restaurant can be more exciting than you would expect.

Get Some Culture

Times Square

Just because you’re a local doesn’t mean you can’t explore like a tourist. In fact, doing so can make you feel like you’re on vacation, even if you’re only footsteps from your front porch. When tourists come to a new city, aside from seeing popular landmarks, they often want to get to know the culture of their destination.

This often means seeing a play, going to a local sports game, or attending a concert. Taking advantage of these types of activities and cultural events as a local can help you discover new aspects about your city, awakening your sense of discovery.

Take Outdoor Trips


If you’re currently wanderlusting for a backpacking trek to Machu Picchu or a camping trip in the Grand Canyon, exploring the outdoors near your home can help satisfy your craving for adventure. Going for local hikes and day trips to new places in your area will make you feel closer to nature, helping you to detach from the technology that constantly surrounds you and the daily tedium of your life.

If you have more than a day to explore, go camping at a nearby park. Cooking your own meals over a campfire, sleeping under the stars and waking up to the sounds of birds above your tent can bring complete rejuvenation and restoration to a spirit that needs to explore.

Get Lost

City alley at night

One of the most common desires for anyone with a wanderlusting heart is to lose themselves in a new place, adventure or way of life. While that may prove difficult if you can’t leave your home, it isn’t impossible. Go to an unfamiliar part of your city. Your sense of discovery will feel more alive as you take in all of the new sights, sounds and even smells.

If distant cities, exotic countries and breathtaking mountaintops are constantly calling your name, you’ve likely got a bad case of wanderlust. May it be money, time or other obligations that are holding you back from your travel dreams, you can still satiate your need to explore in your own backyard. So until you’ve saved up for your next big adventure, you can go camping, catch a local concert or simply try out a new restaurant, and feed your need to travel without straying too far from home.

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