Keeping the Travel Spirit Alive in Your Own City
The Staycation: The art of keeping the travel spirit alive without leaving your own city.
Below are some ways I keep the travel bug buggin' without jumping on an airplane.
- Art galleries & museums
What's the most touristy thing you can think of doing? Touring the local museums! Put on a comfy outfit, break out the TripAdvisor recommendations and head to your cities best galleries and museums. Whether you've lived here 30 years or it's your first day in the city, there's always a new exhibit to see and it's a great way to keep the feeling of being a traveller alive. Next on my radar: the upcoming Banksy exhibit here in Melbourne.
- Locate your nearest beach
Whether it's a short stroll or an hour train ride, locate your nearest coastal shore (or another body of water, if you're not so lucky). Nothing gives you a feeling of escape like getting outside the city and reconnecting with Earth's lifeblood, the Big Blue. For my birthday we did just that, hopped on the tram for an hour and explored West St Kilda, with a distant view of the full Melbourne skyline. It was almost as good as a weekend away.
- Journey to a new suburb just to try that new café
Is there somewhere you've been dying to eat but have never bothered because it's so far away it's practically in another city? Great! Get on that tram and get your butt there! I'm pretty bad with this one, but when once in a blue moon I do make the journey from an inner to an outer suburb, it reignites the feeling of adventure and I rediscover my travel bug all over again.
- Put on your walking shoes
Get on yer feet and hit the pavement. Pick a spot on the map and walk there. If you're a Melbournian, the beauty of our city is the volume of greenery breaking up our skyscrapers and residential blocks. Head to your local park, walking track, Botanical Gardens or nature reserve. Whether it's a short walk or a real hike, make the best with what you have and just get out there, escape from your daily life and reconnect with yourself in nature! If you're in my hood, I recommend the Merri Creek trail. You can walk for hours along that thing and come out in a Northern suburb you didn't even know was part of Melbourne.
- Take the long route home
In the spirit of no. 4, another thing I like to do is change up my travel routes. My GP is a 15 min walk away so I have to walk through the heart of Fitzroy, and if I spice things up and turn down strange streets I often find new street art or eateries I didn't even know existed! The way that I stop to take photos all around my own suburb there's no doubt that passerby's think I'm a tourist. Another example is the time my boyfriend accidentally fell asleep on the tram and ended up in St Kilda, and he wouldn't shut up about places he found there that he didn't know existed.
- Catch a train to the end of the line
How can you travel without leaving your city? Jump on PT and hit the outskirts! I've done this to the North and East of Melbourne and found myself in some weird places. I wouldn't recommend Epping, but anywhere along the coast can be interesting. Just make sure you have Google Maps and Foursquare on your phone to help you navigate!
- Check out your local stadium
Concerts, festivals and sports games all happen at your local stadium/s. People travel across countries to witness certain events, so why not check out what's happening at home and book yourself some tickets for a unique night out, away from your usual routine? It's all about capturing the sense of adventure and excitement of experiencing something new, and you can do that right here with just a little help from 40,000 of your closest friends.
- Grab a camera and walk the streets
This tip could be my favourite for recapturing the sense of wonder of exploring somewhere new, without having to leave home. Taking to the streets with a camera is a great way to see your own city through a fresh set of eyes. Whether you've set yourself a challenge to capture something in particular or are just looking to snap anything that looks interesting, it shifts your perspective, gets you looking above your usual eye line and takes you down alleyways you never noticed before. Try to really look around you, take in the architecture and notice all the details you've never noticed before.
- Read an entire book
Something that can seem like a guilty pleasure/waste of time is sitting down and reading an entire book, for no reason other than to read it. I'm currently halfway through three books because every time I settle in to read I have this panic that I should be doing work, put the book down and open up 10 tabs on my laptop. Putting life's worries aside for a few hours, maybe getting out of the house and away from that to-do list completely, is a great way to take a break and relax the way you usually only do on vacations.
- Delete social media off your phone
This is one I do all the time. I have Facebook and Facebook Messenger deleted right now, in fact. Take a break, escape the routine, break contact temporarily. Forget about the breaking world events that are being leaked on your newsfeed and stop worrying about what LNP has done this time. Switch off you social media, open that book and pretend you're in a hotel room somewhere far, far away.
Now as a travel addict, the above are just some of the ways I hold onto those precious holiday vibes while I'm stuck in rainy Melbourne. This is no way even close to a definitive list.
So tell me, what do you do when you have the travel bug but are still counting down the days until your plane takes off? I'd love to give some of your ideas a try!