You’re officially a victim of the disease called wanderlust. You’ve spent hours upon hours scrolling through beautiful photographs on the internet (maybe even this blog), but you’re sitting at your desk or on your couch and you’re sick because you can’t travel anytime soon.
It’s called withdrawal.
After I booked my one-way plane ticket to Europe, I had a few months to prepare for my trip. I’d sit at my desk itching to leave New York City, with nothing else on my mind but packing and hopping on that first flight to Iceland.
I know the feeling you get when all you want to do is leave but you’re strapped to your existing surroundings, possibly going to a job you hate every morning, eating at the same places every day because you’re just too tired to go explore, driving down the same street to that job you hate, sitting in the same traffic jam, and spending every single sunny weekend in bed because the week before completely exhausted you.
Yeah, it’s tough to find inspiration when your mind is set on being inspired by being somewhere else. But then I realized that I had worked in New York City for four years and hadn’t once been to the top of the Empire State Building, or the Rockefeller Center. I had never been to a Broadway show. Always wanted to have a picnic in Central Park – had I done it? Nope. Had I walked the Brooklyn Bridge like I had always wanted? No sir. What about one of those music festivals? Made a trip to the Hamptons for the weekend? Coney Island? Mmmmk, no.
Wait, what the hell have you been doing all this time?
Working. I’d wake up and go to work, have drinks at the same bar after and come back home to work some more. Then I’d go to sleep, wake up and do it again the next day. Weekends? Maybe a movie at home, some wine with dinner – venturing off just seemed too… exhausting.
Humans are so addicted to routine, and there are many instances when routine is a beautiful thing. But my current routine wasn’t making me happy, or allowing me to feel fulfilled with life. So I shook things up instead of moping around for two months and made the decision to start putting effort into exploring my backyard – New York City.
I woke up on a Saturday and went to the Top of the Rockefeller Center (READ: Top of the Rock).
Stayed for hours to watch the sunset and took some of my favorite photos of New York City.
Then the next weekend I got my ass out of bed and went to the top of the Empire State Building.
I had never seen the city from this perspective, and although it was bitter cold and my hands were completely frozen (even if with gloves on), I was mesmerized by this amazing view.
I walked the Brooklyn Bridge at night and spent a few hours soaking in the beautiful view from Dumbo. (READ: Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge at Night)
It was beyond cold, there was snow on the ground thus my feet were frozen, but this view was one that I had never seen before, and it made me remember why I came to this city in the first place.
I went to City Bakery for the first time to try their oversized marshmallow-stuffed hot chocolate and a pretzel croissant. Yes, a croissant that tastes like a pretzel. (READ: An Afternoon at City Bakery)
Yes, it helps that I’m in one of the biggest cities in the world, but what if you’re not? Do you have to be from a huge city to find stuff to help cure your wanderlust, or at least lessen the symptoms?
NOPE. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. Here are a few ways that you can relieve some of that travel withdrawal without having to go too far from home.
1. Drive down a new road.
Take the long, scenic way home after work one day. Something as simple as driving down a road you’ve never driven down before will delight your senses, even if it’s only the next block over. Park your car, get out, sit on top of the hood and listen, watch and learn.
2. Try a new restaurant, cafe or grocery store.
Order something new at your favorite restaurant, or go to a cafe you’ve never been before, and be able to share that experience with someone you love.
3. Get outside your house.
Not an outdoorsy person? Become one. Being outdoors and surrounding yourself with nature can be a bit messy at times and yes, physically exhausting especially in grueling weather, but it’s a feeling unlike any other. Go on the hunt for crisp, clean air in the mountains or the smell of pine in a forest, the willow wisping in the wind near your favorite lake, or miles of cornfields stretching into the sunset.
4. Sit and watch the sunset.
It’s called golden hour for a damn good reason. Spend an hour or so just sitting outside, watching the sky change colors. There’s beauty in this no matter what’s going on in your life, where you are in the world, and whether you’re with someone you love or by yourself.
5. Find and book a tour in your area.
When you’re not a tourist, you tend not to do touristy things. My good friend visited my hometown of Virginia Beach and booked a tour jet skiing along the Atlantic Ocean. I had never been on a jet ski in my hometown, much less thought to book a tour while at home. Look up local tours, whether it’s a boat ride, a wine tasting or even a museum.
6. Stay in a hotel one night just because.
Staycations can sometimes do just as much for the soul. Waking up in a new bed with fresh sheets and an uber-soft comforter can help you mentally get away, without having to travel too far.
Your wanderlust will probably never completely be cured. Traveling usually only makes you want to travel more, but there’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. I do hope though that you can take a few moments out of your routine to gain a new perspective on your surroundings. The world is filled with wonder, and even though you can’t leave right now to travel to a new destination, you can find ways to experience new things right in your own backyard.
Thank you so much for reading, and follow me on instagram for day to day updates from my travels. @projectinspo