5 Tips to Survive Wanderlust and Winter Blues
You’re cold. It’s January and you’re starting a new semester, heading back to work, or taking care of the kids. You feel stagnant and restless. Discouraged, even. Then you see an advertisement for Caribbean cruises. Suddenly, life has purpose again. You furiously begin to pin photos of exotic locales to your travel board on Pinterest.
Until one morning, you’re walking to the bus, your smart phone 10 inches from your face, a discount travel website pulled up on the screen. You scroll furiously, and your heart beats fast. You wait to cross the street and an SUV barrels past you, splashing you with dirty sludge from the road.
Never mind. It’s -16 celcius, your feet are soaking wet, your fingers are numb. Your dreams of escape come crashing down as you realize that you have classes, kids or work. Not to mention nothing in your savings account and no one to escape with.
Your wanderlust is buried deep beneath the ice in your January chest, vibrating incessantly. How do you shake this feeling? How do you escape when there’s no means to leave?
I’m hear to offer some tips on coping with wanderlust when the winter blues hit.
- Make the most of where you live. There’s plenty of wandering to be done locally. Visit museums, go for hikes, get lost in unfamiliar neighborhoods, take your camera downtown and capture some beautiful images. Look up travel recommendations for your town or city and see through the eyes of tourists. Or, check out neighboring towns and parks. If you love to write about your travels, try to find some locals to interview and write a blog post or pitch an article to a travel magazine. Write a poem about your favorite coffee shop. Write a short story about the people you’re surrounded by.
- Prepare yourself for an adventure. Train for that Disney marathon you’ve always wanted to run. Take climbing lessons so you can head up Ayers Rock. Start embarking on hikes locally so you can get in shape to trek up Macchu Picchu or Kilimanjaro. Take adult swimming lessons so you can make the most out of your next dive into a cenote. Take a snorkeling or a kayaking lesson at the local pool.
- Scrapbook your last trip. Immortalize it with the ancient art of sticking photos to fancy paper with lots and lots of stickers. Or, prep a scrapbook for your next trip so you can simply enjoy it, snap some photos, print them out and paste them in your book to show off to friends!
- Read. The next best thing to travelling is reading about people who live in different places. Read the news, read blogs and most importantly, read books. A good writer or journalist can transplant you in a different country and a different culture. Let them take you there. I recommend Dolce di Love by Sarah-Kate Lynch, and The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark— with those 2 books you can take a trip to Italy AND India in about a week of reading.
- Give into your wanderlust. Spend a few days obsessively pinning to your travel board. Get it out of your system. Stay up late researching interesting places. Pretend you’re booking 5 star hotels in Istanbul while your coursework builds up in a messy pile beside you. Exercise this with extreme caution.
Repeat tips 1 through 5 until the wanderlust banging on your ribcage subsides – or at least until you have a boarding pass in your hand.