Maybe you’ve experienced it. You come back home after your first backpacking trip. Your daily routines start up again, the weather might be a bit depressing depending on where you live. You long for the ocean again, for the freedom you experienced and for just being on the road..
During your trip you changed a lot, you saw and experienced so many different things. The people around you though seem to have somehow stayed in exactly the same place. And at the same time their worlds seem to have kept spinning at maximum speed without you.
And suddenly, as if peeking through a store window, you’re the person on the outside looking in on your old life.
After my first long trip the first few days were wonderful, seeing my friends and family again. But after that it hit me like a two-by-four: I had to get the hell out again, as quickly as possible! I had tasted the freedom that comes with traveling and I just wanted to get away again. That’s the way it was for me back then. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Today, approximately 2 years later, I can honestly say that I am very happy being in my home town while getting my business up and runnning, not being able to travel for long periods of time as I want to in the future. Every now and then I do need to get out on a trip, but at the same time I’m just as happy here. Mainly, because I have the freedom to organize my time the way I want, because I only have a part-time job and some freelance jobs every so often. So, the feeling I have when I travel and the feeling I have at home have become more and more similar. Now, when I travel I still do some work and when I’m at home I try to do things I would when I travel. That way, the feeling of having to “get out” has gradually faded away.
I want to tell you more about all that in a later post though, because becoming self-dependent and freeing yourself from a 9-to-5-job takes a bit more engagement and planning if this is what you want. In this post I want to give you practical tips on what can help you overcome itchy feet when you’re in your hometown and you’d rather be traveling, but can’t, because you have to work or study in that place, you might be saving up or currently building a business. I’ve been able to integrate these things into my life really well and I hope they can help you, aswell 😉
#1 Get comfy cosy.
Especially on rainy days, I often get itchy feet. You long for the sun on your skin, it’s dark and cold outside.. On days like this it’s hard to actually get your mood up and get motivated to do anything. You know what you can do? Make the mood turn in your favor and make yourself comfy! Light some candles, turn on some music, take a bath, make yourself a hot chocolate or tea and just create a really nice atmosphere for yourself. Use the time you have to yourself or invite someone for a chilled movie-night. A rainy day seems way better, when you make the most of it and just enjoy!
#2 Go on little trips!
No matter if it’s a short city trip to Paris, Prague or Budapest or even better: Somewhere in your own country! Your country has so much more to offer than you might think. Not too long ago I realized how little of Germany I’d actually seen and started visiting some places (our nature parks among other things).. And they are stunning! So, get out there! Grab a car or take the train, take a friend or go on your own! It won’t cost a lot and you’ll get the feeling of being on a little journey!
#3 Discover your home town!
You know what’s fun? Grabbing a travel guide for your own town and then just getting out there and exploring your home town! Take your camera with and take photos as you would in a new town. There’s a museum you always wanted to visit or parts of your town you’ve never been to before? Check them out! If you’re heading somewhere and have the time, go by foot when you would usually take the bus and see what’s on the way. See your town through the eyes of someone who has never been there before!
#4 Edit your the photos and videos from your trip or write about it!
When dealing with itchy feet, I’ve found it to be really helpful to actively reprocess what I’ve experienced. Edit the photos you took, post them, print them out and create a travel album, where you can add little stories, memories or quotes from your trip. If you took any videos, create a small film that you can watch later or show your friends and family. And most importantly: Write about what you experienced (especially during your trip, too!). Later, you can read what you wrote, add new impressions or turn your ideas into a blog! Starting a blog has really helped me aswell!
# 5 Turn your room/apartment into your oasis!
There are some really easy ways to turn your room into an oasis of happiness. Paint your wall in a nice turquoise like the ocean, make your room nice and light, hang up some pictures of your travels or print out your favourite photo and frame it (You can download a free poster that I made in the sidebar on the right that you can download and print out). You can also bring something cool back from one of your trips to decorate your room with (Maybe a colourful blanket from Mexico or a little reminder of your trip to Italy..)! Whatever creates a good atmosphere!
#6 Get movin’!
When I travel I usually get loads of exercise, even if it’s just walking a lot while exploring a new place. This often falls short when you’re back in your routine. So, go outside, get on your bike, do yoga, go hiking, go to the gym, go dancing. Getting exercise in itself is of course really important but it will also give you a much better feeling towards life and yourself than if you’re just sitting at home. And of course, you can combine your exercises with a little trip (How about a little bicycle trip along the next river?).
#7 Make your favourite meals from the countries you love
Since I love Mexican and Spanish food, I’ll sometimes get all the ingredients and make those dishes myself. No matter if it’s a small selection of tapas for dinner, a paella-night with some friends or just some tacos every now and then- it’s always super yummy and gives me the feel of being in that particular country. Alternatively, if you have some more money at hand you can of course go out to a restaurant and try their international cuisine instead!
#8 Take a language course or take part in Tandem-lessons!
When I hear the Spanish language it literally makes me smile. I just love the sound of it and my mind automatically wanders off to far off places. If you feel the same way about a language or just always had the urge to learn a certain language- for instance the language of the country you want to travel to next- use the time you have at home to learn! You could take a course at your university, use an app like Babbel or Memrise and/or use the cheapest alternative: Take part in Tandem-Meetups, either with just one person (first you speak in your native language, then in the other’s language) or in a group (you can usually find Tandem-groups on Facebook for your city!). Either way, next time you travel you will be happy to be able to speak the language, even if it’s just the basics.
#9 Book your next trip!
No, I’m not saying you should book and then wait around for your trip, counting the days until the time’s finally arrived. But if I do have a trip coming up, I am, of course, still excited and it’s a good feeling to know that a new adventure is coming up.
#10 Savor the summer in your hometown!
Just last year I actually started spending the summer in my home town in Germany. Why travel during the summer when you can enjoy the summer in your home country? Driving to the next lake, going to festivals, staying out in warm summer nights with friends, setting up a tent nearby and sleeping outside.. I don’t know about your country, but Germany is amazing in the summer! I rather use the winter months to travel to further off destinations where it’s warm or the months in between to go to places that are a bit closer. If you like the cold and lots of snow- even better- use the winter to go snowboarding!
#11 Enjoy the time with friends and family!
Isn’t that the best thing about being home? Being able to see your friends and family? One of the few things I actually miss when I’m on the road. So take the time to spend with your loved ones when you’re home and really savor those moments!
# 12 Get out into nature!
At least in Germany we have some really beautiful parts. I honestly never thought about it before until I actually did some research and started going on some expeditions. When I traveled to Saxon Switzerland (which is in Germany!) for the first time last year, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I never knew we had such amazing things to see! If you are from Germany, I recommend the book “Unterwegs in Deutschland- Das große Reisebuch“. If not, find a similar travel book for your own country and just let the described places, tours and the pictures inspire you for your next trip or hike!
#13 Go on a date with yourself!
Ok, that might sound a bit weird. But think about this: When you travel around alone, you often go out and do things with other travelers or people you meet. But a large portion of the time you do things on your own. Walking around a new town, sitting in a bus by yourself going from place to place.. I always feel that at home I don’t take the time for myself that I do when I’m traveling. I might have time to myself every now and then, but actually going out and actively doing something by myself? That doesn’t happen enough, I think.
So, go on a date with yourself, go to a café, go sit down in a park somewhere or check out that exhibition you wanted to see and just enjoy some alone-time!
#14 Meet up with people outside of your circle!
One of the most valuable pointers I can give you, which I just recently learned myself: It is such a great experience to meet and meet up with people that aren’t in your circle of family and friends. Especially when these people are on the same wavelength as you and are maybe in the same phase of life (Maybe they are also passionate travelers or are building a business or whatever..). These people always inspire me a lot, especially because they give different input than friends and family might. And when traveling you also meet loads of new people, so why not do the same when you’re at home?
How do you deal with itchy feet (Haha, not a play on athlete’s foot!)? Do you have any other advice?