The Ultimate Survival Guide for the Travel Bug

The Ultimate Survival Guide for the Travel Bug
By Michelle Thomas


Stuck at home when the travel bug bites? Here’s your ultimate survival guide

So is the plight of an eternal wanderer, no matter how content our circumstances, we're always on the hunt for our next adventure. There’s something that happens when you become inducted into the life of a nomad, once that first trip is taken, you are forever changed. Day-to-day life at home becomes overshadowed with a reminder that there is a wealth of culture, food, and adventure out there yet to experience. When you have left your heart all over the world, the strong desire for adventure turns you into a travel-prepper, always having an emergency kit with your passport and travel gear within grabbing distance.

When a travel bug bites, you catch yourself yearning to forget the travel agency, take all your money and become a hitchhiker off the beaten path, some place completely new. You want to participate and learn and grow, you create a bucket list and will tick it all off even if it means travelling alone

person in desert with orange TV on his/her head

Have You Got the Travel Bug Sickness?

For the travelling addict, effective treatment for a travel bug is a few clicks of a mouse and a pack of a backpack away. But what if despite having a strong desire for difference, you’re stuck at home? Right now, we’re all in the same boat, the forced border closures of COVID-19 have removed any chance of a holiday within your own city, let alone another country. Being forced to stay at home has left us all feeling the sting of an un-remedied travel bug.  But this experience is not unique, the travel bug will bite again with the same terrible timing, and you’ll find yourself struggling at the look of your empty travel journal. It may come at a time when you don’t have enough money to take a break from work, you may be studying, or you may be needed at home too much to leave. Whatever the reason is, a travel bug left unsatiated connects us all though our pursuit for more, and the suffering that comes from not receiving it. 

Symptoms of the Travel Bug

To cure yourself from the bug, you must first determine if you are infected. The travel bug is an easy sickness to diagnose with some obvious key symptoms. These symptoms include bouts of restlessness throughout day-to-day life, spending excessive amounts of time woefully reminiscing past travel experiences over old travel journal entries, and feeling pangs of jealousy watching holiday adverts. Another key symptom is keeping your passport and essentials in an easily accessible spot for a quick grab-and-go when the time strikes.  If you have one or all these symptoms, you are in definite need of a remedy for the travel bug.

man in living room dancing with scarf on his head

What Are Some Ways I Can Entertain the Travel Bug Until I Can Travel Again?

Just because you’re prevented from travelling doesn’t mean you can’t tame the travel bug. I’m not sure if anyone has ever told you this, but you don’t actually need to spend a month travelling alone in South America to fix the travel bug. The same feelings of newness, openness and excitement that come from a new travel experience can be replicated at home. 

Explore Your Own Backyard

This may seem a little superfluous considering you see your local area all the time, but have you ever tried to look at your backyard through the eyes of a wanderer? Forget your passport and instead venture out to your local parks, hiking trails and beaches for a unique experience. A way to get you started is by going Geocaching, the worldwide treasure hunt that gives you the opportunity to look a little closer and see things you may not have noticed before. Geocaching can also help you ‘virtually travel’ by tracking travel bug tags and geocoins as they are found and placed in new caches. There’s a strange sense of excitement that comes from vicariously living though a travelling keychain; sometimes all you need for your next adventure is wifi. 

Meditate 

There’s no travel destination more unique and wondrous as where meditation can take you. Escape the forces of space and time as you go inward and release the travel bug through an infinite source of light and joy. The same feelings of wisdom, openness and connectedness that results from travel can be sourced and magnified from the comfort of your own home. Plus, if you struggle with sitting still, and practicing more traditional types of meditation, you can try a meditation envision exercise. Envision yourself bronzing in Hawaii, snowboarding in New Zealand or road tripping in the United States. Write a travel journal about your celestial journey as a bookmark of the experience you can return to at any time. 

Research Your Next Destination

Depending on your circumstances there’s a good chance that even if you may not be able to travel now, you’ll get the opportunity at some point in the future and when that time comes, you’ll want to be ready. When you have left your heart all over the world it can be hard to decide where to go next, spend this time preparing your bucket list. Become your own travel agent by researching the best things about your future destination and plan what your journey will look like. Travel research is beneficial in supporting your mental wellbeing, generating feelings of excitement for the next time you can pack your gear and go. 

man in blue suit going into a green bush

Create Playlists of Past Adventures

Music is an incredibly powerful medium to induce nostalgia of past travel experiences and place you back in a familiar mind frame. Put on that song that takes you back to the morning you spent jumping off waterfalls in Luang Prabang alongside fellow travellers. Or a song that reminds you of a local community you visited. Create a Spotify playlist with songs that remind you of times past, find a quiet private place, listen to the music and let it transport you back to fond memories and familiar feelings from the past. For inspiration, check out Wakeful Travel's playlists on Spotify.

Watch Documentaries

An important part of ecotourism and mindful travel is understanding the history and culture of your destination. To understand the significance of where you are standing is to create a deep respect of the ancestors who came before you. Watching documentaries of your next travel destination can give you great insights into what life used to be like, as well as the existing customs, traditions, and ways of living. It can also give you some awesome ideas of key experiences in the area. Just because you can’t travel right now doesn’t mean you can’t feed the travel bug by preparing yourself for your next journey. The more you know about a place, the deeper your respect and the more you will get out of the trip, so start now. 

Have an Online Experience

Airbnb has found the prefect way to let you experience the world right from your phone or computer through their new Online Experiences platform. Just in the same way as you would book in a cooking class or a tour with a travel agent, Airbnb is doing the same online, all you’ll need is some Wi-Fi. Wine tasting with experienced sommeliers in the United States, art and graffiti tours in South America, private yoga with an Olympic snowboarder in New Zealand, plus many more throughout Hawaii, Italy, the UK and more. If you love travelling alone this provides you with the ultimate privacy in the comfort of your own home.

Another surprising online experience can be found on Google Maps. Google Maps and Google Earth can help you get lost just as easily as it directs you on your path. Spend some time meandering through various cities and countries, it will help you buff up on your geography, but you can also use street view to take a virtual walkthrough down the streets of your chosen location. Street view is a lot less ‘manicured’ than other virtual tour sites and with no false adverts you get to really see what it looks like on a regular day in the life of a town.

Connect With Your Friends

A big part of leaving your heart all over the world isn’t just about missing the experience of travel, but rather missing the connections you have along the way. A way to help remedy a travel bug is to spend some time connecting with friends you’ve met overseas. Not only does it increase feelings of connection, but it allows you to virtually travel into the homes of your international friends. A fun thing to do is to ask your friends to go on a ‘FaceTime walk’ with you, you can show one another the local parks and streets to see what day-to-day life is like. After all, the crux of a travel bug is a disconnect between what you have and what you want, so experiencing connection is the prefect antidote. 

Try Something New at Home

Novelty is a huge part of travel. When we travel, we feel as though we find ourselves’, but what we are truly doing is distancing ourselves from our everyday distractions, to give ourselves the time to assess what’s important. Maybe instead of finding the next adventure, we just need to do things a little differently, to gain that newness, to learn new things and to discover a bit more about ourselves. After all, they say change is as good as a holiday. Try a new fitness regime, practice yoga, paint, write a letter to yourself and hide it to find later, practice a new self-love technique, try cooking something new, practice mindfulness, challenge yourself. Great things can come from micro-steps of self-discovery, and you don’t need a one-way ticket or lots of money to do it.

Write a Bucket List

What are all the things you wish you could do before you kick the bucket? Perhaps it’s trying your hand at travelling alone, maybe it’s to be a hitchhiker, maybe it’s to accrue all the stamps in your passport? Initially writing a list like this might make a travel bug worse, as a cruel reminder of all the things you can’t do right now. But as you dig a little deeper you’ll find some other things on that list like developing a new skill, learn some self-love, do an act of kindness for someone else, learn a new language or even write a book. Travel often gives us a sense of achievement, a sense of growth. Through the process of developing a bucket list you can find things done at home that produces that same sense of growth as your next adventure. Oh, and it just so happens that a travel bucket list is included in the Wakeful Travel Journal.

retro photo of legs and a skateboard

The Tavel bug is a Mind Game

It can be tough when the travel bug bites, your symptoms can become so severe that being at home can feel like torture. But I hope that through reading this article, you can see that the feelings and experiences elicited by travel don’t need to actually come from getting on a plane. You can bury into the depths of your consciousness, challenge yourself beyond belief and come out the other end a new person with a new outlook on life – without ever leaving your home. Beauty is everywhere, there’s a new lesson, a new experience, and a new outlook to be had in every space, even one you've been in every day – perhaps even more so.

The time to travel will come around once again, and you’ll be ready, passport and travel journal in hand. 

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