It’s summertime, and when school is out people vacation. It seems like all your friends travel to the beach, and if you’re college-aged, PLENTY study abroad. Now, for those of us not fortunate enough to whip out our passports, our summer is whittled down to stalking friends’ Instagrams or Facebook albums with an all-encompassing sadness as our consolation prize.
There is absolutely nothing more disheartening than realizing there is an actual world out there you cannot fully experience. However, there are ways of pretending to travel.
This is the Cheapskate’s Guide to Wanderlust.
Step 1: Accept Your Immobility
You will not go to the Bahamas. London is not calling you, or at least lost your number. You must now move on to step 2. It’s hard to accept, I know. *Pats head*
Step 2: Planning Your Cultural Experience
This step is key. I mean, it is your ingenuity here that can help you enjoy your time exactly where you are. Pick a destination. Use a globe (do people still have globes? I’m sure there’s an app for that) or if you know right off the bat which country or city you’d like to experience, just go with that. As a picky eater, I tend to pick countries whose cuisine I won’t hate. Whatever works for your adventuring soul, honestly.
Step 3: Travel With a Buddy
Everybody knows travelling can get lonely over time, so have a couple of friends join in on a backpacking trip without the hostel smell. Trust me, it’ll be more fun this way.
Step 4: Use Your Imagination
- There are many facets of travel that I find exciting: Planes! Suitcases! Different languages!Pick what you most enjoy about your travels and tailor your semi-homemade travel experience to that.Take fake passport photos and create a fake passport. As you “visit” different countries and experience all these cultures, stamp or check off milestones. It’s a fun way to make memories and have, like, actual documents. Go all out and dress up like TSA if you really want.
- Do you like the food? Find some recipes and recreate them from scratch! Nothing will satiate your hunger for travel quite like international dishes.
- What alcohol do the locals imbibe? Try making some staple cultural cocktails, but stay away from the molotov type.
- Is it the full exposure into another language that you crave? There are a ton of YouTube videos and channels out there to help you learn key phrases and help you better understand, literally, what you’d be experiencing. Travel Linguist can help with a variety of languages so you can feel not at home.
- Is it their artwork that draws you? Try learning about artists you admire from your chosen destination! Maybe even go as far as to recreate some of your favorite works of theirs!
- Think about embodying the part. Play the role! Dress like the locals would, and give yourself the illusion that you belong there, though you may be oceans apart. No one is stopping you from adopting an accent for a day.
- Pick some of their famous foreign films and hold a screening. Try to pick several films over several decades and examine the cultural changes. Subtitles are your best friend here.
- Make a playlist of the music you’d hear: traditional, classical, their national anthem, and modern artists, too.
- Find some literature. Reading poetry or novels from a certain culture can be eye opening and fun, though challenging if you’d intend on reading War and Peace or something of that caliber.
These are just a few ideas to get your brain blasting, but traveling is rough on your wallet. Being cultured comes at a hefty price and sometimes you’re unwilling to pay it. This is a happy compromise where you can get together with people, if you so choose, and get to know a world you may not have otherwise known.