You know what it is. It’s that icky feeling you get when you can’t satiate a burning hunger to get away. When hit with a hard case of this particular bug, I personally feel a little trapped – almost claustrophobic, anxious, easily distracted, and forgetful. While driving alone in my car my mind will wander a little and before you know it I’m calculating the miles and hours to Provincetown, Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., or the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Vermont. Can I make it there and back before my next shift at work? Should I just call out of work for the next couple days? Do I know anyone there and would they let me crash at their place? What’s the local hostel like? I’ll just buy another toothbrush when I get there.
Tell me there’s a cure
Unfortunately, the only known cure for the Travel Bug is bona fide TRAVEL. Although, there are some remedies which will temporarily ease the symptoms.
Jackie, a seasoned traveler whom I had the pleasure of meeting when she visited my old roommate in California, suggested in a recent post on her blog, The Budget Minded Traveler, to 1. read books set in far off places, 2. give yourself a taste of where you want to go by eating or drinking something native to your desired destination, and 3. make a plan to get there SOON.
Step one I’ve got down. I read a lot. In fact, I always have roughly 3-4 books going at the same time. I’m such a slow reader, too, so it takes me awhile to finish a book. Unless it’s The Hunger Games Trilogy or a Dan Brown book…
Here are some books set in various places which I’ve enjoyed reading:
- Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Into the Wild by John Krakauer
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
- Snow flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Some more you might like to check out that are on my to-read list:
- Dinner with Persephone: Travels in Greece by Patricia Storage
- Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
- My Life in France by Julia Child
- Peony In Love by Lisa See
- The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
- In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
There’s a ton more, so check out this Popular Travel Books list on Goodreads, too!
As for step 2, eating food from your desired destination, I’m often disappointed with food I eat out because it’s usually too salty for my taste. I frequently make a homemade curry dish, noodle bowl, or homemade sushi (veggie rolls, no raw seafood for this gal). This also saves a lot of money, too! 😉 I even make my own pasta and sauce when I’m craving an authentic Italian meal, instead of going to a restaurant. One of my top ten purchases of my adult life would be my pasta machine. I’ve seen some pasta machines go for relatively cheap, like this one, or pretty darn expensive, like this one, but I scored mine for a mere $20.
So, what else do I do to ease my no-fly pain?
With my current mission to pay off the last of my credit cards I am land locked. There are a few more things I do to trick myself into feeling like I’ve been on the move. I just realized that I’m essentially an armchair traveler for at least the next year of my life! Here are some more tips:
Talk travel with tourists
I live in an extremely tourist-heavy corner of the planet. People come from all over the country and all over the world to see where I had the good fortune to be born and raised. As a server in a seafood restaurant in downtown Hyannis, I have the opportunity to chat people up about their home towns and countries. This summer I’ve been keeping a list of the countries where my customers were visiting from. Aside from the US, I have had conversations with folks from Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, China, Japan, Nepal, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. Talking to them about where they live and why they came to visit Cape Cod allows me to live vicariously in their traveling shoes.
Be a tourist!
There’s lots of things and places on Cape Cod that I have yet to do or see even after living here for 20+ years. Just a couple weeks ago was the first time I’d ever walked down Main Street in Wellfleet! My list of touristy things to do on Cape Cod keeps growing by the day. Since I moved back to the Cape I’ve been running to all corners of the place exploring and taking those cheesy photos that only tourists take. Why not, right? Tourists are taking those photos for a reason – it’s beautiful and deserves to be preserved and appreciated!
I say go be a tourist, but one of my favorite quotes basically says the opposite. “The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton
I still say go be a tourist!
I drive down unfamiliar roads. Not all Frost-like as in taking the road less traveled, but literally driving down roads I’ve never driven down before. In new and familiar towns, I will drive down and around small neighborhood roads, get lost, and try to find my way back to the main road. By doing this I teach myself shortcuts and different routes to places I frequent.
Getting lost has never made me nervous. I’ve always had a pretty good sense of direction, and I love maps. I’ve mentioned that before, right? Maybe that’s why Geography chose me in college.