If you’re anything like me and you’re in between overseas adventures, you’re probably suffering a serious case of post holidays blues. I was there too – until I found a way to satisfy my wanderlust at home.
At its core, travel is about exploration. Getting out of your comfort zone. Trying something new. Seeing sights that take your breath away. When was the last time you saw something new where you live?
Travelling overseas has made me more curious about the country I call home. Australia has a lot on offer and just because you have a full time job, doesn’t mean you can’t explore and travel – you can find something new by driving only an hour or two from home. You’re still going to see somewhere you haven’t set eyes on before.
By Wednesday each week, I have a plan of how I’m going to spend my weekend – and it’s always to somewhere I haven’t been before. By the time Friday rolls around, I’m itching to get outdoors and explore. I’m never bored, I’m active and I’m making the most of my weekends.
Here’s my tips on how you can satisfy your wanderlust and ‘travel’ in your own backyard without setting foot out of your own country.
Plan to see somewhere new each week
Make time to see somewhere new each week. The daily grind of a 9-5 job doesn’t mean you don’t have the opportunity to explore. It might just be a local walking trail, a local beach or find a mountain to climb – or even just a new bar to try.
Somewhere new is closer than you think if you take the time to look. Find a website that details things to do in your city – you’ll be amazed at what you can find to do.
Take a hike
It doesn’t cost much to go hiking, it’s good exercise and more often than not, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views.
Australia is blessed with hundreds of national parks and bushland reserves – and often you don’t have to look far to find a worthwhile hike. And it’s not just Australia, there’s fabulous hikes all over the world – I’ve done some great ones in Norway, Scotland, France, Italy and Poland for example.
Back in Australia, I’ve seen some pretty impressive landscapes only a few hours’ drive from my house.
Do your research, make a plan and use your weekends to head out on a hike. You’re sure to discover somewhere beautiful.
A great way to explore your own city is to housesit. Housesitting gives you the opportunity to live in a different suburb every couple of weeks and discover great new cafes, restaurants, parks, bushland reserves and walking paths.
I’ve been housesitting for the past three months across Brisbane and discovered suburbs I’ve never ventured into even though I’ve lived in the Brisbane area most of my life.
I love discovering new parts of Brisbane every couple of weeks – and even though I’m not seeing amazing sights every day, it gives me time to recharge the batteries before the next adventure while still discovering new sights, tastes and activities. It helps to satisfy that wanderlust just a little.
Head out on a road trip
Use your weekends and public holidays wisely and head out on a road trip. Pick a direction and travel to a place you’ve never been before.
Over the Easter long weekend, I travelled six hours north of Brisbane to a town called Agnes Waters. People were asking me why I was driving so far and why there. My reply – because it’s there, I’ve never been and I’ve heard good things about it. I was in my home state but I was travelling. I was seeing a place I’d never seen before, staying in a hostel, and taking surfing lessons. Just because you’re not hopping on a plane, doesn’t mean you’re not travelling. And I had an absolutely great time!
Check out local markets
Try something new by visiting a new market every weekend. Pick up fresh produce, check out the handicraft of local people, and explore a suburb you haven’t been before.
Markets are even a great place to try different types of food – so you can get a taste of Vietnam or France for example.
Once you start looking, I bet you’ll find there’s dozens of markets in your local area every weekend.
Try different cuisines
While restaurants at home don’t come close to the experience and taste of trying local dishes in their country of origin, you can still satisfy your taste buds and maybe even try dishes from a country you’ve never been too. Seek out local restaurants offering dishes from a country you’ve never been – what about some Ethiopian Atkilt Wot or Nepalese Dal Bhat?
Have a search around your suburb to see what’s around or head over to the local market. There’s always food stalls offering dishes from around the world at local markets. There’s one market I go to regularly just for the Hungarian langos (fried bread usually topped with sour cream and cheese).
Fly to somewhere you haven’t been before – in your own country
Travel your own country. I’m often surprised when I meet locals who tell me I’ve seen more of their country than they have their whole lives.
Even many Australians haven’t travelled much of their own country. (I’m still missing that big bit in the middle!)
There’s nothing like a spontaneous getaway. Set up alerts with airlines and keep an eye out for special deals. Australian airlines like Virgin Australia and Jetstar regularly release great deals for flights to capital cities and even places like Cairns or Hamilton Island.
Travelling in your own country may also mean you can travel cheap. Let your Facebook friends know where you’re headed and you may find someone who lives there or knows a friend there and you might even be able to score a couch to sleep on and your own tour guide.
Keep an eye on websites offering discounts
I’ve signed up to websites such as Groupon and Living Social that offer discounts on restaurants, travel, hotels, and fun activities.
These deals are a great way to save money and do things you may not have done otherwise. Taking a look at the Groupon site while writing this article, there were discounts on activities such as horse riding, whale watching cruise, Italian cooking class, skydiving, tiger moth flights and a microbrewery tour.
So don’t just say one day – go out and explore this wonderful world!