It’s 9 am on a Monday and I am in work with a severe case of post-weekend blues. Rather than dealing with the relentless influx of emails, phone calls and the ever increasing pile of paperwork which is building up on my desk, I am procrastinating by scrolling absent-mindedly through my Facebook news feed. I feel a familiar stab of jealousy as a friends’ most recent post appears, showcasing the next instalment of their envy inducing trip across the world.
In a haze of self-pity and in a bid to further delay the start of my work week, I am clearly a glutton for punishment because I keep scrolling through the pictures. I stop at a picture of a place I recognise, Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, which takes me right back to 2011 when I was there myself. The evidence of amazing beaches, temples and mountains are a far cry from my own view of Liverpool as I glance out of my office window on this standard cold, bleak January day, before snapping straight back to reality as my boss summons me with an urgent job to deal with.
I bet most of you have experienced the overwhelming desire to hit the road but for whatever reason, life’s circumstances have kicked in and you just can’t right now. So in this blog, I’d like to show you how YOU can travel during the times when you’re not actually able to.
1. Join Couchsurfing
The relentless strains of the typical 9-5 can really be counteracted by offering your couch, spare room or floor to a CouchSurfer who is passing through your area.
Hosting is an excellent way to meet people from new places that you would NEVER come into contact with in your day to day life. By helping a CouchSurfer in need of a place to crash, you are doing your bit to help the backpacking community, while you’re caught up in circumstance.
Even if you can’t host or don’t fancy it, you can always try going to one of the CouchSurfing meet ups nearby, where you are guaranteed to meet a vast array of new and interesting characters.
The beauty of hosting for me is – who knows where it will lead? At the very least, you will more than likely have an awesome cultural exchange and learn something new from them. But you may really hit it off and gain a friend for life and a reciprocal invite to their home town. The opportunities are endless!
Showing your guest around your city and examining it through their eyes can really re-invigorate your appreciation for your current location as you watch them gaze around with wonder. You’ll find that you are suddenly elevated to a country expert as you happily share your natural cultural insight with your guest.
2. Help Podstel
Podstel is The World’s First CrowdSourced Hostel. That means we need YOUR input and we want you to contribute to and help found our legacy, even if you can’t help us out in person.
I first contacted the Team a several months ago because I liked the look of what they were doing and since then, I’ve been helping them in loads of new, fun and interesting ways which has been so enjoyable. Working on Podstel in my free time has really helped me to deal with my current circumstances where I am not able to get up and go.
If you want to be involved and want to find out more about what you can do, I would really encourage you to contact us as we’d love to hear what you’ve got to say!
3. Re-connect with friends on the road
Instead of sinking into a state of jealous self-pity when you see a friends’ travel post on social media, why not send them a message to see how they’re getting on?
They may be planning to visit somewhere you’ve been before and you can help them out loads by giving them the low down on where’s good to go. They’ll probably be pretty grateful and who knows where this new connection will lead?
I recently saw that a friend who I’d met in a hostel in Prague last summer was planning a trip to Europe. I hadn’t spoken to him since we parted ways, but I reached out to him on the off-chance that he was coming to England, so that we could meet up again. He wasn’t – but he had a couple of spare days and ended up booking a ticket anyway! It was so awesome to catch up with someone who I never expected to see again and hear all about what they’d been up to on their travels.
It’s one hell of a bummer when life’s circumstances get in the way and prevent you doing what you want to do, but why not make the meantime as awesome as possible and see if you can travel too, when you’re not actually travelling.
Feel free to join in on the discussion below by adding your comments and ideas.