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6 Ways To Satisfy Your Wanderlust When You Can’t Travel

Those of us with a hunger for adventure often find ourselves limited by things like time, money, and the ability to drop everything and travel.  While a life of constant travel would undoubtedly provide an ideal canvas for many adventurous experiences, most of us find that, unfortunately, that sort of a lifestyle is a little unrealistic.  So how else can adventure-seekers and wanderlusters quench their thirst for exploration during their down time?

This challenge is something that I am faced with all the time.  While I have been fortunate enough to do a fair bit of traveling throughout my short 22 years, I now find myself in a place where I have (ridiculous amounts of) bills to pay, important commitments, and a full-time career, that I actually take seriously, which requires me to stay in one place.

Here are a few ways that I have adjusted my day-to-day routine to incorporate a little more spark to my life and to satisfy (or at least satiate, for a while) my hunger for adventure when I can’t actually get on a plane.


1. Make the Most of your Days Off

This one may seem obvious, but I can think back to several occasions where I have let my precious 48 hours away from work come and go with no real reward, and instead spent them doing laundry, cleaning my apartment, running errands and doing other things that are less than exciting.  In my experience, I have found that, by committing to a plan for at least one of your days off, whether that means a day drive, a hike, or an afternoon spent exploring a new neighbourhood in my city – I am persuaded to get the cumbersome “chores” finished up on the days that I’m already working anyway.  It may add to an already hectic workweek, but when the weekend finally comes around and you realize that you have nothing to do but get out and enjoy it, it will all be worth it.

Visiting the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary
Visiting the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary

2. Be a Tourist in your own Backyard

If you’ve done any amount of traveling, then you’ve probably met somebody along the way who asked you tons of questions about your home country, or maybe even your home city.  They may have asked you what it was like to live in New York City, or if you’ve been to Niagara Falls.  More often than not, the people I meet abroad would give anything to visit North America to see all of the spectacular things that this part of the world has to offer.  Be careful not to overlook all of the beauty and adventure that awaits you right within your own country, state, city, or even your neighbourhood.  If you’ve never checked out your city or town’s official website, or searched your own area on TripAdvisor, I strongly suggest that you do.  You will probably discover tons of attractions and experiences that you didn’t even realize existed, like the time I planned a Stay-Cation here in Calgary and ended up spending the most incredible day out at the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary.  Life is all about perspective, and just because you can’t go far, does not mean that you can’t still experience amazing new things.

Riding through Fish Creek Park in Calgary - literally my back yard
Riding through Fish Creek Park in Calgary – literally my back yard


3. Take Full Advantage of Business Travel

Going on a week-long trip to a conference somewhere you’ve never been before?  Why not extend your trip by a day or two in order to explore the area a little more?  This works especially well if your company is footing the bill for your flights…it most likely won’t make a difference in the cost if you choose to stay a few extra days.  So take a few vacation days or stay in town for your days off and see some of the local sights!  This is something I am planning on doing to my upcoming trip to California for a business-related class.

On a recent trip to Los Angeles for a course, I took an extra 4 days off and hopped on the Amtrak to San Diego.  Not only was it a great way to take advantage of my flights, but I also discovered my new favourite American city.

Balboa Park -
Taking in the beauty of Balboa Park in San Diego



4. Connect with Like-Minded People

Surround yourself with positive, life-loving people who also want to fill their spare time full of adventures and awesome experiences.  Not only will this provide you with a kickass group of friends who will most likely be great human beings, but it will also open up a bunch of new opportunities to try things you may have not otherwise thought of.  Join a travel collective on Facebook, (such as this one if you’re a girl) or connect with others on Instagram or Twitter.

I met every single one of these girls through Instagram and Facebook.


5. Try New Things Constantly

Step out of your comfort zone whenever you can, whether that means hitting a new restaurant on a Saturday night, taking an outdoor climbing class, buying that Groupon for a Paint Night or booking the overseas tour of your dreams.  Shake up your routine and try something different.  You won’t regret it.

Spending the day exploring Elbow Falls, only a 40 minute drive from my front door
Spending the day exploring Elbow Falls, only a 40 minute drive from my front door


6. Start an Adventure Fund

In the mean time, contributing to an “Adventure Fund” can help move you one baby step closer to your next trip every single day.  This is something I’ve been doing since I started dating my boyfriend, Sean.  Every time I stop myself from spending money on something that I really don’t need, I try to make a mental note of it and transfer the amount of money that I would have wasted on silly things into my Adventure Fund instead.  Those $5 a day lattes, shoes you will only wear once, and mediocre nights out on the town can really add up over time…maybe they will even add up to going towards paying for your next vacation.

My “Adventure Fund” slowly grew enough to take me to Costa Rica on my first Solo Trip

What are some of the ways that you incorporate adventure and exploration into your everyday life when you aren’t able to travel?

Ashley Dempster is a twenty-something Canadian Travel and Adventure blogger based in Calgary, Canada. Her passions include good food, minimalist packing, running, music, and chasing down every opportunity for adventure.


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