8 Ways to Travel Without Ever Traveling

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We all went away this past weekend. My boyfriend went back to Chicago for the Bears’ game. My roommate went camping in Marble Canyon for her birthday. My other roommate headed to Zion National Park with a permit to climb the most beautiful “Subway” in the world.

As for me, well, I stayed put. And thankfully so. It’s been months, possibly years that I have had a weekend to myself with no agenda. I have to admit, it was rather nice.

World's Largest Route 66 Mural. Holbrook, ArizonaI know all I really talk about on here is how much I want to travel away from whatever my current “here” is.

My mind is constantly flooded with the possible travel plans to:

–live in Colorado and become a ski bum

–take off for Australia for no good reason

–spend a year traversing South America

–teach English abroad in an exotic land

–head to a tropical island and bartend on a sunny beach

All of the above travel dreams will most likely never happen. It took some time to heal from the pain of those words, but I think I’m OK now. I think . . .

I know I love to travel. I know I dream about travel. But the reality is, I can’t always jet away. I have to stay put. I have a job I like that gives me a steady paycheck. One moment I am fine with all these steady things, but then this negative voice in my head screams,

“Why aren’t you in Europe right now?”

“Why can’t you get a job abroad like some of your college friends?”

“If you don’t buy that ‘round-the-world ticket now, you’ll never be young enough again to do it!”

“ENOUGH!” I say.

Part of the pain of wanderlust is always thinking “there” is better than “here.” The grass-is-always-greener mentality. The trick is to know that you are exactly where you are meant to be. Travel is a great escape. But sometimes we don’t always have the money or PTO to get out into the world. We don’t have to because we can travel without traveling. Enter my being-realistic-about-travel manifesto:

We don’t have to go far to marvel at something.

We don’t have to change time zones to change our perspective.

We don’t have to go to a faraway land to get close to our true selves.

We don’t have to stamp our passports to leave a mark on anything or anyone.

 “Travel is not about the distance we go to, but the destination in ourselves we get to.” ~ Katie Eigel (You read enough travel quotes, and one day you start spitting them out left and right.)

Yup, that's me. Through the Looking GlassSo while my roommates and boyfriend were conquering canyoneering and sport spectating feats, I was arriving at important destinations within myself while traveling about 2 miles north of my apartment.

Instead of thinking how amazing the balmy breeze of a Balinese beach feels–and how jealous I am of my cousin who is there right now–I went around the traveler’s jealously and made the most of my own backyard.

(Probably saved $2K, as well.)

I made my “here” just as valuable as any “there” I could dream up with:

 8 Ways to Travel Without Ever Traveling

1. Enjoy the bounty of the season in your area. 

If I were back in the Midwest, I would be eating Honeycrisp apples, drinking homemade apple cider and carving a pumpkin from the farm down the road.

Here in Arizona, the different climate allows for a bounty of 80-degree, sun-drenched days. Whatever Mother Nature is sending your way, embrace it.

My running route. Flagstaff, Arizona2. Listen to live music.  

Music in and of itself has a way to transport us to a different place. Let it.

This Sunday, I strolled onto this local strumming his six-string for a crowd at one of the breweries in town. Not only could I listen to something new, but I met some new people in the process.

Patio Party at Flagstaff Brewing Co.3. Eat something new.

Either dive into a brand new culinary excursion in your own kitchen, or pay the tip to have someone else prepare it for you.

Travel is a sensory experience. Travel without traveling can be just as sensual and rewarding.

Far West Fungi. San Fran Ferry Building.4. Drink something new. 

Wine. A bottle is a living, breathing representation of the area from which it came from. The soil. The sun. The weather. And the tender love and care of the area’s wine making that has been past on through the generations.

Uncorking a bottle from an appellation you’ve never tasted will bring you to that place sip by sip. You can heighten the sensory experience by combining #3 with this one–cook or eat the food unique to that region, as well.

Vino Loco. Flagstaff, Arizona.5. Explore art.

Do this at a museum, a workshop or a gallery. Or make your own in your home.  Art is a universal expression of inward perspective. Find yours or someone else’s.

Colorful Native American bead art. 6. Hang out where travelers do.

Spend some time at the train station, hotel lobbies or local coffee shops. (Note: Don’t be creepy, there’s a line when it comes to people watching.) Take a pad and paper and jot down ideas, inspirations or future travel plans.

Taking time to watch the world go by will make you feel like you are moving along with it.

Flagstaff Arizona Train Station.7. Go to your local library and check out some travel books.

In the age of e-readers, this might sounds silly, but there’s something to seeing big glossy travel photos up close and personal that aren’t delivered to your eyes digitally.

 Lonely Planet 1000 Ultimate Experiences

8. Watch the sunrise. 

Watching our closest star rise and fall is a mainstay of vacations. Doing it in your hometown will conjure up similar feelings.

I suggest the sunrise because it starts your day by shifting you into a different perspective from the get go, and it gives you the rest of the day to conquer.

Sunrise at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Point Sublime.How do you arrive at your destination without going the distance?

How do you travel without traveling?


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  • Heather Montgomery, Product Launch Dreams

    I totally know what you mean about not needing to go far. My husband and I went to 2 art galleries in San Francisco on Sunday. We are right up the road – less than an hour away and have yet to enjoy most of the quintessential City fun.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    – H

  • Lisa Powell, Author & Serial Traveler

    Loved this post Katie! Such an important reminder that we can “travel and explore the world” wherever we are. So often, we fail to appreciate the beauty in our own backyards, yearning to be elsewhere. I think we *all* fall prey sometimes to the “grass is greener over there” syndrome…

    I’m sure your life will continue to be filled with travels and adventures of all kinds, near and far… I look forward to continuing to see how it unfolds!


    p.s. LOVED this too: “Travel is not about the distance we go to, but the destination in ourselves we get to.” Amen! :)

  • Katie

    You’re too kind! I’ll try to tell my boyfriend that one :)

  • Katie

    Thanks, Cath!

    Great advice.
    I feel like I teeter between being a dreamer and a realist sometimes. I will try your suggestions and see what answers surface. Thanks!

    • Love this post by the way — and I always love your images. I think people would love to follow you and your camera around because you seem like that person everyone wants to hang with and have fun.


  • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

    So I would ask you … what were the things you loved to play at growing up? Where did time disappear and you were lost in yourself?

    “What moves you, moves you towards genius,” Gina Rudan.

    There is a very real reason travel calls you and getting to the bottom of why will help you figure out what to do about it.

    Gina would say that vacations (and in your case, travel) are good at recharging your batteries and reengaging you with your more authentic self because you pick everything you do when you travel to indulge your passions, your physical desires, and your intellectual curiosities.

    You’re more relaxed and open, feeling risk-frisky. You are experiencing “input mode”. You are feeding your soul.

    Whereas in our daily lives we tend to manage time turning our attention to what we think we must produce or accomplish. Routine replaces enrichment, as you turn your attention to tasks that do not include items like “seek adventure” — like a bike ride at sunset. You are in output mode.

    And I think these mini-adventures listed in your post here might be just the type of things you should explore everyday. Have a picnic on your lunch hour. Leave for work 45 minutes earlier and go a completely different, longer route that you haven’t seen before.

    I think if you bring mini-adventures into your everyday you might find the answers you are seeking. They could make for some great posts.

    Take your camera :-)