The more you travel, the more it gets under your skin. You only have to live on the road for a while, to realise it is just about the only way you could see yourself living. At least, that is what happened with me. Now my every waking moment is devoted to getting back on the road, and making sure I can stay travelling once I am.
I have, in this 18 month unplanned “intermission” between trips, become relatively adept at keeping myself sane by feeding my wanderlust with the following techniques.
If I never manage to get paid whilst travelling, I think I would have to go and work for Google maps, so I could be paid to daydream about travelling. It’s not a bad way to spend downtime. My knowledge of worldwide geography is pretty damn good now too.
Have a go at it, just go to google maps , zoom in on an area you think looks interesting, or that you know nothing about and when you get close enough, take the little man and drop him on one of the blue boxes that appear, it will start a slideshow of geotagged images from that location. Say goodbye to the next few hours of your life. 9/10 places then get added to my now huge “to-visit” list.
Alternatively, head to panoramio for the same effect (but with the pictures already there), better for the pictures, not for seeing the maps.
I also love the rough guides new site, great for cycling through pictures and inspiring yourself.
“Look at the normal with fresh eyes. Seek the extra-ordinary in the ordinary. Step away from the pleasant, unsurprising riverside picnic. Step away and slide down into the water. See the world from a different perspective. Be surprised.” – Alastair Humphreys
Getting away over the weekend can be vital. Sure, its not going to be adventurous as Hiking in the Rockys, big game fishing in the Gulf of Mexico or bartering in the floating markets, but it certainly beats sitting in.
Just getting out to the coast with a fishing rod often suffices for me, but recently, inspired by Alistair Humprey’s concept of MicroAdventures, I have found that setting a challenge for the weekend (or evening) can lead to great times.
Last weekend my brother and I reverted back 15 years-or so, and built a wild hut out of all natural materials (post to come). I have taken drift-wood from the beach to turn into furniture, been off-roading several times and camped up in the snow at -6, just to see if I could. In a few weeks some friends and I aim to kayak the length of Loch Lomond in 48 hours with just the clothes on our backs.
Whatever your cup of tea is, aim small and local, but get out there, you will be surprised at what you end up doing!
It’s hard to beat sitting in a pub with a fellow traveler and hashing out stories of experiences past.
“Remember the time we ran out of fuel in the Sahara?”
“Did I ever tell you about when I sat up all night debating the merits of Communism with one of Tito’s most avid supporters?”
“Yeah, did I tell you about when I was chased by a Lynx in the Canadian wilderness”?
Even if sharing and listening to others experiences somehow does not inspire you, a night in the pub with a like-minded person never goes down badly.
All the daydreaming in the world is only eventually good for one thing. Planning your next trip. I don’t like to plan too much. But certain things are inevitable. Even if your next trip isn’t for 2 years, researching visas and jabs etc is an “the earlier the better” kinda thing. Even if, like me, planning is not your cup of tea, destination research, as well as research into history and culture of the places you hope one day to visit, is never time wasted.
Reading about the adventures of others is, for those afflicted with an insatiable desire to travel, a mixed bag of torture and awe. On the one hand nothing makes you quite lament your 9-5 as much as reading about those who are living the life that you want, on the other hand, knowing that there are people out there keeps you inspired and keeps you pushing on towards the dream!
It is said that an overland vehicle is never finished, that was certainly true in our case. I was chronically and annoyingly pulling into Balkan DIY stores to get bits and pieces for my latest idea. Ok, so it isn’t quite everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, it doesn’t get much more satisfying than designing, building, modifying, bolting and welding parts to the aid the vehicle that will carry you around the world. You can see some of my innovations here
There are no shortage of challenges that face the traveller, overland or otherwise. As such there are a hundred avenues in which the traveller can then be constantly learning new skills, honing the old ones and generally becoming a better person. Ideas for things to learn and practice to assist you in travel; First aid, languages, self defence, hunting, survival, mechanics, digital skills. The list for the digital nomad/overlander is never-ending. At least through the pursuit of these skills, you feel gratified in knowing that you are furthering yourself, as well as your final aim.