I always loved family gatherings when I was little- too many people talking too loudly, too much good food everywhere you looked, too many cooks in the kitchen, too many people running every which way- it was glorious! But one of my absolute favorite things was the tales my great-uncle would tell of what, at the time, seemed like far off lands, travels and his life abroad. Those stories took a hold in my heart somewhere and never quite let go. They were the catalyst that would one day be sparked to life by the family road trips of my youth and consequently ignite into a full fledged burning desire to see every corner of the world.
Despite all this, there was a time, in the not so distant past, where frequent traveling, especially abroad, just wasn't an option. Since traveling is important for both Mr. RC and I, we worked hard and planned diligently to incorporate it into our lives. For us, that means, we spend less on material things and going out to eat and foregoing birthday and Christmas gifts for each other in favor of taking trips. For some, however, travel just isn't an option, no matter which way you work it or what you sacrifice. Kids, mortgages, work, car repairs...they can get in the way for any of us.
While I know many think I travel quite frequently, you'd be surprised to find just how often I'm pining to jump on a plane and go explore somewhere new. As they say, once the wanderlust bug bites, it just doesn't let go... So for those times when you (and I) can't travel, for those who don't have the time or money to travel or for the times you're just itching to get away, but you can't (#storyofmylife), here are a few things to do instead...
Read a Foreign Book || Nothing makes me escape faster than the pages of a novel set in a different country. No surprise here, but I'm particularly fond of books having to do with Paris or France.
Watch an International Film ||If the setting of a movie is somewhere far away, I can almost guarantee that I'll want to watch. I particularly love old-school flicks, like Roman Holiday or Paris When it Sizzles, and ones with subtitles. Bonus points for eating a matching snack (i.e. pasta for an Italian movie, macarons for a French movie, etc)
Conquer a Favorite Foreign Recipe || Beef bourguignon anyone?! Or how about fish 'n chips? Better yet, why not find a foreign cooking class (a sushi one has been on my list to-do for a while) and make it a fun date or night out with friends?!
Eat at an International Restaurant ||I feel very fortunate to live in a place where so many wonderful ethnic cuisines are available, but just because you don't live in a big city, doesn't mean there aren't options available. For example, my Mom is always talking about the new and exciting restaurants opening up all over Indianapolis, and considering F&W named it the "Rising Star of the Midwest" because of things such as a Korean fried chicken place and a spot offering a globally inspired brunch, for once, my Mom may not have to beg me to come back to Indy ;)
Visit an Ethnic Neighborhood || Similarly to above, this one might be a bit easier in a bigger city, but consider making a day out of exploring certain areas, be it Little Italy or a Chinatown, of wherever you live. Check out the food, the culture, the stores, see if there are any special activities or events coming up, and treat the day as you would if you were truly in another country.
Learn a Language || Because if you can't be somewhere, you can at least talk like you are, right?!
Have a Themed Dinner or Party || When we were younger, my Mom would have my sister and I cook dinner at least one night a week. At our local library, we happened to discover this series of books where each one focused on a different country, complete with recipes unique to that area. Once that happened, our dinners were forever changed. Each week, we would excitedly pick a new book/country, read all about it and then prepare a meal with recipes from the book. It was a fun way to travel to a new place without ever leaving home, and it's still something the Mr and I enjoying doing now. (Bonus points- My Mom would have us practice French by only speaking French when we would eat French dinners. At the time, it seemed like a pain in the you-know-what but now it's
Listen to Traditional Foreign Music || I have all kinds of foreign music playlists saved to my Spotify, everything from Italian cappuccino morning music to French cooking music to a beautiful Santorini soundtrack. Whenever I put one of those on, I'm instantly transported to somewhere far away. (Bonus points- play a themed playlist to go along with your themed dinner.)
What do you do if you're having the itch to travel but you can't?