I wish I could just up and book a flight halfway across the globe whenever I felt like it, but unfortunately I’m an adult and I have responsibilities like paying bills and going to work and making sure my plants don’t die (still working on that one).
If you’re anything like me – living with severe chronic wanderlust – being in one place too long can feel like sheer torture. Here are some things you can do to alleviate those symptoms:
1 – Social Media
Remember a time before the self-gratifying narcissism when people used social media primarily to connect with each other? Me neither. But, the good news is it can still be used for that purpose – whether you get on Twitter to stay abreast on the trending topics in your dream country, join Facebook groups to learn/brush up on foreign language skills, or follow lots of travel Instagrams to motivate yourself with stunning photos. Just don’t become so enchanted by the virtual world that you neglect your real life!
2 – Arts
This can be just about anything. Literature, film, photography, theater, fashion…you name it. My preferred avenues are music and dance. I’ve never been to the Dominican Republic, but when I’m listening to my Amara La Negra playlist, you can’t tell me I’m not riding down the streets of Santo Domingo. I’ve also never been to Brazil, but I’ve watched so many videos on how to Samba I could probably convince someone I’ve been formally trained. I’ve learned lots of West African music and dances thanks to a wonderful Zumba instructor, and I’m currently participating in a Dancehall/Reggae Workshop, where we learn just as much about Jamaican history as we do their choreography. Not bad for a someone stuck in Chicago, right?
3 – People (Meet Up)
If you’re an extrovert that loves people (or an introvert trying to get out of your room more) Meet Up is just the thing for you. It’s basically a social network that connects individuals in a local area that share common interests – whatever they may be! These people, sometimes all strangers, meet and engage with each other like the best of friends. I’ve been to a few myself, and I’ve always felt safe and welcome with every group.
Some great examples of the diverse meet ups in Chicago include The Chicago Language Exchange, Chicago Intercultural Explorers, Eventos En Espanol, Pumps & Passports, Meet International People, Intercultural Explorers, and literally dozens more. Take a browse and see what’s in your neighborhood, you never know what’s in your own backyard!
4 – Food
I’ve only been to 3 countries in my life, but I’ve indulged in the cuisine of dozens: German, Japanese, Mexican, French, Puerto Rican, Nigerian, Peruvian, Spanish, Ghanaian, Canadian, Mediterranean, Ethiopian, Italian, Costa Rican…that’s just naming a few! I’m a certified fatass so I love to eat in general, but there’s something especially magnificent about being able to taste someone else’s culture. You can search the internet for local restaurants or ask around for the best recommendations. Do you know any people from other countries personally? Suggest a traditional food cook-off or potluck! It may not be your thing, but I personally enjoy eating meals prepared in the home. The more authentic, the better!
5 – Blogs
Duh! Read about other people’s experiences and live vicariously through their narratives! I have at least 20 blogs bookmarked on my phone. Here are 5 of the ones I frequent most (and feel free to tell your friends about this one):