Rachel has contributed to The World Wanderer a few times before with delicious recipes and about her three days on the Big Island of Hawaii. This time, she’s written about a topic that I feel like is very relevant to those of us with a serious case of wanderlust. Sometimes we can’t always be on the road, but she’s come up with some great tips of how we can use that time wisely. I know I’ve used a bunch of them before and they really do help. Have any more to add? Let us know in the comments below, since we’re always looking for ways to use non-traveling time productively.
If you’re stuck at home not being able to travel for any reason; saving money, health issues, family or work requirements– you might be a tiny bit depressed about not going anywhere. But as someone who’s experienced both living abroad and periods at home, I can tell you that there’s a lot of good to be done in your “non-travel time.” And, to get you started, I’ve made a list of things you can do to prepare for the next time you can hit the road – so you’ll actually be better off from having had to stay at home.
Whether you know where you will be off to already, or just starting to plan where you’ll go next, here’s eleven productive ways to use your non-travel time beyond ‘work and save money.’
1. Study, study, study. Take this time to study a world language. You can study at home with language apps, watching international films on Netflix, or dusting off those old textbooks. You can also arrange to meet a language partner or take formal classes.
2. Besides learning a new language, you can take this time to learn a new skill or brush up on an old one. Hone your photography, web design, cooking, or other skills. You never know when they will come in handy. Plus, if you do cook you may end up with something tasty for dinner.
3. Read. Try reading fiction from the area or country that you’re interested in. It is a nice break from non-fiction and it will introduce you to a world of cultural insight and references you might not have otherwise known.
4. Seek out cultural events and experiences in your area. Try attending cultural festivals, concerts, and holiday celebrations. Or, try out a new global cuisine at a food fair, food truck or restaurant.
5. Planning trips can be quite time consuming, so utilize this time to plan out trips. That way, you won’t have as much to do while you’re on the road in the future. You can always revise your plans or change them completely, but at least you’ll have done enough background planning to have an idea of where to start.
6. Travel locally. Make a list of things to do in your area and go do the ones you’ve never done before. Maybe your town has a local craft beer scene you’ve never tried, or a lighthouse you’ve never had time to visit, or you’ve never gone to the local farmers’ market- whatever it is, take this time to explore your area of the world.
7. Practice packing. This sounds a little ridiculous but it’s worth it. It can be as simple as trying out an outfit you’re unsure about as you go about a normal workday – maybe it makes you too hot and you prefer to be cooler while running through airports. You can also try going away for the weekend with only a backpack. Did you really need that extra sweater? Did you wish you had bug bite cream at the ready? That’s useful information you’ll need while you’re traveling.
8. Use non-travel time to revamp your professional life. Maybe you’re interested in working at your future destination or maybe you want to visit a university, company or organization during your next trip. Brainstorm ideas of what you’d like to do and contact the appropriate companies or organizations to learn more ahead of time. While you’re at it, update your resume and save it online- so if a position comes up you’ll be able to jump on it- no matter where you are. If your resume could use some help, use this time to build up your qualifications by interning, volunteering, or working part-time (if you aren’t working already).
9. Speaking of your career, this is a good time to expand your network. Connect with friends and colleagues to expand your professional circle. Join professional organizations and attend their events. You never know what opportunities may come of doing so.
10. Bringing new things into your life during this time is great, but so is eliminating things. Take this time to organize photos, donate old clothes or household items, and get rid of things that are weighing you down figuratively or literally- i.e. repairs needing to be done, stacks of old paperwork, or that bag/suitcase that is way too heavy.
11. Make the best of your non-travel time and do all the things you can only do while you’re home – meet family/friends, visit your preferred/usual doctors, buy clothes/shoes that fit you properly, and enjoy local goods/foods.
After using your non-travel time productively, you’ll be able to look forward to your future travel plans better prepared on top of increasing your enjoyment of your life at home straight away.