Since I started blogging I have been fortunate enough to connect with a huge number of travellers. My friends, my family and often complete strangers are sharing their adventures with me because they know how interested I am. This leads to me being at work on beautiful sunny days with a several case of FOMO, a healthy dash of wanderlust, and photos of sailing in the Bahamas, snowboarding in Japan, and safaris in Africa.
If you have never heard the term “FOMO”, you are probably living your life outside of the internet, possibly under a rock. The Fear of Missing Out. It is defined as "a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent".
The basic premise is someone, somewhere is having fun and you’re not a part of it. It is not a new feeling, but has become more prevalent with the plague of social media bombarding us with images of lives seemingly better than our own.
Now while I could sit around appreciating the fact I will be on the road again in a few short weeks, and perhaps enjoying some down time doing nothing, I have never really been that kind of guy. It chafes me a little and so instead of moping around the house sulking, I find ways to ease the pangs of wanderlust.
Do something new
Unless you live alone in the middle of a field, you probably haven’t seen everything there is to see where you live. Most places will have something you haven’t experienced before, even if it is something you are not be extremely interested in. Perhaps an activity you have seen but always put off, or one you thought you would never try. Maybe now is the time to try it.
I tried to learn golf. I came to the conclusion that hitting a ball into a hole was far less interesting than drinking at the clubhouse afterwards. I started skipping the golf part, and then later the clubhouse part because there are better places to drink. Golf is not for me, but I found that out by trying.
Instead I started to learn sign language. Why? I don't know. I don't have any deaf friends. I just didn't want to spend my time watching TV or being bored. This weekend I'm taking a barista course. I like coffee. I want to learn to make it. Nothing more than that.
Even the most ordinary daily commute can be made interesting if you only slow down and take a moment to look around you, truly observe what is happening. Some will try convince you it’s called mindfulness, like it’s some kind of new thing that people haven’t been practising for the last several thousand years through various techniques.
All those techniques lead to the same place. Pay attention. Observe and then describe. Use as much detail as you can. If you are anything like me, then the train trip from home to the work turns into paragraphs of notes I can’t possibly finish before it is over. People are exceptionally interesting creatures when you look at them closely and try to describe them accurately, even the ones who seem boring at first. Words have always fascinated me and while I struggle to increase my vocabulary, I love finding that perfectly descriptive word.
Carry a camera
Carrying a camera can change the way you perceive anything. It will open your eyes to things in your own city you likely miss during your day to day commute. You become more observant and interested, and thus hopefully more interesting. Spend time looking for interesting things to take photos of or start a small personal art project.
For example, take a photo of the same thing every day for a period of time, perhaps during a transition phase. A tree from autumn to winter can show the pace of the seasons. Or take a photo of the same thing from a different perspective each time. Not only will you learn to see things in a different way, but you'll learn to take better photos.
I don't recommend taking photos of people without their permission. That's a little weird and creepy.
Write a travel guide on where you live
Who better to write a guide on where you live than someone who lives there? Surely you know the best places to visit, the best food to try, the coolest bars or art galleries or theatres. Write a travel guide on things you like to do because there is definitely someone out there who would want to read exactly that.
Then send it to me. I'm always after tips on places to visit!
Play host to some friends
Assuming you have friends who are willing to participate, then plan a day out with them. Try to do things you haven’t done together. Find things that appeal to everyone but will push everyone outside their comfort zone. Make it fun and interesting. Most of the time, people want to do things, but rarely will they make the effort to plan anything. Be the person who does.
If your friends are boring and want to stay home waiting for Game of Thrones to finally air, then find new friends, or some friendly strangers, or sign up to take free walking tours around your city. Not only will you get to meet other travellers, but you can showcase where you live.
Go stay in a hostel for a couple of days
Nothing will remind you why you prefer your own bed faster than sleeping in a shared dorm with 15 other backpackers on a Friday night.
Get an AirBnB or a hotel in a different part of the city
I live on Sydney's North Shore, across the bridge from the city. Sometimes, I like to get a room for a weekend over in the Eastern Beaches, just to hang out somewhere new. I know, it sounds weird to have a weekend away without leaving the city, but it's a lot of fun and a pretty cheap way to feel like you're getting away from normal life.
Mix it up
If you’re not a morning person, waking up for sunrise can be enough of a change from the daily norm to give you something interesting to do. Likewise, if you’re not the kind to stay out late, perhaps it’s worth trying it. I’m not suggesting you hit an underground dance party until 6am, but wandering around somewhere interesting and lively (and safe) can be a welcome change.
Walk along the beach the next time it is raining. Go for a swim when it is cold. Do something out of the ordinary. Change your routine, break the norm.