What if I told you that you can travel without ever leaving your neighborhood?
Traveling is a big part of my life. Obviously. I spend hours each week blogging, researching and Tweeting about it. But the reality of the situation is that not everyone can just throw some stuff in a bag and hop on a plane, which is something I’ve been very fortunate to have done on multiple occasions. Right now, however, I’m in a bit of a hiatus for travel, or at least long trips, because I’m paying back the student loan gods and getting settled after a year of living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
But back to you. I know there are a lot of you who love travel, but may not be able to right now, so I thought I would share some of my tips for curing (at least temporarily) the travel blues. Ready? Okay, here we go:
You know, those tiny little scraps of paper that you pray will go where they’re supposed to because, let’s face it, there’s no return address. Yep, those. I love postcards and I probably always will. When I was a kid I used to had a penpal, and that’s probably where my love for snail mail originates from, but I think I also just like being able to talk to people without talking to them (if I’m honest) #introvert.
The best part of sending/receiving postcards is that you don’t have travel somewhere in order to send them. No joke! Try out a website like Postcrossing to send and receive postcards from people all over the world. How does this work?
1. You go to Postcrossing and sign up.
2. They send you the addresses of a few people to test your commitment.
3. Once those people receive your postcards (which you’ve written a little code from the website, on) you start getting postcards and so forth and so on.
One time I got a postcard from Germany that led me to making a new friend in the U.S. and it was awesome. You never know what you’re gonna get!
I know, I know, now I sound like
5th grade. But it’s TRUE! Reading is an amazing way to experience other cultures and places without ever having to leave your house (literally, just order them on Amazon – you don’t have to ever leave…except maybe health reasons).The best part of books (other than that they’re relatively cheap) is that they can actually inspire you to travel to other places, and make your trips more fun.
Right now I’m reading the Outlander series, and I’m seriously considering going to Scotland just so that I can visit all of the places. It makes you appreciate a place so much more when you’re able to associate happy reading memories with the real life places.
Have a Penpal
One of the best ways to get to know people who are different than yourself is to do just that…get to know people who are different from you. I’ve had a penpal for most of my childhood and again for the past year. She lives in Liverpool, England and due to the crazy of each letter taking 1-2 weeks to get from point A to point B, we don’t talk too often, but it’s the most exciting thing in the world to get a letter in the mail from England once a month!
If you’re still a little skeptical that pen pals are for kids, take a peek at the website that I used to get mine: Letter Writer’s Alliance. They’re dedicated to making sure snail mail stays in business, and it’s a pretty awesome community. Not only can you get matched with another member (lifetime membership is $5) but you can also check out their awesome letter writing merch (not required to write, just awesome) as well as local meet-ups and other events.
Social Media Groups
You know what they say: the people you surround yourself with influence your behavior. The best part of social media is that you can choose who you’re around and gain inspiration that way! Obviously, Twitter is my biggest inspiration with all +5,000 of my travel buds, but I also love Facebook groups, as well. Instagram is (obv) a really good source as well, but I’ve never really been in to Instagram, so that’s not as much my scene. Try looking at these Facebook Groups (or even join a couple!) for travel inspiration galore.
Travelettes : Launched in 2009, Travelettes is an online magazine/ travelblog/ network for and from girls who love to travel.
Nomadness Travel Tribe: The Nomad•ness Travel Tribe, created by Evita Robinson, stemming from her travel series Nomad•ness TV, is an online social community of travelers and expats all around the world. In the Tribe, they come together to share stories, advice, dos and don’ts, in an interpersonal setting. The majority of our members are bridged by an urban background.
Irish Central: IrishCentral is America’s number one news website for Irish news with over 3.5 million readers a month. (Also one of my favorite newsletters to get!)
Mama Loves Paris: Brilliant ideas, inspiration, fun and fab photography for families living or loving Paris life.
Jetting Around: Jetting Around by Pola Henderson is a blog dedicated to cities and their culture. In addition to writing, Pola hosts a weekly city travel discussion on Twitter called #JAchat (Fridays, 1pm ET) and international networking events for travelers, JA Café: Travel Talk Over Coffee.
Travel Noire: Travel Noire is a digital publishing platform that creates tools and resources for the unconventional traveler.
The Exploress: Inspire | Share | Educate | Together we are a global community of young, creative and adventurous women who share a burning desire to travel.
I’m going to San Francisco!
This week I found out that the only way to get a French Visa is to apply in person in San Francisco, so I’m going to be taking an impromptu trip this July to get all of my Visa stuff cleared. As random as this trip is, and as much as financially it’s really not helping my whole “budget” plan, I’m actually looking forward to the vacation. I’ve been so incredibly stressed during this whole process, and having four days to explore a beautiful city I love will be a perfect respite before go-time in August. July 7th is the magic day for applying for my visa! Wish me luck! I honestly will weep if it doesn’t go through, at this point.
This whole week has been a bit mad, honestly. I’ve jumped through so many hoops to make this happen, and now a new hidden hoop! Hurray. I’m not saying the French government doesn’t want people to move there, but I’m not exactly feeling like they do.
That being said, there are some pretty awesome things that have happened this week, too! First off, I got my official hard copy of my acceptance letter to the University of Orleans, yesterday! It was so cool to get something in my mailbox from where I’m moving! The packet included my letter, and then some other info, such as a campus maps and some info about the city. I CANNOT wait.
Today I FINALLY got ahold of a copy of French Vogue! I’ve been trying to get it from the newspaper stand near my house, but they’re always sold out! Sixth time’s a charm, I guess. This morning I sat, facing Puget Sound, eating my favorite Pike Place bakery treats, and reading vogue in the sunshine – it was magical (and so needed!).
Also, Postcrossing is blowing my mind. If you haven’t signed up, and have an interest in sending/receiving postcards from around the world, sign up! I’ve already had postcards from Prague, Poland, South Africa, Germany, China and five other places I don’t even remember. It’s so much fun to open my mailbox and find a postcard from someone thousands of miles away!
And that’s all for now. Life is crazy right now, but I’m doing my best to soak up every minute, because I know it’s only for a little while before I won’t be able to. France 2014, or bust! (preferably not busting, though)
P.s. Next time you meet someone who’s successfully moved to France – give them a high five.
A few weeks ago, my roommate and I signed up for this website, Postcrossing, because we love snail mail. Apparently we’re not alone in our obsession, because half a million other people are signed up as well!
Much like Couchsurfing or other websites that work to bring people together, this website allows for you to communicate with people you would never speak to, otherwise. It’s such a beautiful idea to keep connected to people around the world!
How does it work!? Well, you sign up with an account and you are then sent the addresses of (up to) five other people from around the world (I got Russia, Germany, China, Bulgaria, and The Netherlands). After you send them off a postcard, with the little code that is emailed to you, they confirm they got it by entering the code on the website and you’re in! You are then added into the pot of endless possibilities. People can get your address, and you get theirs and it’s all extremely beautiful!
I sent off my postcards a couple of weeks ago and just got my first one back today from The Netherlands! It was such a great surprise in my mailbox. Basically, I’m in love with the entire concept of this website.
Snail mail for the win! I can’t wait to see where else I get mail from 🙂
Sign up for yourself by clicking HERE.