I don't think I am alone in feeling stuck from time to time. Many of us would love to travel but must stay home for various reasons whether it be to look after children, attend school or due to health or financial obligations. Of course, if there is any way to go, then I say, GO! But here are some ways to cure your wanderlust without having to leave your hometown!
Cook your way around the globe! One of my favorite things to do when I am missing a country is try to recreate the food that I ate there. I am vegetarian so I am still learning how to substitute certain foods in recipes but I am getting there (big tip: add soy sauce to soups and stir fry in place of fish sauce). One great resource for recipes is the Global Table Adventure by Sasha Martin, who has also written a book about cooking meals from 195 countries around the world.
Host an exchange student! Consider hosting a student from another country. Not only will your family learn about another country but you will be teaching a student all about yours! My family hosted Japanese exchange students when I was younger and it was a great way to learn about another culture (and how we are not so different after all!)
Find a penpal PenPal World is a great FREE resource for finding a penpal from another country. Send a postcard from your hometown and see what you get in return!
Go shopping! Depending on where you live, you might have some great international markets that you've never even noticed before! I love to stop in my local Latino market and get a popsicle from time to time. The taste reminds me of a sunny trip I took to Mexico City a few years ago. Don't be intimidated by language or cultural barriers! If you cannot find any markets, try the international aisle at your regular grocery store or shop online at International Food Shop. World Market also has a lot of goodies to choose from and you can order online if you do not have one locally.
Love where you live Chances are, someone would LOVE to visit wherever you live, even if you are totally bored with it. What do tourists like to do in your hometown? Go out and do those things, maybe you will gain a new appreciation. Dare yourself to try new adventures, you might love what you find!
Read a book There are TONS of great travel books out there and many are available to download instantly so you can get your adventure started right now!
Listen to Travel Podcasts The best part of podcasts is they are FREE so you have no reason not to listen! My favorites are Travel With Rick Steves (you should definitely be checking out his tv show as well) and the Extra Pack of Peanuts podcast. For more suggestions, check out this article by the Seattle times.
Chase your WILDEST dream There is absolutely no harm in planning a trip that you have no intention of taking anytime soon! Create a vision board, write down your bucket list and pin your dream destinations. Ideas have a way of materializing and even if they don't, there is no down side to learning more about the world around you!
Any other ideas for chasing wanderlust without leaving town? Leave a comment with your favorite book, podcast or idea for seeing the world from the comfort of home!