How to Travel When You Can’t Travel

Title (L)It’s another sunny day filled with delightful sounds of guitars and violins, elaborately painted masks, and cobblestone streets covered with pigeons.  You might assume I’m talking about Paris?  Or Rome?  Venice?  Ah, yes! Venice is correct, but I’m not actually there, unfortunately.  Instead I’m patiently waiting on an uncomfortable couch during Appoggiatura Tech Rehearsal listening for a possible cue to my theoretical costume change.  I’m sure anyone would prefer the warm climate of a historical romantic city or a tropical island to the cold backstage hallways, but my time requires me to be here.  Although I’ll have to suffice with an imaginative Venice, I’ve still found ways to travel, without actually being able to.  How exactly do I manage this?  Read more below to discover how.

Books (L)Become a bibliophile.  Books (remember those?) come in many varieties when it comes to travel, and not just as travel guides.  Think Eat. Pray. Love. By Elizabeth Gilbert, Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents by Elizabeth Eaves or Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Roderiguez.  These authoresses will take you on journeys through Italy, India, Australia, France, Afghanistan, and more to bring you to your own self discoveries as they find themselves.  And, as most experienced travel bloggers will tell you, self-discovery is the quintessential purpose for travel.  Not a book person?  Then pick up the latest copy of my new favorite travel magazine, Afar.  Their articles are great for those who want to explore beyond typical tourist destinations and expectations.  From this fantastic magazine I’ve learned about unique local food trucks in Australia, spontaneous adventures to Belize and Mongolia, and luxury ethical fashion brand Maiyet.  Afar definitely lives up to its tag line #traveldeeper.

Get into a virtual experience.  My friend Alan just showed me the entertainment and benefits of Google Earth.  Even though I’m a little late to the party, I love this online site/app for its ability to take you anywhere and create a computerized visual of famous sites like the Eiffel Tower, Pyramids of Giza, and Machu Picchu.  Since I’m currently lamenting the snow and ice season of Denver, I’ll be looking up the beaches of Hawaii and Australia soon.  Want more than visuals while surfing the net?  Then head to one of my favorite websites: BBC Travel.  I’ve enjoyed reading all of their features and learned what it’s like to live in a popular tourist destination and where to take the train on my next adventure in Canada.  I’ve been enamored with their collection of photos from the upcoming series A Life in Colour.

Photobooks (L)Exercise your photographic memory.  You might argue you don’t have one, but don’t lose hope.  Instead, dig through past photos to find trips to nearby museums and shops, small towns, and any international vacations.  Make slide shows with PowerPoint, iMovie,  or Windows Movie Maker or Photostory and set aside movie nights to watch them and relive the memories.  Photo books from Shutterfly, Snapfish or Vista Print are also a great way to collect and arrange photos to enjoy and take you back to faraway lands.  If you keep a travel journal, use it to help add text and stories to your photobook.  In future travels, keep tickets, business cards, and mail yourself some postcards to help you journey back to your traveling memories.  Haven’t traveled much or have a lot of photos?  Take pictures of your current city or town and make a collage or slide shows of them to enjoy the beauty around you.  If you’ve gotten postcards, use them as markers for future travel destinations.  Or, check out some Instagram accounts to enjoy unique lands and cultures.  My favorites?  Lonely Planet (@lonelyplanet) , Afar (@afarmedia) , and National Geographic Creative (@natgeocreative).

Get the full film experience.  Watch destination-based movies to feel like you’re somewhere else.  Rent Under the Tuscan Sun and feel like you’re enjoying the flavors and landscape of central Italy.  Head to your local movie theater to watch The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies to take in the fascinating backdrop of New Zealand.  Or, fall in love and travel not only to another country but to another time with Midnight in Paris.  Looking for more than a movie?  Check out the Travel Channel to find shows about travel advice, world cultures, and international adventures.  For an in depth look at travel from history to politics to food, don’t miss my favorite Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.  He sees details from every angle of every place he travels to, and it’s a fantastic title to encompass the meaning and approach of his show.

Learn to speak the world.  Always wanted to learn another language but never had the time or need a refresher after High School Spanish?  What better time to start than now?  Many will suggest Rosetta Stone, but you can always download DuoLingo to help brush up your knowledge and understanding.  Meetup also has groups that focus specifically on speaking with others who are learning just like you, and it’s a great way to meet new people.  Anxious to learn something new?  One of the best ways I found to learn a new language was by simply ordering my own drink at a coffee shop or meal in a restaurant.  If you don’t have someone to practice ordering with, take some time to look up new recipes and enjoy new flavors from around the world.  You may not speak the world yet, but you can at least taste it.

Crafts (L)Create the world.  Explore new handicrafts or projects that are linked to a specific culture.  I find my blog as a great way to create everything from jewelry to hats to batiks to reflect specific cultures and depict specific places I’ve traveled to.  There’s lots of knitting and crochet patterns to make a globe or D.I.Y. Projects via Pinterest involving Modge Podge to cover your bedroom drawers with maps.  Not a crafty person?  Don’t fret.  You can always purchase jewelry, clothing, and accessories from companies like Mar Y Sol, Faire Collection, or Indego Africa, who show you the stories behind their products beginning with artisans in other countries to the product that lands on your doorstep.  If you don’t need to add a necklace to your jewelry collection, simply donate to organizations like Heifer International and Unite to Light to purchase necessary items like livestock, water pumps, and solar lights for people in other countries.

For the moment my creativity remains in the backstage world as another song of Vivaldi‘s is heard onstage and is silenced as a voice says, “Hold, please.”  For now I imagine the stairways that slant up and down lead to Venice, a city of history, romance, and intrigue.  Stepping onto the floor of painted cobblestones, I imagine rounded, rough stones underneath my feet and stone archways above me as I make my way to a square crowded with tourists and an occasional group of pigeons.  The travel I have is in my mind, for now, and I shall continue to feed it until it can become a reality someday soon.

Want to travel soon, but need some extra advice on how to save for it?  Check out these two posts from Adventurous Kate: Nine Travel Solutions You Can Actually Keep This Year and How I Saved $13,000 For Travel In Just Seven Months and some additional advice from The New York Times: 8 Ways to Save on Travel in 2015.  Also head to Goodbudget (Formerly EEBA) to start a budget–I found this site incredibly helpful when it came to managing my money and I downloaded the app on my phone so I can arrange my expenses and not overspend.  Be sure to visit Travelettes to find some unique places to discover and consult TravelFashionGirl for all of your packing needs!


  1. lara dunston

    Loads of great ideas here. Another is music – research the music of places you dream of going to – classical, folk, pop, rock, whatever takes your fancy. Translations of song lyrics are also a great way to learn the language. Putumayo is a great place to start for world music: On our own site we also interview musicians and singers we meet in places around the world and ask for their ‘playlists’ – the quintessential songs or albums of their home that they recommend people listen to.

    • brooklyntvlasich

      Thanks! I’ll have to check out Putmayo. I always love listening to world music and getting the feel of another country’s tastes. My grandfather would listen to Chinese Opera and although some people find it annoying, I find it alluring and my interest for Chinese Opera is what drew me to study world clothing and costumes in college. I do agree with you that listening to a song helps you learn the language and get a feel for it, especially if there are quirks or slang a country uses that you won’t find in a translation dictionary.

Give us your thoughts, comments, and opinions here!