Unless you’re lucky enough to be a full-time traveler – and there aren’t really too many of them – then at some stage, sooner or later, your trip will come to a close. But the good news is that your trip doesn’t have to end when your plane touches down in your hometown. There are numerous ways to keep the energy and excitement you felt during your travels alive, and tide you over until you next have an opportunity to travel.
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Pick the ideas below which suit you best and you will be able to prolong the joy of travel for a lot longer than the relatively short time you get to be on the road.
Keep In Touch With Fellow Travelers
You know that back page of your journal with all those email addresses or even a few physical addresses? Those people you met on your trip and exchanged contact details with? So many of these kinds of friendships get lost back in the blur of the real world when you don’t have time to write. It should be a lot easier these days, between email, Facebook and Skype, so make an effort soon after your trip to get in touch. You’ve already got one thing in common – the desire to travel to the place where you met – and it’s more than likely you’ll have more similar interests too.
The other bonus is that some of these people might continue to travel and you can do a bit of vicarious travel through them – if you’re lucky, they’ll keep a blog or send out regular emails and photos of their new destinations, both giving you something interesting to read (and possibly get a little envious about!) and providing you with fodder for future destinations and travels.
Do More Than Download Your Photos
We all love the digital camera age, but how many of us either don’t even download our photos, or get them to our hard drive and never do anything with them? I don’t mean you have to print them out and put them in a photo album, but take the time to think about ways to use your photographs to help recreate your travels every day. For example, you might print out some of your favourites in a large size and plaster one wall with them; or choose some particularly special ones to frame, or to rotate through a frame in a prominent place in your house.
If you want to get more diverse, most photo shops both online and off have a range of alternatives these days: get your favourite travel pic printed on a coffee mug that you can drink from each morning, or on a mouse mat so you can see it on your desk every day at work.
Many people (me included!) find the different cuisines they experience while traveling a real highlight. Dig around on the internet for some recipes for the local delicacies you tried while on your trip and get cooking. If you find some particularly tasty ones, then cook up some international dishes and invite your friends around to share them. You might even want to entertain your friends with a (short!) slideshow of some of the photographs from your travels in conjunction with their multicultural meal.
Write Up Your Travels For Posterity
If you are keen to render your travel experiences into words, then there are plenty of fun ways to do this. You might want to put together a blog showcasing some of your photographs with some commentary along the way (and there’s no shame in doing this retrospectively); or write up your trip as some kind of memoir. Alternatively, if you’ve kept a handwritten journal or diary on your travels, consider typing up some of the highlights of this or turning your entries into stories.
Some people are more than happy just to have this written record for their own purposes, to look back on and reminisce about their travels, but you also might want to publish them in some way for interested family and friends to read. Some self-publishing companies let you print a handful of copies (or just one) for a very reasonable cost these days, and it’s nice to have a hard copy of that kind of document so you can have a leisurely browse down the memory lane of your travels.
The Motorcycle Diaries
Revisit Your Travels in Books and Films
When you’ve returned from a trip, it’s thoroughly enjoyable to immerse yourself in books and movies set in the places you’ve just experienced. They mean so much more when you recognise them as places you’ve been, and it’s pretty exciting to watch a movie and see a small shop where you bought a baguette for lunch one day feature in the background.
Find out about the local literary heroes and track down some of their books; you might also want to read some non-fiction explaining the history or politics of the place you’ve been, which will probably lead to a few “I get it now!” moments when bits and pieces you’ve learned from museums or just general observations fall into place.
Start Planning Your Next Trip
Even after all these years of traveling, every time I go somewhere I learn something about how I’d like to travel differently next time. I also get a lot of inspiration for destinations I’d like to visit while traveling – sometimes from people I meet, or even brochures and guide books I browse through while on the road.
So, keep prolonging the joy of travel by using your recent travel experiences to start planning your next trip! Even if it’s a completely different destination, you might feel inspired to plan your packing or transport in a new way; on the other hand, you might have been so taken with your last trip that you want to visit somewhere very similar. Whatever the case, planning a trip, even if it’s one you won’t be taking for a while, is always a great way to enjoy the thrill of travel while you’re still at home.