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Vacation when you can’t

A Luna moth is shown
A simple walk around your neighborhood can give you glimpses of nature.

With record-high gas prices this summer, long and far weekend trips were not that affordable. The good news is gas prices have started to come down, and let’s hope they continue. But higher gas prices make you think twice about going on a long road trip for a hike or paddle. Or perhaps another reason like an illness is keeping you closer to home. Whatever tethers you to your home or city, there are ways you can still fit little slices of travel into your life.

Do maintenance and clean your gear

Take advantage of this downtime to do upkeep on your expensive hiking and camping gear. When you are using your gear, you put some wear and tear on it but hopefully don’t have to fix it at that point. It’s easy to think, “I need to fix this,” while you are using a piece of gear. But then when you get home you just shove it into your storeroom and forget about the needed repair, until you use it again. Use this forced downtime to organize your gear closet, repair worn gear, and do routine maintenance on gear so it will last ages.

Nikwax tech was lays on a tent

Play tourist in your own town

You don’t have to live in a tourist town to have fun touristy things to do. Every town has some attractions that are fun to explore and learn about. When we live near these attractions, we tend to ignore them and “leave them for the tourists.” But if you can’t be a tourist in a faraway land, why not be one in your own town? And a bonus is you get to sleep in your own bed afterward.

A woman sits in Hot Springs National Park
Spending time in my hometown of Hot Springs National Park

Read an adventure book

Every time I go on a trip, I pack a book or two with the idea that I’ll have so much relaxing downtime to read. This never happens. I usually am so tired at the end of each day that I just fall asleep right away. If gas prices, COVID, or whatever is keeping you from traveling, read an adventure book for a little slice of travel while stuck at home. I can sit outside and read my book all day. Reading allows your mind to travel to far-off and adventuresome places, even if you can’t physically go.

The book The Hunting Party rests on a woman's legs

Revamp your outdoor space

And speaking of sitting outside and reading, use the time you are stuck at home to revamp your outdoor space. This way you can also have a slice of the outdoors, and maybe even pretend you are camping. Making a cozy and inviting outdoor space will make you want to spend more time at home. And therefore, being stuck there won’t be so bad.

A buck deer is shown
Being quiet in your outdoor space might let you see wildlife you didn’t know were your neighbors

Research your next destination

I will always remember the first time I researched the logistics of a “pie in the sky” trip. I remember because I found out that what I thought was impossible was actually well within reach. That trip would have never happened had I not allowed myself to daydream. Use your downtime to do research like coming up with a budget, figuring out transportation problems, or planning for permits or special rules and regulations. You know, the stuff that’s long and complicated can be frustrating when you are on a deadline. By planning your downtown, when the actual trip comes around, you’ll already know how to plan and prepare.

A house is shown through a tent

Vacation when you can’t

Sometimes we want to go on adventures, but life just gets in the way. And sometimes life just forces us to slow down. Sitting at home with nothing to do is not my cup of tea…unless it’s outside in a newly revamped outdoor space. These are some ways that I still feel connected to travel, without ever leaving my city.

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Five ways to feel connected to travel, without ever leaving your hometown, because sometimes we want adventures, but life gets in the way.

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