Complacency is a tragic byproduct of being a college student. Drowning in deadlines and responsibilities (ugh, #adulting) quickly forces fantasies into submission, encouraging a small-scale mindset. How many times have you found yourself in a bubble of never-ending midterms, long readings and mind-numbing internship duties? Although traveling to far off places proves to be nearly impossible for students, you can still retain your sense of wanderlust in small ways.
Incorporate these 10 things to reignite your sense of wanderlust.
At the end of the day, you can only satisfy your need to travel with travel. Start planning your next trip to Rome, Paris or Sydney. Go see the world first hand. “Being in college limits you to the most popular tourist travel times. Spontaneity is not an option,” University of California, Los Angles sophomore Saphyone White said.
Start small. Traveling to nearby states and cities may not stamp your passport, but it will satisfy a travel bug. Use a scratch off map of the U.S. to guide you to places you’ve never dreamed of going to (probably because you had never heard of them). Paris, Texas might lack a certain triangular tower, but it makes up for it in sprawling vineyards.
Set aside a few dollars a week to your travel fund. Smaller bills will add up faster than you think, and before you know it, you will have a road trip at your fingertips, whether you travel to NYC or explore a nearby town. UCLA sophomore Sanjay Shukla finds he can satisfy his adventure quota all within the city of Los Angeles. “There’s so many different subcultures that make up the city it’s almost impossible to see them all,” he said.
When you live in a literal shoe closet, you need to focus on the details. “I never feel claustrophobic because I always have a new trip in the works that I am excited about,” Shukla said. Something inspirational reminding you of those upcoming plans can keep you grounded while preserving your adventurous spirit. Maybe if you hug it tight enough, you will magically transport away from your 10,000 word essay due tomorrow.
Harness your imagination to take you places rather than the plane you can’t afford. Jack Kerouac’s On the Road could double as the perfect solution to your claustrophobia. You can accompany Sal Paradise on his cross-country escapades rather than doing your Calculus homework like the avid procrastinator we both know you are.
Plaster your dreams right above your bed to remind yourself that there is light at the end of this four year tunnel. You may be eating nothing but ramen for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but the Great Wall of China will remain there to comfort you after your sodium-packed meal.
Cover your wall with an adventure-inspiring design to show what a big, big world you have left to discover outside of campus. Not only will it cure your stress, but it will also serve as a great backdrop for your pictures where you pretend to live your best life. “When I visited Ephesus, Turkey, I went to a tapestry store and my family bought five hand-woven tapestries to hang around our house to remind us of one of our favorite countries,” White said.
8. Watch someone else do it
Let a movie like Into the Wild transport your mind and distract you from reality. You can also venture into the wild from the comfort of your living room, avoiding the bugs and dirt. Or, try a movie that travels to any far-flung location of your choice. If you can't actually go right now, you can still plan ahead. “Me Before You inspired me to go back to Paris,” UCLA sophomore Lindsey Kaiser said.
Sometimes you can miss the beauty of your everyday surroundings. Use this to discover the sights you see everyday but miss entirely. “Students here hang hammocks all over Jans steps. It makes the campus have a more relaxed vibe and reminds me to acknowledge how beautiful it is,” White said.
Hang up pictures of your past adventures with these string lights. Reminiscing on your best times while studying abroad amongst the kangaroos in Australia and the best times you might have missed helps you plan for better time in the future. Remember the time you snuck into an abandoned bowling alley to spray paint your stripper name on a trashcan? Next time maybe you will choose a wall.