“So, where are you going next?” The inevitable question I get asked on a regular occurrence, more so now than the other commonly asked interrogation regarding my life long plans for mini mes.
Sometimes the question fills me with enthusiasm, that being when I have a clear idea of the trips in my calendar. But on those occasions where my future explorations are undecided, the unknown answer can be more daunting than exciting.
When your bucket list is the size of the Inca Trail (which happens to be on there too), picking which place to save for and tick off next can feel slightly unnerving. Should I just be concentrating on European long weekends? Should I focus on one big long trip to a far-off land? What if I don’t go now and then miss out later on in life because I’m wrinkly and tired with a toddler hanging off my ankle?
Not only that but you have to somehow remember this ever growing list of must see places whilst being constantly distracted by dreamy Instagram beaches and articles titled “101 destinations you have to see before you turn 30”. And that’s even before you even considering beginning to work out how long is enough in each destination, the flights, an approximate budget, which landmarks are worth the hour queue and where are those unique finds… boy it can be overwhelming.
So to make sure that I don’t turn into a batty old woman with a backpack sitting in Heathrow’s check in desk muttering ‘Ecuador, no India, no Sri Lanka!’, I’ve come up with an almost fool proof plan for coping with my incessant obsession. I call it the 5 step plan to coping with wanderlust.
1 | Write it all down
If you’re anything like me, you’ll add about 38 places to your bucket list every time you just open Instagram. So the only way I stop myself from feeling completely overwhelmed is to write it all down in a very organised Excel Spreadsheet (other programs are available). I have a tab for London restaurants, bars, cafes, experiences, hotels and then of course restaurants and hotels across the globe. Each has an average of 60 places, detailed with the location and any notes to help me remember why I wrote it down in the first place. It might seem ridiculous but it’s the first place I go when I think, ‘ok, where shall I explore next?’
2 | Take a break from social media
If the influx of turquoise Maldivian waters and Icelandic waterfalls is getting a little bit too much, then stop. Put the phone away. Breathe. If you start hyperventilating every time you open Instagram then maybe it’s time for a break. Read a book about a murder, do a BuzzFeed quiz and find out what kind of potato you are or just stick on Netflix and relax.
Sometimes we all just need a time out.
3 | Window shopping
Can’t take a break from it? Well then go ahead and give into it. You know how sometimes you get a song stuck in your head and the only way to stop yourself going mad is to just play it and sing at the top of your lungs? Well sometimes the only way for me to stop fixating over an adventure is to window shop.
One mammoth trip taking up my bucket list is South America. Yeah, not even one country, a whole bloody continent. A month or so ago I could not get it out of my head. One of my friend’s had just announced her travels to said destination and after also watching David Attenborough’s series on the Galapagos, I was obsessed.
Not only did I look into flights in full meticulous detail, I also wrote myself an itinerary, worked out exactly where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see in each country. Seeing it written down and knowing approximately how much it would cost surprisingly left me feeling relieved. It suddenly wasn’t such a daunting task and I could finally relax knowing that when I’m ready, I know exactly how I’ll go about it.
4 | Remember that you’re not going to die tomorrow
The part of wanderlust that stresses me out the most is not just wanting to see everywhere… it’s wanting to see it all right now. I’ve had many an adventurous meltdown with my fellow travel lovers who every time have calmed me down with a simple “Eppie, just plan one trip at a time”. As soon as I remember that I’m unlikely to just keel over tomorrow and can probably fit most of my bucket list into my hopefully lengthy lifetime, I stop hyperventilating.
Of course there will be life obstacles that might affect or delay my travels but hey I’ll work around it. Full time job? Long weekends it is. Got a pet? Come along for the ride. Motherhood? Let’s take the kids to the jungle.
5 | Take a staycation or a day trip
Sometimes, I just can’t scratch that itch. I’ve done all of the above and despite turning me back into a rational human being, it just hasn’t cured my need to see something new.
In these moments I have two choices; I can spend all my savings, quit my job and run away. Or I can take enjoyment in exploring the vastly striking UK, which I am lucky enough to call home. If I’m strapped for time or money, a simple day out in London to somewhere that I’ve never been can easily calm my travel bug. Otherwise a more spontaneous staycation to a quaint village or seaside town has me take a long deep breathe with a smile on my face as the wanderlust slowly retreats (maybe it’s not a desire to travel; maybe I just need to depollute my lungs every now and then).
How do you cope with your wanderlust? I’d love to hear your ideas and methods!