Traveling is an expensive form of therapy.
It is also extremely effective. When I’m experiencing severe wanderlust, I can always rely on Pinterest or Instagram to fulfill my gawking quota but when life hits a rough patch, looking at small snaps of other people’s experiences doesn’t quite cut it for me. Ideally, travel offers an excellent balance between distractions and reflection/self-discovery, which is perfect for when I’m feeling down. Unfortunately, as a college student, I don’t have the time or money to facilitate a lifestyle that requires jetting off to random destinations whenever I’m sad. Because of this, I have developed three tactics to deal with my moody self in these circumstances: writing, exploring and planning.
Writing helps me relive the trips I have taken. It’s amazing how much I forget about a place until I try to retell the story to myself. I seem to have the memory of a sieve, but I continually surprise myself with the vividness of my memories that resurface after simply picking up a pen (this also comes in handy when I’m struggling to think of a new article for JST).
Exploring – When writing is too reflective, I resort to local tourism. Many of us forget that we live in places that someone, somewhere in the world, would like to visit. We rarely act as tourists in our own town and this causes many of us to never visit our local tourist attractions. I’m a senior and have yet to go on a tour of my own campus and it took a friend’s visit for me to see many of my university’s trademark buildings. Every time I go on Yelp I find a new suggestion for something in the area I’d never heard of or something I’ve never carved out the time to see because I always figured I would eventually get around to it.
Planning for a trip can be half the fun. This is probably why I have a folder filled with itineraries for destinations that in reality, I have no chance of visiting within the next few years. I have a trip for the Galapagos Islands I started planning in middle school (I think those are a rough three years for almost everyone) and a journey to Patagonia that I designed in the aftermath of a break up. These imaginary itineraries also force me to learn about the destinations so in the distant future, when I do go there, I will be unbelievably prepared.