The Six Phases of Wanderlust for the Traveler Stuck at Home

 

Whether you’re like me, saving up for your next adventure, or out of vacation time for a little while, there are many travelers who cannot be on the road as much as they would like.  Here are the six phases of wanderlust these travelers go through at home.

 

Phase 1.  The This Won’t Be So Bad Phase
The DVR is full.  So is the fridge.  The bed has the right number of pillows.  There are some comforts at home that are certainly worth sticking around to enjoy for a bit.  Evenings with friends and family fill up the calendar.  And work–if you sport the traditional nine to five–your coworkers are in good spirits, happy to welcome you back into the fold and fill you in on the latest office gossip you missed while away.

I love coming home to my little bar cart. Especially if I'm adding something I picked up on my latest trip.
I love coming home to my little bar cart. Especially if I’m adding something I picked up on my latest trip.

Phase 2.  The Last Trip is Really Over Phase

Your photos are edited.  They’re uploaded.  They’re tagged.  They’re instagrammed.  You talk to your new friends from the road every once in a while.  Everyday life seems ordinary again.  You’ve got chores.  You’ve got errands.  You’ve woken up in the same place and done the same things for weeks.  Everything is blah.

Oh good, a mouse in the washer. This will be fun.
Oh good, a mouse in the washer. This will be fun.

Phase 3.  The Oh Wait, My Hometown is Awesome Phase

You end up doing something new on accident.  And you remember–your hometown is awesome!  Don’t tourists come here all the time?  What do they do?  You think about how you always try to travel like a local, and here you are one.   You get excited.  You see your museum, your corner bar, your trip to the grocery store through fresh eyes.  You are buoyant.

Driving up Broad Street in Philadelphia, I ran into the Budweiser Clydesdales by accident.
Driving up Broad Street in Philadelphia in August, I ran into the Budweiser Clydesdales by accident.

Phase 4.  The Oooh, I haven’t Been There Yet Phase

Maybe it’s a friend’s vacation pic, maybe it’s a blog post from a beloved travel blogger, or perhaps it’s a piece on NPR, but some little destination or spot comes up and you think “Oooh, I haven’t been there yet!”  You do a little digging, a google image search, check it out on trip advisor.  It looks amazing!  The perfect mix of culture, relaxation, and adventure.  You know people who’ve been there to ask for tips.  You don’t know anyone who’s ever been there.  You look at your calendar and see a perfect spot to block off to visit.  But you don’t do anything.  You just think about it a little.  You just let the idea hang out for a bit.

Most days this yard sale Renoir makes my room feel chic. Not today. Today it’s screaming, “Stephanie, when are you going to get your ass to France?”

Phase 5.  The Travel or Scratch My Eyes Out Phase

You might still be thinking about that first destination to get ahold or you or you may have moved on to a new place.  But now your desire to travel has moved from a nice fantasy to a need to plan it.  If you don’t figure out how to make it a reality, you will scratch your eyes out.  You’re on skyscanner and kayak constantly.  You fantasy plan while you’re in line at the grocery store.  You search for documentaries about it.  You read through every travel blog post you can find.  You do the math on how much it will cost and how soon you can go.  You put together loose itineraries in your mind of your must sees and your like to sees and your like to tastes and like to drinks.  You know what the weather is like today and what it will be like when you can get there.  If money and time were no object, you’d have been there yesterday

Lucy waiting patiently while I play on Skyscanner for the millionth time.
Lucy waiting patiently while I play on Skyscanner for the millionth time.

Phase 6.  The I’m Doing This Phase

(Also known as The Eff this, I’m Out Phase) Right before you go truly crazy, you put the idea into the universe.  You ask a friend if they want to go.  You spot a slight dip in flight prices.  You look at your bank account and the calendar and the dream is no longer just a dream. You buy the ticket.  Or maybe you book the hotel.  You pull the trigger and commit financially to some piece of the trip.  You ask your boss for the time off.  You breathe a huge sigh of relief as some part of you releases a tension you couldn’t even perceive.  You are free.  You are doing this.  You are going.  Soon.

When my Brazil visa arrived, I did a happy dance.
When my Brazil visa arrived, I did a happy dance.

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