Not every backpacker travels the world full time. Sometimes travellers are caught in between gap years or career breaks, and spend time at home either to work, study or simply just save up some money for their next adventure. The problem is how to deal with the inevitable wanderlust that hits you between trips, how to cure the withdrawal symptoms of itchy feet and cabin fever. The answer is closer to home than you think.
I am not a full time nomad. Unlike some people who follow their dreams and travel full time, I take the middle way and travel for around half of the year, and spend the other half working on my career as a nurse. These aren’t always in consecutive blocks, sometimes I take a month off, sometimes, six or even longer. Sometimes I simply take a weekend break abroad in between my normal shift patterns. This allows me to not only travel as much as I want when I want, but also have a great, fulfilling career and home life too. I have the best of all worlds!
The problem is when I am at home I do get insane cabin fever sometimes. If I am at home for too long I genuinely get a physical need to just get away somewhere and travel. It’s almost like a physical addiction in many ways. I won’t lie, it is not easy to resist.
So how do I deal with it?
One thing that does ease the symptoms is planning for my next trip. Reading travel blogs and destination guides and looking at pictures on social media of places I want to visit, all of this helps to inspire me and – for a short time at least – satiate my itchy feet. Knowing I will be on the road again before long helps me deal with the times I am not.
But this is only a short term solution.
The most helpful solution I have found is to travel locally. Visit places in my own country that I have never seen before and always wanted to, or simply go to another city and just enjoy it as a tourist would.
The United Kingdom is a fantastic place and there are plenty of very good reasons tourists from around the world are visiting here in record numbers.
So why not take advantage of the resources on your own doorstep? I love the fact that I can explore the UK’s cultural heritage with the plethora of castles, cathedrals, museums and historical sites right on my own doorstep. The history and heritage of the UK spreads right back to the neolithic period, and has so many fascinating stories to delve into and explore.
There are some of the worlds most stunning countryside views all within a short distance of wherever you happen to be, and surprisingly to some people some amazing award winning beaches and some dramatic and awe inspiring coastlines. I can even enjoy great shopping, world class gourmet restaurants, fantastic shows and attractions in some of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world!
As I said, there is a lot to see and do in the UK, and it makes a lot of financial sense to sate your wanderlust by exploring your own back yard. You don’t even have to go very far, try and look at your own home town or city with the eyes of a tourist, see the attractions that you have always overlooked or not taken much notice of in a new way! It is shocking how much more you can appreciate the area you live when you do this!
Just hop on a train!
If you do decide to visit a little further afield, the UK has a great public transport system that means that there isn’t anywhere you can’t get to within a day. Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that the public transport system has a lot of problems, it is aged, run down and often extortionately expensive, but the fact that you can live anywhere in the country and decide to visit London, Edinburgh, Swansea or Newcastle on a whim and be out exploring them the same day is fantastic. Cheap budget flights, cheap but slow long distance coaches such as National Express are great options too, but a good middle ground is the countries extensive rail network.
Again the trains are not perfect and often expensive, but there are many plus points to using them. Their network is very extensive and can get you pretty much anywhere you want to go, and if you plan a little ahead and are smart with your ticket booking, you can still get great deals. As annoying and inconvenient as it is it is often a better option to do this as far in advance as you can rather than paying for your ticket at the station as you can make a lot of savings this way. In terms of living in the North of England, and being able to hop on a train and visiting Durham, Edinburgh or Glasgow for example, it is absolutely fantastic, and I love being able to do this whenever I choose. It is easy to book a hotel or B&B for a night or two and have a city break on your own doorstep! National Rail is another system with a larger network of train lines that can take you anywhere else in the country. Even short hops over to Ireland are viable day or weekend trips with cheap airlines and regular ferries running from Liverpool and Holyhead to name just two, there is no excuse to sit at home and let cabin fever overtake you!
So if you have the urge to go travelling or backpacking but don’t quite have the time or the money to do so at the moment, or you are in between big trips and just need to take the edge of your eternal wanderlust before you set off on your next big adventure, then exploring the sights and attractions of your local area may be just the answer you are looking for. Remember, tourists from all over the world are taking long haul flights just to see the sights that are only a train ride away for you! So grab yourself a cheap train ticket to a town or city close to you that you have never visited before and book yourself into a cheap place to stay. See the glorious United Kingdom through a tourists eyes.
This post has been brought to you in partnership with Transpennine Express.