How to Live Like A Traveler (Even When You Are Home)

How to live like a traveler (even when you are at home)
It can be really tough when you get that itch to travel, but circumstances prevent you from traveling too far or for very long.  A big year at work and our first year of having a mortgage to pay off mean that there hasn’t been much scope for overseas trips in the last 12 months, but I have developed some strategies to help keep myself sane and grounded when all I really want to do is take flight.  Here are some of the ways I help myself find that exhilarating and/or comforting feeling that travel always brings into my life.

Centre Yourself

Many mornings when I have to get up, shower and go to work, I try to visualise the excellent life place I was in when I was travelling solo for six months, back in 2013.  The physical place that represents my adventure mindset that I always end up returning is Whistler in Canada, because I was there in summer and the landscape, hiking and people I met were amazing.  I felt so free and grounded there.  Most mornings when I am in the shower, shampooing my hair etc, I imagine I am back in the shower of my dorm at the Whistler Hi Hostel.  This helps me start the day with the same peace and sense of wonder that I have when I am travelling.  Every day is an opportunity to recapture the person I was that summer.

Prepare Your Body for Future Travel

Traveling requires endurance, and we are often far more active when traveling than when at home.  Lately I experimented with being as active and adventurous in Sydney as I am when traveling, and found it really lifted my spirits.  I bought new active wear that I love so much I would wear it all day if I could, and started getting up at 6am at least 3 mornings a week to take the dog for a 7 km walk around Sydney Harbour near our house in Balmain.  I also started cycling 10 km to rock climbing twice a week and going for drives to the beach on weekends for an early morning swim.  Not only do I feel much more fit, strong and capable, I feel encouraged by the fact that I am living the same active life that I would be if I were off on a long adventure. Let’s just say that I have already started my training regime for a life of future travel.

Downsize Your Possessions

After having been home for a while, most of us tend to start to accumulate possessions again. While I love having shelves full of books, an ice cream maker, and at least three big fluffy petticoats for wearing under vintage dresses, I often feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that I have.  I often lie in bed at night doing an audit of my wardrobe, working out what would make the cut if I were to head off traveling, and what would stay behind.  I’m making a point at the moment of selling or getting rid of a lot of possessions that I just really don’t need in my life any more, and whenever I buy anything new I think about whether this is something that will help me in the future if I decide to live a more transient life.

Make the Most of Your Weekends

Even when you work full time, there are weekends (especially long weekends) when you can get out of the city and go somewhere different.  Even though it has been a very busy year without any overseas trips (NZ doesn’t count), I have been lucky enough to go on several short trips in the last year, including to Queenstown, Noosa, Melbourne, Mudgee, Brisbane, Tasmania, and the Hunter Valley.  Even if you can’t jump on a plane or drive for three hours, there are still plenty of ways to explore your own backyard.  Check out national parks near your home, cheap rental properties near the beach for the weekend, special excursions like walks or kayaking trips.  I especially like We Are Explorers, an Australian community of adventurers who curate awesome microadventures that you can go on close to home.

Travel in Your Own City

Even if we spend much of our time dreaming of far-off or exotic locations, most of us are actually not that great at spending time alone.  If you are thinking about traveling in the future, or just want to capture that magic travel feeling, try wandering your own city.  Pick a suburb you have never been to before and visit for the day, go to museums alone, take solo ferry journeys, take a book to a restaurant or cafe with good atmosphere and eat out alone, visit bookstores and art galleries.  Exploring your own city is a great way to revisit that sense of wonder you carry with you when you travel and gives you a chance to see your own home with fresh eyes.

Travel in Your Own Mind

Even if you can’t leave your home any time soon, there is no reason why you can’t expand your own experiences.  Read world literature, watch foreign films, and cook meals from other cultures.  Food is one of the most amazing things about traveling, and is something we savour and remember long after we have moved on to our next destination.  A great way to live like you are travelling is to eat food from the places you would like to go (or have been).  We love French and German Rieslings and have been thinking about going to Alsace for a long time.  We planned to spend a month in France in 2017, with part of that time spend in Alsace, but unfortunately (due to a number of circumstances) it looks like we may not make it in the next 12 moths.  But last night, to help myself imagine myself there, I cooked Coq au Riesling, and it was delicious.  You would be surprised how many ways there are to travel to a place you have never been, even when you are in your own living room.

Ways to Read More

Girl Reading

If you are stuck in a reading rut and would like to find more time to spend with a good book, try joining an online book group. Unlike a traditional book group where you all read the same book at the same time, an online book group will connect people all over the world through a dedicated hashtag so they can share what they are reading. I like the flexibility and the enthusiasm of the two groups below, and they are both full of gorgeous, welcoming readers.

The Year In Books
The Year in Books was started by Laura at Circle of Pine Trees and is an ongoing project open to everyone. You can join in at any time, and can participate via your blog, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads or Pinterest. The Year in Books (#theyearinbooks) is about making space for reading in our busy lives, and is a way for us all to discover more books (and lovers of books).

The aim of the project is to read (at least) a book a month during 2016. At the start of the month Laura writes a post about what she is planning to read that month, and includes some thoughts about the book she has just read. You can share your reading, too – via #theyearinbooks on Twitter or Instagram, or check out the Year in Books Pinterest board for inspiration.

Read Watch Play
Read Watch Play (#rwpchat) is similar to The Year in Books, but every month has a theme. There is a blog run by a wonderful group of Australian Librarians that outlines the themes and is home to a monthly reading group of people all over the world (many of them librarians).  As well as sharing their reading on various social networks through the hashtag, there is a scheduled twitter chat at #rwpchat on the last Tuesday of each month. You are welcome to use the hashtag to talk about your reading and to join in on the chat each month.  Because people tweet from all over the world the twitter chat is a staggered discussion starting at 8.00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, 9.00pm New Zealand Time, 6.00pm Singapore Standard Time, 12.00 noon Central European Summer Time, 8am – 10.30am, 2pm – 4pm GMT.

Salvage: 5 things you can do to extend the life of your clothes

Salvage: 5 Things You Can Do to Extend the Life of Your Clothes

I am resisting the urge to buy new clothes lately, and am trying to take care of the clothes I have. A little meditative labour can save you hundreds of dollars and extend the life of clothes that you love. You will still love them to death one day, but with a little maintenance you can make them last so much longer. To this end, these are the meditative mending tasks I find myself doing on a lazy rainy day on the couch in front of an episode of The Kettering Incident:

Darning

Learn how to fix holes in knitted things, and do it quickly before the hole grows so big as to be unmanageable. There are lots of different ways to darn, and depending on the thickness of the knitted fabric you could darn with anything from tapestry wool to transparent nylon or silk thread. Pinterest has some great instructions for different darning methods.

Replacing Buttons

Fixing loose buttons, or replacing sets of buttons entirely can either make barely functioning clothing useful again, or can revitalise an old tired look. Many times I have bought a rather ordinary dress or coat second hand, and then totally reworked it just by changing the buttons. You could have an old slightly-worn black shirtdress that you freshen up with kelly green buttons, or a nice coat with rather ugly buttons that you replace with something much more classic or timeless. Learning how to sew a shank button on well is an especially useful skill (especially when that coat has got just a little too tight and you need an extra millimetre or two at the bust or midriff).

Depilling

For the love of all that is good in life, get yourself a cashmere comb! My boyfriend bought a sweater online recently that came with its own cashmere comb. I am pretty sure the teeth are made of diamond. This wondrous object of worship now lives in the top drawer of his desk and I use it at least once a week on my three cashmere cardigans and any merino or machine knitted item that is getting a bit ‘pilly’. It keeps my knitwear looking so much less ratty and I feel far more polished and together leaving the house. Depilling is an activity second only to the power of lint brush (I love the kind with sticky layers of paper that you tear off only to reveal a pristine new layer). If you can’t get your hands on a cashmere comb, I hear on good authority that a lady bic razor can also do an excellent job.

Replacing a Zipper

Can you count on more than one hand the number of times you have thrown out or donated an item of clothing just because the zipper no longer works? It’s actually pretty easy to replace a zipper, even if it’s not the right length to start with. I would definitely recommend buying a zipper foot for your sewing machine. I bought my zipper feet on ebay and they (like learning to drive), have changed my life. Being able to replace a zipper is also a useful skill when you have an item of clothing that is either slightly too large or slightly too small, being able to take it in a bit at the back seam or let it out as you add a new zipper, can make all the difference. Life is too short to wear ill fitting and uncomfortable clothes, better to goldilocks the shit out of that favourite garment and make it… just right.

Polishing your Shoes

While I actually never polish my shoes, most days I look at them and think ‘how much better would life be right now if my shoes were shiny and unscuffed!?’ Like doing my nails and blowdrying my hair, I feel like taking better care of my shoes is one of those things I could definitely do to make myself feel more polished. Paying close attention to how worn down the heels of your shoes are and taking them to a cobbler to get replaced is another of those things that can literally save you hundreds of dollars.

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How to: Measure your Insole

Dieppa Restrepo
If you have ever agonised about buying shoes online, let me save you some inconvenience.

After deliberating which size you are, but before you hit purchase, email the website and see if they can provide you with a measurement for the insole of the sizes in question.

Using an accurate insole measurement is the only way to make sure that a pair of shoes will absolutely fit.

I have tried several times to buy shoes online. The results were usually pretty disastrous, until I learned this simple trick. Would you believe that my foot is 22cm, but I wear a 24cm insole? I wouldn’t have thought this was right, but it turns out your feet need that much wriggle room.

Here’s how to measure your insole:

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