I spent last year teaching English in Madrid (you probably already know this). The year wound down in June and on June 28 I moved all of my stuff out of the Madrid apartment and, well, traveled. I had no address, no kitchen, no reliable internet, no specific plans to speak of. I left my bags at other people’s apartments or in train station lockers. I slept on lots of couches and in hostels and on buses and at campsites and even in a gymnasium. I lived this way until October 10 when I got back home. It was fun. But dude, it was also really really hard.
As much as I love traveling it has been such a pleasure to sleep in the same bed for the last month. And to have a room that isn’t someone else’s living room. I’m enjoying my sedentary lifestlye. And the truth is, there are lots of things that you can only do when you aren’t traveling…
1. Cook. Okay, yeah, maybe you stay at a hostel with a kitchen. But it really isn’t the same. You have to find the recipe and seek out the right ingredients, convert cups to liters… I tried to make chocolate chip cookies a couple times, once without brown sugar. Needless to say, they turned out pretty bad.
2. Take a class. Art. Business. Foreign language. Yoga. When you are moving from one city to the next you can’t really learn new skills… other than navigating skills.
3. Dress with your entire wardrobe at your disposal. For a few months I traveled with only a few outfits. It was nice to travel so light, but by the time I returned to normal life I felt very style-deprived.
4. Drink really strong green tea in your own kitchen every morning. Routine is not overrated. I don’t want all of my days to be the same, but I do like all of my mornings to be the same.
5. Make money. (Unless your name is Elizabeth Gilbert and get book advances this doesn’t apply to you.) As soon as I got home I picked up some work at a restaurant where I had previously worked. It’s nice to make more money than I spend.
6. Hang out with old friends. Duh.
7. Develop a hobby. I’ve gotten really into using and making my own natural beauty products. But this is not a sustainable hobby while traveling. Lots of other hobbies fall into the same category: knitting, playing musical instruments, carpentry…
As much as I miss traveling, I just remind myself of all of the things I only get to do when I’m home.