The pictures were beckoning and mocking at the same time. Clear blue water, umbrellas in the soft sand, beautiful mountains in the distance. I wanted to be there. But then came the reality check.

You can’t go.

Who would watch the kids?

You have work.

It’s impossible to get time off.

Who would pay for this?

And I closed the tab, feeling like I was shutting down a dream. Again.

Can you relate? Maybe it’s not the kids holding you back or the job issues. But there’s something preventing your globetrotting heart from leaving home.

Here are 4 ways you can be a traveler when you can’t actually travel.

1. Get Out – Locally. Find a new part of town. Take a Sunday drive and get coffee. Just change your scenery to someplace new. If you can’t make time for an hour long drive you’ll never have time for a week vacation. Baby steps. You can even go somewhere locally that you’ve been before and try to experience it in a new way. Sit somewhere different. Go for breakfast takeout instead of dinner. Be open to seeing what’s close to you with a traveler’s eye.

2. Stay In – There are so many possibilities! Learn about a new place right from your couch or that armchair at the library. Watch a travel show. Read a travel guide. Absorb this new place. Then have a party. Make the food you might find there. (It may even require getting out and heading to a grocery store you’ve never been to!) Invite friends and make it an adventure.

3. Relive Travels – Maybe you did travel once upon a time before family and job and life took over. Look at your pictures. Really sit down and remember your experience. Watch your videos and allow yourself to remember what a beautiful, crazy, fun, adventurous, or even disastrous trip it was!

4. Play Someday – If you could go on a trip, where would you go? What would you do there? Where would you stay? What food would you want to try and what places would you visit? This can be a dream trip or a practical plan. Share it with someone who knows you. Dream together! If you have a vision for the trip it is more likely you will make it happen!

Side Tip – If it’s about the kids…

  1. Kids are great to travel with. Seriously. No, it won’t be perfect, but it will help instill a little wanderlust in your babes. Check out how this family traveled the world! And think of how you want to travel when you’re ready.
  2. If you really can’t go far, stay close-ish. Kids can find adventure in anything, and you’ll see things through their eyes. Plus, cars are great for naps!
  3. Know the world. Hang a map. Have a globe handy. Plant seeds in your kids that the world goes far beyond their four walls.

Not all travel can look like a magazine. Find what works for you today and let your heart wander!