How to travel without taking a VL

Even when you love your job and your neighborhood, the daily routine can be a bit too much – the day-to-day grind of dealing with traffic, bad weather, stress, and noise! Having a meaningful, enriched life means striking a balance between work and leisure. But what if you’re out of vacation days or otherwise stuck? Here are a few easy ways you can travel, even when you can’t get away.

All A-board

Never been to the paradise that is El Nido? Raring to go back to Cagayan De Oro for some whitewater rafting? Surround yourself with snapshots of your dream destination, and have something on hand to look at whenever you need inspiration.

You can use digital photos as the wallpaper for your laptop and devices, or print them out to create a simple vision board. An added bonus: according to proponents of the Law of Attraction, a vision board helps you realize those dreams, one way or another. Can’t hurt to try!

Follow the scent

Science says that smells are even more powerful than images when it comes to recalling memories and feelings. A whiff of peppermint and eucalyptus at the spa might remind you of your lola, or you might be browsing at Fully Booked and remember all the good times with your ex who loved the smell of newly-printed books.

Smells can transport you to a different time and place – and with candles and oil diffusers, you can hack your brain to virtually travel long distances! Think about scents that remind you of a trip: is it French vanilla, for the macarons in Paris? Lemongrass, for that amazing Bali weekend? A few droplets and you’re there.

Workstation staycation

If you have a nine-to-five job, you may spend 40 hours or more a week at work. That’s at least a fourth of your entire week, and probably more time than you spend in your own bed. You deserve better than to stare at four walls of cubicle fabric.

Why not decorate your work space to resemble your favorite hideaway? Just be sure to check with your office for restrictions, especially if you’re aiming for something extra, like a Moroccan-esque canopy with fairy lights hanging from the ceiling. If you’re up for a beach resort look and a desktop zen garden, by all means!

Ear and now

Wherever you are at the moment, you can recreate the warm and fuzzy feelings from your travels by engaging all your senses. You’ve got the visuals, the scents, and the ambience; complete the experience with immersive sounds.

Let’s say you’re prepping for a board meeting but dreaming of your surfboard. Play some tropical house or ocean wave nature sounds for some chill beachside vibes. Or perhaps you’re not a fan of the summer sun and would rather be back on the rainy streets of London. There are dozens of playlists for every kind of rain sound imaginable, from thunderstorms to an evening downpour. Put on your headphones and be transported.

Pop cult-tour

Whoever said back then that books were a great way to travel would be amazed by the Internet, where everything is just a few clicks away. That also includes your favorite city in the world—simply browse the web for material relating to your favored destination, and you won’t physically have to go there to feel like you’ve arrived.

If it’s Jaipur, look up a recipe for mango lassi (yogurt-based shake) and enjoy with your favorite Bollywood musical. For would-be virtual visitors to New York City, you can easily complete a virtual tour of the Big Apple by looking up tons of TV series and films set in all five boroughs. (Now that’s a New York marathon.)

If it’s Seoul, you could always watch a TV show, or for actions in real life, go to a Little Korea or authentic restaurant near you. (They’d probably have K-pop playing in the background, too.)

We all need a change in scenery every once in a while. But when that’s not possible, a change in mindset can be just as fun!

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