Could it be that Americans are a restless people, a mobile people, never satisfied with where they are as a matter of selection? The pioneers, the immigrants who peopled the continent, were the restless ones in Europe. The steady rooted ones stayed home and are still there…” –From John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley.

If you want to travel, but can’t because of work, children or money, the desire to be somewhere else can sneak its way into every part of your life. It’s not just about escaping the drudgery of a daily routine; it’s about looking for the other “you” can feel just under the surface.

Try this: Escape reality for one morning. Pick a day and get up while it’s still dark (You do everyday? Ok, sacrifice a weekend and don’t rush around getting ready like you normally do). Take a walk through your city – not around your neighborhood but around an area that’s usually busy, like a mall or plaza. Before the sun comes up, relish in that still darkness that protects your city from the bustle of the day. Notice the wind or notice the absence of it. YOUR city is alive, though people that live there may wander around ignoring this.

It’s these times we cherish on our vacations—getting up early to travel to some important sight. The weather is different. The trees are foreign. Even the early-morning lighting of a grocery store seems out of place. Runners often know this feeling well, as their minds are focused on celebrating the little things that are different when the action is the same.

So, act like a runner and go out at an odd time of the day. At unexpected times in the day you can absorb a place without being distracted by the variety of human interactions. Sometimes we travel to absorb other cultures (and this can be done in an ethnic corner of your town), but more often we travel to seek new experiences. Think of the quote by Proust: The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.

If you want to get away, break free of time and routine. Leave everything behind and follow a cloud as it inches across the giant sky. It’s slow, but it’s moving with a purpose; a successful traveler is the same way.

Explorers are not only so when boarding a plane or eating off a street cart in a faraway land. You don’t have to ride a fast train through Europe or sail to Easter Island. A real traveler is always uncovering what’s right there, building a self by seeing anew.

What’s your favorite way to travel without leaving home? Leave a comment below!

Photo by prayitno