Keeping that travel mentality with you through the winter

Spring is not too far away, but as I look out my window to a grey, rainy Vancouver day, it couldn’t feel farther. You know, one of those days when it never really gets light out? It’s those days that make me yearn for bus rides in far off places and lazy days on the beach.

But, if that’s not an option (which it may not be for most of us), rather than endure the cold months, I’ve started to think about ways to enjoy them. Why not treat days at home like those on the road?

It’s easy to head to Instagram, and scroll through endless #tripstagram photos, loosing yourself in someone else’s #dreamlife, all the while wasting away your real life.

Instead of wishing you were on a yacht in Greece or wishing it was warmer, here’s my list of how to make the most out of the colder months, and make that travel mentality a part of everyday.

Read for pleasure

Reading on a train

The act of reading a physical book is, unfortunately, becoming more and more a thing of the past.

Recently I asked myself the question, “How much do I actually read?” I could pick out a lot of reading articles online, reading scripts or pieces of books for research, but the only time I really read for pleasure is when I’m travelling.

I devour books while on plane rides or lying on the beach or waiting at a train station, but when I’m at home? I rarely sit and read a book for pleasure.

The act of reading I find so much more of a self-care act then say, watching a TV show on Netflix. I find reading to be more of a relationship – between me and the author. We’re in it together.

This act of self love, giving myself time to sit and immerse myself in a page, gives me the same feeling of pause that travelling does.

Get friends together for Kaffemik

kafeemik greenland nuuk

If anyone knows a thing or two about making it through the winter months, it’s Greenlanders. With the sun only appearing for a few hours a day in winter, there’s a lot to be said for enjoying your own home.

While we were in Nuuk last June, we learned about the tradition of Kaffemik, which literally translates to “via coffee”.

It goes like this; you put out an open invitation to friends, family, neighbours (sometimes the whole village depending on where you are!).

You get snacks – usually desserts, tea and coffee (of course). People come by, sometimes bringing something, sometimes not, and when the room reaches capacity, the person (or people) who have been there the longest head out. And so it goes all day or afternoon.

Usually this is to celebrate something special, like a birthday or a birth, but it can also be for things like the first day of school. We attended a birthday Kaffemik in Nuuk and it was lovely to just show up, visit with people we didn’t know, enjoy a few sweets, and be on our way.

I love this idea of having an open house, and making it an open invitation with no expectation. It’s got a community feel to it that can be hard to come by in bigger cities.

We spend so much of the holiday season visiting and getting together with people, going out for dinners or drinks, but why not stay in and stay social in the new year?

Plan Your Next Trip

myanmar burma bagan southeast asia

There’s a lot to be said for goal setting. Whether it’s a career goal, a personal best or planning your next destination, things can get a lot easier when you’ve got your eye on the prize.

It may not be for another 6 or 8 months, but keeping this in mind can really help get through the cold winter days.

Whether it’s researching destinations to go to, or slowly gathering new gear, these simple acts can break up every day life and reminds me that there’s something to be excited about.

It also helps when you’re saving money, too. When I was saving for my first trip, I was working two jobs, neither of which I was very fond of. But the idea that I was saving every dollar for this trip of a lifetime made everything easier.

It doesn’t have to be a huge trip either. Can you sneak away for a couple of days – somewhere close to home? Getting out of the city, out of your every day, even on the small scale can be such a refreshing breath of winter air.

Explore where you live

wreck beach vancouver sunset

It’s easy to stay indoors when the weather is less than friendly, but I’m never disappointed with an adventure close to home, no matter the conditions.

One reason I love having company come and stay is that I often do something I normally wouldn’t in my own city. I try and keep this mentality when I’m feeling bored or restless.

If I’m visiting a new place, I’ll go out, without a plan and wander the streets. I’ll duck into alleys and try and find the best spot to sit and people watch. Why don’t we do this at home?

Recently, we had a friend in town from Sweden and had a drizzly Sunday with no plans. We ended up taking him to Wreck Beach, one of the most beautiful spots in Vancouver as far as I’m concerned and once we were out that way, decided to visit the Museum of Anthropology.

How many museums have I been to, all around the world, and yet I’d never made it here.

Even if it’s finding a cute coffee shop you want to try just outside of your everyday, take the time to see what else is nearby. It can often feel like you’re in another place, just by getting out of your normal routine.

Take photos

Taj mahal india agra reflection

And I don’t mean selfies.

In case you missed it, Brian, Macca and I love being photographers. Brian usually has to wrestle the camera out of Macca’s hands when we’re filming.

It’s a new perspective on a new place; a chance to capture little pieces that make up a story of a place, or a day.

I first learned what I know about photography while in India with Brian back in 2012. I had always wanted to learn, but never had a camera or a teacher, and all of a sudden, here were both! Not only that, we just happened to be in one of the most diverse and beautiful places in the world.

There’s no reason not to do the same at home. Go on a walk or a drive and bring your camera. There doesn’t need to be an agenda, other than to enjoy yourself.

If you’re new to photography, or don’t have a camera, ask around. These days, most people have some sort of DSLR camera and you might even find yourself a teacher while you’re at it.

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Savour Winter with a Travel Mentality

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Author

Brianna Wiens is an actor, director and photographer who has worked for a number of theatre companies over the years. She has also started a new drama programme in Bolivia as well as travelling all over the world.

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