There’s nothing quite like the excitement of travel. As a new city unfurls before you with its own culture and customs, you will create life-long memories as you experience each facet. And, while travel is obviously a hobby that will fulfill you and fill your heart with joy, you might also find your mind wandering while you’re away. For most travelers, the hardest part of being away is being disconnected from loved ones.
Maintaining connections with friends and family is vital to your mental well-being: one who feels connected to his or her loved ones typically reports less feelings of anxiousness and depression. At the same time, talking to those who know you and love you will help you keep a better handle on who you are, too.
Before your next trip, make a plan to connect with your loved ones throughout your trip in order to remain centered, happy and open to the new experiences in front of you. To make things easier, I suggest the following four tips to keep in touch on your next trek around the world.
It’s old school and romantic and so much more fun than typing out a mass email. On your next trip, pick up a package of postcards, find a café and start writing to those you love. Obviously, by writing about your travels, you will help your family and friends stay abreast of what you’ve seen and done while away from home. Writing in the moment will also help you remember the stories you want to tell specific people in your life: perhaps something silly you saw reminded you of your sister, and it’s a detail that you might otherwise forget to share by the time you arrive home. On the other end, your loved ones will love to find a postcard from you in the mail while they’re missing you.
Writing is one of the best ways to chronicle your trip as it happens. You can take pictures and videos, sure, but writing down everything you did will help you remember each day of your journey years down the line. You’ll find yourself feeling even more accomplished at the end of a long trip, too, as you’ll have a written record of just how much you were able to achieve while on your trip. Furthermore, writing in a journal is a great way to release your emotions after a long day of travel or a trying experience you overcame while voyaging alone. There’s so much that can happen while on the road, and writing about it will allow you to reflect on yourself as you go.
Journaling can help you kill two birds with one stone, if you choose to post your writings online. A blog will give you a place to record your experiences, as mentioned above; your loved ones can come and read your work, too, which will make them feel more connected to you — and vice-versa.
Pick Up Souvenirs
Whether your mom collects pottery or your best friend’s favorite indulgence is artisanal chocolate, you know your people and what they like. While you’re traveling, you won’t be able to avoid walking through markets, shops, flea markets, etc., and seeing things that remind you of the ones you love. You’ll have to keep your trip’s budget in mind, of course, but it’s a great idea to scoop up souvenirs for your loved ones in order to loop them into your trip. You can also try and find souvenirs that reflect your own experience: spices to make the best dish you tried, linens from someone who you watched weave them, fashion typical of the region. Everyone loves a souvenir, so you can’t go wrong. You’ll feel super connected to the people for whom you’re buying during and after your trip, too.
Perhaps this is the most old-fashioned way to keep in touch, but it has stuck around for so long because it works. The good news is that, thanks to the many technological advances that seem to happen every day, you can use a variety of different apps and resourced to get in touch while out of cell phone range. You can see your family members’ faces as you video chat, or text your best friend as usual with a SIM card that works in the country you’re traveling. No matter which option you choose, you’ll benefit from the closeness and conversation — and maintain ties until you’re back home to further build them in person.
You already know that there’s nothing like traveling. Now, you can find a way to combine your passion with the ties that bind you to the place that you call home. It’s the best of both worlds, which means you’ll be even happier to explore the next time around.