Overcoming Travel FOMO
We've all been there. You return from a trip that you thought would surely quench your wanderlust only to start scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest a few days later wanting something farther, grander, or maybe even just warmer. (Looking at you random snowfall in Atlanta)
The problem is no matter where you went or what you saw, there's always going to be someone out there who has done something crazier. Then there are the people who actually grew up with the good fortune of regular traveling across the globe or being raised in a place that can also be found on your bucket list. No matter what the situation is, the key is often just some perspective.
While you might be feeling lackluster about the handful of countries or even cities you've explored, there are a few ways to instantly feel better.
Recognize your privilege: There are many people out there who can't even afford a weekend away or to take off any time from their jobs. It is our job as travelers to keep this in mind as we may our way through places of varying poverty and even amongst conversations in our own cities. I bet if you mentally scroll through the places you've been in the past few years, it won't seem like such an unimpressive list.
Take yourself back: Not physically, though that may be a good option another time if you really felt a connection to the place, but through photos or other ways you documented your trip. I'm really guilty of trapping photos in my phone. You should at least print some off and throw them in an album. Better yet, take your favorite and get it enlarged and framed as a daily reminder.
Another good option is to recreate a favorite meal or find your favorite wine you had on the trip. Smell is an amazing way to transport ourselves to a specific place in time and reliving those croissants may just be your ticket back.
Start planning your next trip: Whether you're going somewhere in a month or in another year, it's never to early to start planning. Maybe you don't even have a date or year set, there's no harm in looking ahead. This is particularly useful if you find yourself broke and stuck in an endless scroll of infinity pools on Instagram. Put that energy to use and just start a Pinterest board for your future destination.
If you're a travel blogger, this is also a great way to see what's already been written about or photographed often and what information or perspective may be missing. Diving into cafes you want to visit or perfect photo opportunities can be the perfect escape when you're sitting your apartment eating "just add water" pancakes.
Get off Instagram: This is harder than it sounds coming from someone like me who watches stories as soon as I wake up. Sometimes this is necessary though when you get stuck in the internet. Have you seen the episode of Broad City where Ilana and Abbi get so deep in the internet they forget they're in the same room? These are the moments when you should step away. Go for a walk, read a book about a faraway place, do anything but get stuck in the infinite world of geotags. I promise you can come back but maybe after you've let your eyes refocus in some sunlight.
Go somewhere nearby: Almost anywhere in the US you'll find some good hiking or a decently sized city within a couple hours or even just 30 minutes away from you. Just because you're not eating pasta in Italy doesn't mean you can't have an adventure at home. After all, someone in Italy might be scrolling their Instagram looking at the majestic flat cornfields of the Midwest. Not likely, but you get the idea.
Above all though, don't compare yourself to others. Everyone starts traveling at different times with different goals in mind. Maybe you've been fewer places but have gotten more from your experiences. Every trip big or small puts you on the path towards achieving your own travel goals which are just that, your goals and no one else's.