Five Things to Do in Between Travelling (apart from sleeping)

We can’t always be having adventures in far-flung countries, as much as it pains me to say it, or we’d all be digital nomadic explorers. But we’re not, or at least, I’m not. So, how do you quench your travel thirst in between ticking another place off your Trip Advisor map, aside from doing practical things like catching up on sleep and, of course, getting yourself a kick-ass career? Here are a few of my suggestions.

Quilmes vintage beer label
A very retro Quilmes beer label. Credit: Ebay.

1. Go to your local supermarket and find the ‘Beers of the World’ section. Then rejoice.

I never knew I could have quite so much fun in Tesco (other supermarkets are available) until they upped their game in the World Beers stakes. Now I only have to drive ten minutes down the road and I can – responsibly – fill a basket with anything from Barcelona’s Estrella Damm to Japan’s Kirin Ichiban. My best bargain would be Quilmes, which shamelessly calls itself Argentina’s favourite beer and certainly delivers for the princely sum of £1.15 a bottle, whilst the best taste so far is Chile’s Cusqueña.

2. Explore nearby places you’ve known for years, but this time act like a tourist.

Put down the beer goggles and put on your tourist goggles instead. Have a Google session and try to find out as many bizarre facts about the towns and cities you thought you knew like the back of your hand, then set off with your camera in tow. Make sure you stop off to sample the local delicacies of Greggs and Wetherspoons, then try and buy a postcard of your home town and send it to someone abroad who might be duped into visiting. For example, I can tempt them to visit my local town, with our famous faces such as the Acid Bath Murderer, or our water fountain dedicated to the poet Shelley, who drowned. Tactful, that.

3. Read really heavy books.

This is obviously more of a treat if you don’t have an E-reader, but even those of you glued to your Kindle should take the time to appreciate lifting a ridiculously heavy tome now and again, such as War and Peace or a nice chunky historical epic. Bury your head in a stupidly old hardback and take a deep breath of eau de old book, sometimes complete with yellowing pages or a torn cover, depending on how well-thumbed it is. Bonus points if it’s second-hand and has someone else’s notes in the margin.

French translation from a poster in Paris.
The imaginary journey of Hugo Pratt, lovingly translated by me (then checked by Google Translate, that well-known pillar of accuracy. Ahem).

4. Brush up on your language skills.

Me gustaria hablar mas Espanol y Italiano, pero no tengo el tiempo normalmente (I hope that makes sense – still a little rusty). It’s all too easy to switch off the linguistic skills when everyone at home speaks your language, but why not use the time to learn some basic phrases for your next trip? The sooner you start, the quicker you’ll be able to charm your way into a free beer or haggle like a pro at a market, or simply know what curse to yell when someone rolls their suitcase over your foot. ¡Cabron!

5. Do something eccentrically British (or native to your country).

This is a particularly fun one if you’re able to go on a road trip to a stupidly-named place or you’re likely to stumble upon a weird and wonderful British tradition such as cheese rolling or maypole dancing. Just be careful that things don’t go all Wicker Man, because we know how that one ended. Maybe don’t try and solve mysterious disappearances of local girls on Scottish islands, unless you are looking to channel Edward Woodward. Oh, and try to avoid losing your street cred by being indoctrinated into the strangest British cult of all, Morris dancing (I shudder at the thought of all those bells and sticks – it’s like a tormented cat’s worst nightmare). Good luck!

I’ll be sharing some more tips, as and when the inspiration strikes, but feel free to add your own below.

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