11 ways to satisfy your wanderlust

In German, we have the term Fernweh (literally translated as “distance pain”) which describes the yen of seeing distant places. It is basically the opposite of homesickness and a feeling probably every travel addicted person knows – especially in these special times.

Last year I had all these plans in my mind: I wanted to travel to Latinamerica after I graduated from university. Well, one week after I handed over my thesis, Germany went into its first lockdown because of the Corona pandemic. My travel plans are on hold but this does not stop me from dreaming about my next journeys.

➔ Create a photo book (1)

Dig your photo books out. Nothing supports nostalgia better than photos. Or if you do not have photo books maybe it is time to create one. Way too often all these pretty photos we take are ending up on any of our hard disks and will be forgotten. I am one of the persons who loves developing her favourite photos and decorates the pages by using all kinds of stationeries. And In case you already have a photo book you finally have the chance to catch up cluing in all the photos (at least I am always some years behind). Or are you also someone who loves filming? Watch the last recordings you filmed on vacation and maybe even edit a little travel video out of it.

❗️ Tips for editing programmes
In case you just started editing videos: I would recommend the editing programmes DaVinci Resolve (Blackmagic Design) and Lightworks (EditShare). They can be both downloaded as free-version. No matter if you are a beginner or already have some previous knowledge it will offer you a really good base and even some extended functions (they also have some additional features if you buy the full version). If you feel like you need a little help with editing you should take a look at YouTube tutorials. There are plenty of them that will help you to use the software optimally. I am also watching them from time to time when I am looking for special features.

➔ What’s on your watch list? (2)
My favourite K-drama “W – Two Worlds” starring Lee Jong-suk and Han Hyo-joo.

Staying at home finally gives us the excuse to binge-watch all the series and movies on our watch lists. Whether you prefer to watch travel documentaries or follow Vloggers to find inspiration for your next trip. Or maybe you are more of the fictional stories-type. There are so many series and movies from all over the world – it has not always to be Hollywood. Maybe you want to give Bollywood a try, watch a K-drama, Anime, or a Nollywood movie. This is also a great opportunity to listen to some new languages or improve the one you are already learning.

Try food from other countries (3)

Do you know that feeling? The more you travel the more you fall in love with different food you do not have in your home country (or you just did not know about). To me, this is Alfajores and Mate (Latin America), Matcha candies (Japan), Jajangmyeon (Korea), Scones (UK) as well as Sticky Rice with Mango (Thailand). If you feel the same it is maybe time to explore new restaurants around your place and eighter way take a look for dishes that remind you of your last vacations or try something new – the world cuisine has so much to offer. Or if fancy international restaurants in your neighbourhood are rare try to cook your own perfect meal at home. If you are also a foodie like me and love to try candies from other countries you can also order you some on the internet. I think I will do the same with Alfajores – like now…

Explore your own city (4)

Do you already know every street and corner of your city? Well, I don’t. Search on the internet for interesting spots in or around your home which you can easily reach by public transport or bike. You can even bring your camera to improve your camera skills. Try to find new angles, details, and perspectives to create special photos. Look for architecture, landscapes and nature, animals, urban art or just special streets in your neighbourhood. You can also ask friends to accompany you to explore new places together. I always feel a bit like on vacation when I plan day trips to get out of my flat and explore new places. But of course please have the current Covid 19-measures in mind and avoid places with crowds.

Read yourself into another world (5)

Everyone knows the feeling of getting lost in a book. Why not using this feeling against your wanderlust? Search for your old travel journals to beam yourself back to your best travel memories, buy or lend a travel novel or why not using the internet to browse through some travel blogs? I know a good one by chance ;). Did you already read about my visit to North Korea or how I got totally lost in Buenos Aires?

Prepare your next travel journal (6)

Do you also love bringing a travel journal to your trips? Usually, I always prepare them a little beforehand. In the beginning, I have pages for the packing list, addresses of friends I want to write a postcard to, some safety numbers, a little vocabulary list or a map of the country. Otherwise, I love decorating the following pages with some photos, putting postcards in between, using stamps and masking tape. It gives me pleasant anticipation about my next travel plans.

Hablas español? (7)

One of my goals on my bucket list is a road trip through Latin America. Therefore, I started learning Spanish a while ago. During my semester abroad, I even started studying some Korean and I would love to improve (or more relearn) my 한국어. Learning new languages or improving your skills is always a win whether we are talking about your next travel plans or your CV. Use language apps and videos, lend some books from the library, listen to music in your prefered language or change the audio of the next series you are streaming. Even better choose a series or movie which is originally from the country you want to travel to. Another way is to find a study buddy or tandem partner on the internet (or at your university) with whom you can not only practice your pronunciation but also talk about cultural differences and get to know more about your favoured country.

Music is the key (8)

I always have an extra page in my journal where I am collecting songs during my travels. Music easily brings you back to some precious moments like that one time you danced the whole night on the beach or the other time when you had a sunny drive through the city. Or search for new songs maybe even in languages you usually do not listen to.
‣ I created a little playlist for you with some of my favourite nostalgic travel songs. So get your headphones, lay back, close your eyes, and travel with me through the world.

Create a beautyday (9)

Use your day off for a bit of me-time. Since at the moment, we can not really travel we tend to forget about taking some time for ourselves. On vacation, we love to pamper and treat ourselves especially well since it is a special time. When was the last time you did not set an alarm but just stayed in bed as long as you wanted? Why not buy you one of these nice Korean face masks you loved using on vacation or a special deep conditioner. Maybe take a relaxing bath, get a massage from a friend, try a new Yoga workout or meditation on YouTube. Cuddle yourself in a blanket on the couch and listen to some relaxing music, sounds, or give ASMR a try.

💡 What is ASMR?
ASMR stands for Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. These describe particular sounds, (sometimes also visuals) and whispering voices that trigger a feeling of tingle. This feeling is linked to positive emotions sometimes even euphoria. Most people describe it as relaxing. It helps them to get calmer, more focused or even to fall asleep faster. There are a lot of different themes used like (inaudible) whispering, eating, tapping, or even role-plays. You will need to find your own preferences (not every sound will be comfortable for you).

Contact a travel buddy (10)

“Do you remember that one time when we …” – who does not love to reminisce? Especially with your best travel buddy or last travel partner in crime who shares the same memories as you do. Something else I love about travelling is that I always meet so many people on the road. Why not call one of them and say hello? It is so nice to dream away together and who knows maybe you already start making new travel plans together.

Prepare your next travel (11)

Do you already know where you want to go next? There are so many countries in our world. Did you ever think about travelling to Belarus, or maybe getting to know Botswana and Moldavia? Do you know where Bhutan and Kiribati is? Pick a country you know nothing about and do your research. What kind of life do the people live there? Maybe you will find a new country for your bucket list and even if not you will learn more about other cultures, people and countries on our planet.

Do you have more tips against Fernweh? Leave me a comment.

Why do volunteering

This article might be a bit different from my other ones – today I want to talk about voluntary work (ergo working without getting paid) and why it can be a great opportunity for you. (Just to clarify I’m more talking about clubs, associations and societies – not about an official gap year). In this blog post, I want to share my personal experiences with you. And I would like to introduce you to my student association AEGEE – at least this part is about travelling, I promise.

Discussion about cultural differences in Russia at my student summer exchange 2018 in Saint Petersburg.

First of all, volunteering can involve a lot of different fields and you can join it in all kind of life circumstances. The definition is more or less to work and give your time for free – like a community service. But to be honest, yes it is especially an interesting topic if you are younger and still in your status of education like school, university or in an apprenticeship (but latter makes it harder to find the time, I know, I have been there as well). But in general, there is no age limit – especially not in the terms of getting older.

A lot of people link voluntary work with social work and yes this can be involved, but there are also plenty of other ways to volunteer especially in sports, cultural or economical ways. It can be a schools club or an initiative of your neighbourhood – the only important point is that it supports your interests – after all, you invest your time for free. Some organisations also offer volunteer work in other countries – this way you are actually able to combine your interest in working for a project with travelling. Even though, the interest in supporting the chosen project should be the main impulse. It probably also depends on how strong voluntary work is supported in your country. Actually, I heard from friends that in the Netherlands joining a student club is obligatory.

Moderating the 5th anniversary show of my radio club couchFM (Berlin)

I grow up in Germany where I feel the whole system of voluntary work especially in school is not that strongly supported. In school, we only had a very little choice in different clubs, I was part of the art club, Computer club and later of the pupil’s magazine. But I think for me the really important voluntary work started when I began studying. Lucky me, we had some student associations which presented themselves on our welcome event of my major – theatre and media science. This is how I joined the radio club of my university in my first semester. A few years later, I also became a member of AEGEE when I started my master studies in Berlin.

The flag of my student association AEGEE-Berlin at a summer event

What is AEGEE?
I want to gain the chance to actually tell you something about my student association of AEGEE – because it could be interesting for you (in case you live in Europe) – especially since you seem to love travelling. AEGEE is a student’s forum and the shortcut of Association des Etats Généraux des Éstudiants de l’Europe – or easier we are one of the biggest interdisciplinary student organisations of Europe. We strive for a democratic, diverse and borderless Europe. This is also the reason why AEGEE has locals who are not part of the European Union. We are non-governmental, politically independent, and a non-profit organisation. Our network includes around 10,000 members from over 160 cities in around 40 countries – from the Canary Islands until Siberia. To me, AEGEE supports especially the political and cultural exchange between young people and empower them to take an active part in society.    
For more information visit aegee.org

Craziest experience with AEGEE  

Until today I travelled to ten different countries with AEGEE where I took part in different activities and sessions around topics like history and local culture, arts, political discussions, project and self-development. One of my favourite memories is first when I travelled as a delegate to the Agora – our member’s meeting where all the locals of AEGEE come together (which means approx. 700 people from different countries) – to discuss five days about the future of AEGEE and Europe. But also to spend some time with friends you found in the past years in AEGEE and explore the city together (the location of the Agora changes with every meeting). You can read about my time as a delegate in the article on the right side.

Second, another special experience with AEGEE was when I decided to become the main organiser of a two weeks exchange in Berlin with 35 people from all over Europe. The exchange was actually part of the Summer University (SU), one of the biggest and oldest projects of AEGEE, it started in 1988. The main idea of the SU and why it was founded is to promote European integration by doing cultural exchanges and to explore the multicultural dimensions of Europe. But also to find a place to discuss and meet new people from all over Europe. One main rule of AEGEE is to make all of our events affordable for all of our members which gave us a fixed financial frame. It is a really important rule but made it even harder for us to organise the summer exchange in the way we imagined it. Every participant pays only 14 EUR (~16.75 US$) a night, therefore we offer the accommodation, two meals a day, the whole programme, all sessions and the rides during the event (we went to a lake, on a day trip to Potsdam and for three days to Dresden). At some point, it was really challenging for us but in the end, we created the best exchange possible – and I think our participants really enjoyed their time in Germany. 

What can Voluntary work do for you?

I believe volunteering is more than just about to brighten up your CV (but this is actually a nice side effect). In the student associations I joined, I actually got a lot of responsibility and the opportunity to lead my own projects. It is always your own choice how much work and time you want and can bring in but I really enjoyed to use all the opportunities I got – and even to work in a leading position. It is a lot about reaching your own goals, being creative or more open-minded, working with a team, trying new things and ideas without being afraid to fail (and lose your job). There were so many different sections I was able to try out. Another good point is that I actually met a lot of great people – because all of us are care for the same or similar topics it is so much easier to find common interests.

Therefore, I hope I could convince you to give it a try – search for pupil’s clubs in your school, join student associations, take a look for regional projects around your home town or even international projects you can join.

Or maybe you are already volunteering or have other interesting thoughts on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment below.