Well, I don’t live in China anymore.

In fact, I’m about to move to a new city (in America) for at least two years. The Husband is going to grad school, and his program lasts two years.

As I mentioned in my last post, traveling is part of who I am. That may seem silly, but it’s one of the main things I love to do. Now that I’m not living abroad and probably can’t afford a big trip any time soon, how do I hold on to that part of my identity?

Which got me thinking … what are some good ways for all of us who can’t take big trips, whatever the reason might be, to stay involved in the travel community? Because, for many of us, we are part of the travel community, and the travel community is part of us.


More blog posts about moving back to America:

How to Start Over in a New City

Ease Back into Life in America

Well, I’m Home.


What is the “travel  community?”

Well, I just made up that term, but I’m sure it’s out there somewhere else. I could Google it, but that just makes things less fun.

Over the years, I’ve developed bonds with fellow travelers. I have befriended fellow expats when I’ve lived abroad. I’ve started conversations on public transportation with people who mention they’re from somewhere else. I’ve heard someone is Francophone, so I whip out my rusty French to talk to them.

It’s a community because we all have one thing in common. We’re crazy enough to spend our time, money, energy, passion on seeing the world.

So now that I’m “settling down” for a couple years, I’m determined to not lose that sense of community. There are many ways to get in touch with it, and here’s what I’m thinking:

1. Couchsurfing

This was actually The Husband’s idea.

Once we get settled in and get to know our new city, we’re interested in opening our home to fellow travelers. I’ve never used Couchsurfing before, but I recently created an account.

Originally, the idea made me nervous. But the website has a good reputation, and the company has made an effort to help you weed out people who make you uncomfortable.

And I’d love to show some travelers around! I have always appreciated it when locals have taken the time to give me tips or introduce me to a hidden gem in  a city.

If you also want to get in on providing/receiving free accommodation, you can make an account here.

travel community new orleans
A quick trip to New Orleans when I lived in Atlanta.

2. Tiny Trips

As much as I wish I could, I might not be backpacking around Eastern Europe or trekking the John Muir Trail anytime soon.

But I can still take small trips.

I’m sure I’ll make the occasional trips back to Arkansas and Atlanta, where my families live.

My friends and I are talking about a “girls trip” sometime soon.

And there are so many cool cities near me. Savannah, Georgia. Charlotte, North Carolina. Jacksonville, Florida. The Appalachian Mountains. I hope to be able to take the occasional trip to see these places.

travel community explore my city

3. Explore my City

Next week, I move to a new city:

Athens, Georgia.

Sorry, not Athens, Greece, although several people have thought that’s what I meant. However, it does make me feel cool that people actually believed I would be moving to Greece! Geez, I wish.

But I really like Athens, and I want to be intentional about exploring the area. It’s a cool city, but small and compact. I’m PUMPED to start exploring.

The area has a good bar selection, as well as restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world. I’m ready to eat some crepes, Jamaican jerk chicken, pho … The list goes on.

Of course, eating out is expensive, and we will majorly be on a budget. For this reason, I’ll lean on cheap/free options, which will probably lead me outdoors. And that’s fun, because I love a good hike!

I also might finally try out Meetups, which is just a website where you can join groups and meet up around town, both to try new activities and to meet new people.

Anyone have any suggestions for getting the most out of Athens?

travel community teach esl

4. Teach ESL

Right now, I’ve been hired by a company to tutor online. While this won’t be my main source of income, it could be a good side gig to pick up every once in a while.

One of the subjects I’ve been approved to teach is English as a Second Language, which is what I taught in China.

While I was in China, a couple people approached me about teaching Chinese students online once the new semester starts in September.

These are just options, and who knows, they may not pan out. But it would be nice to continue interacting with foreign students with a hunger to learn English.


Fellow travelers, how do you stay involved in the travel community when you’re home?

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