Every time I travel, I have this crazy thought on the last day of my trip. It usually strikes me as I'm showering for the final time in a foreign city, or packing up my belongings and mulling over the trinkets and goodies I'm bringing back for family and friends. Or as I'm standing on my hotel balcony, sitting in the garden of the Airbnb I rented or walking the streets of this far-off country for one last time. It doesn't actually matter what I'm doing. It's the fact that it's my final day before heading home that makes this thought pop into my head. It happens like clockwork. The thought is simple: What if I never left?





It starts out as one tiny question in my ear, but it quickly morphs into so much more. A cloud of questions and possibilities, and eventually a full-blown plan of action. The question becomes a narrated episode in the matter of minutes.

It goes like this:

What if I just never went to the airport? If I ran away from the hotel I'm staying in and completely skipped my flight. What would happen next?

To state the obvious, I would not be landing in John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City (my current home base) within X hours. My family would have no idea where I was. Would I tell them that I decided to stay back and not return home just yet?

I'd have to. At least in order to avoid a Liam Neeson
type episode with a SWAT crew searching for me and an expensive bill my family would foot for an investigation that would lead nowhere.

So I'd tell them. And they, along with my conscience, would question my job, my bills, my responsibilities, maybe even my sanity.

But I could make it work, I tell myself. I'd get a job at a bakery or coffee shop, scooping gelato or serving beer to start. I'd pick up the language in a matter of months and then maybe I could teach English at a local school.




I'd rent a little apartment with my savings and new earnings. Nothing fancy, just the bare necessities of a kitchen, bathroom and bed. Maybe a nice view or a private patio if I'm lucky. I'd forgo a television, shop at the local markets and ride a bicycle to save money. I'd befriend my neighbors, chat with locals and get lost in a city that I'd eventually call home.

Maybe not forever, maybe not for long at all. But the tantalizing idea of skipping one flight and completely changing my life is almost too tempting to pass up.

So on my last day of travel, as I shower in the tiny hotel bathroom, eat my final croissant for breakfast and say hello to local merchants with a sad twinkle in my eye, I consider what it might take to turn this fantasy into a reality.

I highly doubt I'm the only one who's let this scenario play out in their mind when traveling.

Perhaps it's just that wanderlust feeling pulling on our heartstrings, creeping into our minds and whispering "Don't go!" as we pack our bags. Or maybe it's a subconscious desire to throw everything to the wind
 forget all our responsibilities and leave the world behind us.
Either way, it's an inescapable thought that we globe-trotters are faced with as we explore the world. So let's consider, for a moment, what might happen if we really did give in to this fantastical thought. What would we need to do and think about to make that dream a reality? 

Language. Do you know the language already, or can you easily adapt without it and learn as you go? Maybe you don't mind the challenge of picking it up. Be sure to consider any dialect spoken by the locals.

Cost of living. If it's a relatively expensive city/town/island, and your plan is to get by on a part-time salary, you might not have the best experience. Make sure housing, food and utilities are within your expected means, enough so that you can still enjoy this new place without being on a super shoestring budget.




Support. Whether you think so or not, the type of support system you have at (your original) home is crucial. Knowing that your loved ones are there for you and behind your decision, no matter how crazy or spontaneous it is, will help make your transition smoother and less scary. 

Vibes. Lastly, you need to feel at home in this destination. This is something you can't just consider, but need to actually feel. The vibe and intuitive impression you get from a city will help you determine whether it's right for you to settle into. Basically, you’ll just know. Because it will feel right.

By Angelina Zeppieri

Angelina is a ​lifestyle writer and explorer from New York City, focusing on travel, food and other important things. You can usually find her on a yoga mat, at a wine store or off on a new adventure. Follow her on Instagram and her blog.