As much as I’ve always enjoyed traveling, it seems that it has almost become a way to one up each other. Discriminating questions such as “what kind of car do you drive?” have been replaced with “how many stamps do you have on your passport?” Perhaps being a jet-setter isn’t feasible for you at this season in your life due to finances, responsibilities or unexpected life circumstances. My own travel frequency has ebbed and flowed over the years, but I’ve still managed to feed my adventurous, restless spirit while taking temporary breaks from wandering around the globe. If you’ve had to take a temporary detour from traveling, you can still find ways to quench your thirst for adventure close to home.
Try New Restaurants and Recipes!
If you’ve read my other posts, you know I live to eat, therefore staying close to home has not hindered me from tasting good food. For example, instead of eating at my usual spots on date nights or happy hours with my friends, I’d commit to trying a new restaurant each month. When I lived in a smaller town where new eateries weren’t popping up as frequently, I’d try something on the menu that I had never heard of and probably wouldn’t usually try. I’ve even asked the manager if they could make something that wasn’t on the menu, perhaps a new dish they were thinking about featuring. More often than not the answer was no, but I’ve gotten a few surprising yesses! Even trying new recipes at home from the thousands you probably have bookmarked in your
cookbooks or saved on Pinterest could be satisfying. Instead of simply throwing a meal together, go all out, “chef style”. In the comfort of your kitchen, put on a cute celebrity chef looking outfit, pour a glass or two of your favorite wine (Keep the bottle handy!), pretend you’re a TV chef and leisurely begin to chop and sauté with a smile. If you really want to turn it up a notch, invite family and friends over to sit in as your live studio audience while you entertain them with your at home culinary adventures.
Break Out of The Routine!
After you’ve made it a point to become a taste bud tourist at home, get ready to hit the streets. The city I live in now was already my hometown. When I moved back, I had to act as if I’d never lived here before or else I’d get caught up in an old routine and miss out on new experiences. While I didn’t exactly become a tourist in my city, because I wasn’t looking for cheesy tourist traps, I did adopt a “new resident” mindset, and you could too regardless of whether you’re already well settled into your city or you’re still unpacking boxes. One recommendation is to join local artists groups, such as Arts Huntsville in Alabama to get the inside scoop on the local cultural arts and music scene. Also, if you don’t mind window shopping for homes, visit open houses in various neighborhoods to chat with and pick the brains of the hosting realtors. They are usually full of information about the local city and if the open house traffic has been slow, they usually welcome the company. Your local chamber of commerce is also a great resource. They usually host several events each year that you may be interested in so be sure to join their mailing lists and follow their social media pages. They are great for networking, meeting new people and discovering more about the city. If you are looking to create relationships with others, why not sign up for local interest groups through social sites such as Meetup. With Meetup I discovered vintage antique shops, participated in book club discussions that have shifted or firmed up my perspective and found an unexpected fondness for hiking. A book club I joined in the Washington DC area introduced me to many books including The Alchemist, the popular novel by Paulo Coelho. Once a month we’d meet on a Saturday for brunch at a local bakery to discuss novels and life. Since the city is a melting pot of cultures, ethnicities and race, the discussions were always multidimensional.
This next tidbit I tried is a little deceptive and may even sound strange, but if you’re single why not join a dating site and focus on singles that are new to the area? If you hit it off with a potential candidate, you have a companion with whom to explore the city, which most times is a lot more fun. I noticed that if men on dating sites were from the area or had been there a while, they were usually more settled and not as open to disrupt their predictable routines. By focusing your search on someone who wants to explore the city with you, you can approach them as friends without any pressure. At the end you will have met new people and discovered some of your city’s hidden gems. In my own experience, I ventured into places from holes- in-the-wall to the classiest venues with one guy in particular over a summer when I didn’t travel and he’s still a friend to this day.
Share the Love!
Another great way to explore, even when hopping on planes and trains just isn’t feasible, is to start or expand your volunteer efforts. Local organizations are always hosting fundraisers that are actually really fun, but in order to make events successful and turn a profit, they rely on volunteers. I’ve been able to enjoy quite a few concerts and festivals in exchange for a couple hours of my time. In addition to having fun at these events, you feel a sense of community and joy that far exceeds sitting at home on the couch wishing you were in exotic lands.
These and other experiences I’ve had on the occasions I’ve been home-city bound may not be as glamorous and awe inspiring as some of my trips, but they fed the explorer in me when I couldn’t venture beyond my city limits. Being open to discovering and embracing new things exactly where you are right now changes your entire outlook. So say yes and signup for unfamiliar opportunities and activities because you don’t know where they will lead. That in itself is exciting, isn’t it? The point is there are numerous ways to make everyday life an adventure. I encourage you to travel often, see the world, experience something new. Maybe it’s a trip to Spain, Thailand or South Africa. Perhaps it’s a road trip through the United States. However, if these aren’t on your radar right now, remember you can still eat, shop and tour wherever you are! Life in itself is an adventure and I believe each experience whether at home or abroad can bless us, shape us, inspire us or strengthen us if we are willing. After all, our grandparents never had the luxury to take exotic trips, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t fully live.
Have you tried “adventuring” close to home? How did it go? Let us know in the comments section below!
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