Sometimes the wanderlust hits hard. I’m lucky that I’m in a sport that takes me all over the world (if I let it and can afford it). For example, this year I will be traveling to such exotic locations as Kalamazoo, Michigan, Feasterville, Pennsylvania, and Madison, Wisconsin.
Seriously though, for those of us who get the random wild urges to leave it all behind, how do we cope with ‘adult responsibilities’, ‘credit card debt’, ‘yadda yadda’? There are a ton of articles features rich, white people traipsing around the globe with the perfect Instagram. Can that be us?
Maybe we can’t always live the life, but I think we can all do more exploring if we allow ourselves the chance.
Now, I do not have any children. I have never been married. I don’t own a house. Heck I don’t even own a car. My tie-downs are low compared to others. My wanderings can be further flung. If you feel restrained, never fear – there are still getaways and day trips you can do to quench those nomadic needs. Here are some ideas to pick and choose from, depending on your circumstances, to quiet that wanderer inside of you.
Find a small town you’ve never been too
My favorite thing to do when I travel is just walking around places I’ve never been. When I lived in Pennsylvania, Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe) and New Hope were small towns with big reputations. In Arizona, it was Jerome. In Florida, it’s St. Pete. In the Netherlands, Rotterdam (ok that’s not a SMALL town but you get the idea).
Chances are high that you have a small town with great reviews within a 2 hour drive. Find a bed and breakfast. Do an overnight trip. Go to the local coffeeshops, meet the local artists, try the local beer. Walk around and do your own historical tour (the internet can probably provide you a free walking guide).
Plan to go to a festival
Fairie Fests and Renaissance Faires are my personal favorite easy escapisms. Going to a faire means absorbing yourself in the playful whimsey of another time or idea. The Sproutwood Farm Fairy Festival in Glenwood, Pennsylvania offers great children activities, music for adults, food, and crafts. Renaissance Faires can be found around the country at different times of the year and you can enjoy jousting, dramatic plays, amazing music, hilarious street performers, or just walk and browse the amazing fineries and food offered.
Faires are primary an American phenomenon, but Europe hosts winter and holiday festivals that are unheard of in the States, and Australian cities have their fair share of celebrations to attend as well. These are planned well in advance, so making plans six months out (or six days) can be completely doable whether you’re in Budget or Spontaneous Mode.
Level up your adventure and get a temp job
Why go on a three-day cruise when you can work on the boat? Why visit a Ren Faire when you can be a part of it? Not everyone can drop what they are doing to work in a nomadic field, but spending a summer as a street performer, steward, or making sales at a chainmail shop can really change your perspective. You get to meet amazing people from different walks of life, and in a scenario most people would not ever imagine themselves in.
Leave it to the roll of the dice
Grab a 4-sided die (or an 8-sided if you really wanna get nuts). Assign each number a cardinal direction. So 1=North, 2=East, 3=South, 4=West, or if you’re doing an 8 sided add in NE, SE, NW, SW. Roll the die. That determines the direction you go. The second roll determines how long you drive.
Use handy dandy Maps to figure out where that would put you, and head out. This is a great option for singles, couples, or families to do something fun and spontaneous.
Let the plane fares pick your destination
I am constantly getting e-mails for low rates and last minute bookings. If you’re in spontaneous mode, go into one of these travel e-mails that you get from websites like Expedia, Kayak, or Booking.com and find your favorite option and get packing. Or, open up your favorite plane fare buying app (I like Skiplagged.com for international, and Southwest for domestic USA), figure out what dates you want to go away, and just start plugging in airport options. This was how I planned our last trip to Europe. The cheapest flight oversea was from Orlando to Amsterdam. Our cheapest home was Reykjavik to Tampa. Then we just filled int the middle bits. If you’re looking for somewhere new to travel just play around with dates and places, especially if it’s more than five months out.
Take a hike!
No really. Find an area of wildlife and get lost for a few hours. Make sure you have the right shoes, apparel, and some snacks for along the way. My waist bag (bumbag/fannie pack whatever you want to call it) lets me store my chapstick, eye drops, $20 emergency cash, license, and cell phone easily while I traipse around a wildlife reserve or trail.
The hardest part for some people in all of this is remembering that the journey should be as fun as the destination. If air travel stresses you out, look at cars or trains. If you don’t want to be away from your pet for too long, plan a day trip or book a pet-friendly hotel near dog-friendly areas. If you hate boats, don’t do a cruise! Sometimes all you need is gas in the tank and snacks in your bag to have a wondrous day.
Now, off you wander!