Traveling (Even When You Have a Full-Time Job)
I’ve lived on the beach in Costa Rica and in downtown Florence. I’ve traveled from Thailand to Tahiti to Europe. In the past, I found (and made) pockets of time where I could travel for cheap or live abroad as it worked into my life: summers working in between college or high school, studying abroad, after graduation or in between jobs.
Currently, I’m at what some might call, a traveling standstill. Not bad, just different. I have a full-time job and life, that I love and have created. So for now, in my 20’s, here I am – but it doesn’t mean my explorations, adventures and spontaneous traveling has to be halted. I believe we can still maintain responsibility with commitments and work, while still indulging the traveling wanderlust within you.
- Take weekend trips: Chances are, there are many towns, historic sites and hidden secrets to your state. You have to first, open your eyes to what’s right in front of you (or a couple hours away). I’ve traveled up to five hours away without taking any work off. Leave on a Friday right after work, come home Sunday night. I have been to Wyoming, Breckenridge, Aspen, Crested Butte, Winter Park, Nederland and Keystone just this year alone – each offering a new landscape, new people, new shops and restaurants – all of which allows me to still ‘get away’ without going too far and staying within reach, on the cheap.
- Buy a map of your state, pick 10 places to tackle and plan trips: This is exciting. This gives you milestones and the feeling of movement. There are hidden treasures in any state – like the dive bar off the highway in the town with a population of 100 an hour north of you, ghost towns, camping, lakes, monuments, bed and breakfasts, events, festivals, etc. Think about the stories, the people and who you might meet along the way. Get Thelma and Louised out!
- Host Visitors: I find that when my friends or family comes to visit, I do something out of the ordinary, try a new place/spot/location and break my routine. Hosting visitors lets you vicariously travel through them and experience the excitement of new faces. I encourage and welcome my home to all my friends (no matter where I’m living) so keep the invitation open. You know, Su Casa, Mi Casa. On that note, I actually have a guest book I keep for all my guests to write or draw in each time they pass through my place. Let’s me feel like I’ve been traveling, even without moving.
- Try Different Modes of Transportation: This might sound silly. Hear me out. I find that taking different types of transportation opens your eyes to see new things, even on a road you’re ‘familiar’ with. I suggest: walking, biking, public transportation AND just taking a drive to see where you end up. Keep your eyes open (remember to look up, we never look up) and bring a camera with you. The lens lets you find small details, that can be breathtaking. Adventure is available anywhere, sometimes you have to give it a little nudge: welcome and seek it.
- Get Local: I’ve lived in Boulder for a year and a half and there is still so much I haven’t done in the area. Take a Saturday and commit to filling it with some local staples that you haven’t hit up yet. We get used to our routine so try something new. Even in my hometown where I lived for 18 years, I go home and can find something new (my hometown is little, 10,000 people, so it CAN be done). Try: http://www.localyte.com/, http://www.yelp.com/yourcity, http://www.virtualtourist, the App, LocalEats, or your local chamber of commerce for in-your-area travel ideas and reviews.
- Get On A Plane: Up until this last point, I suggested easy alternatives to traveling within your home range. This may not be of interest to you or even not in your budget but if it’s something you’re looking to do, I think it can always be done. I try to plan at lease 2-4 trips a year that involve me getting on a plane, visiting my favorite people and experiencing new places. Of those 2-4 I try to do one bigger trip that I can look forward to and really indulge. This keeps the wanderlust flowing, mixes it up and most importantly, it’s important to unplug and just get away.
It’s important and helpful for me to remember that traveling doesn’t have to be on 24 hour plane rides and to exotic lands (although I do still pine over that and will travel like that in the future). Traveling takes many forms – do you agree?
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. -Robert Louis Stevenson
How do you like to travel? What do you do to find adventure right in front of you?