How To Travel Without Going Anywhere

Findery member Amanda Law on her new bike in San Francisco. Her first bike since college, she’s seeing the city in a whole new way.

And by “going anywhere,” we mean booking a plane ticket or packing the car. Travel can also be a mindset. Let’s make 2015 the year of the “staycation”! Try the guidelines below to re-explore where you live. Pretend like you’re traveling in another country, and you’re likely to have one of the best Saturdays you’ve had in a while.

1. Make time to explore. Yes, you do have the time. Instead of binge-watching your favorite new TV show or running errands, set aside the next Saturday afternoon to go to an area of town you don’t know that well. It’s hard to muster up the oomph, but you’ll be so glad you did. Set aside a few hours on your calendar now.

2. Determine where to go. What’s a restaurant you’ve always wanted to go to? A touristy activity you’ve always been too embarrassed to try? Or, how about a farmers market on the other side of town? A nice view can also bring new perspectives. Use one destination to determine the surrounding neighborhood you will explore.

3. What to bring. Wear shoes for any occasion, walking or dancing, day to night. A backpack is a good idea – you may end up on a hiking trail or in a museum or in the club. (The mindset: discovery and spontaneity!) Also, you might have goods to bring back home. Take pennies to throw in a fountain, a stamp to send a postcard, and the address of a relative or old friend who lives in town but you haven’t seen in ages. Also, crazy idea, but leave the mobile device at home.

4. Pick a different form of transportation. Mix it up from your daily routine. Ride a bike, take the train, or walk. You’ll inevitably see something you never saw before.

5. Talk to people. Ask your server about the history of the restaurant. Engage the person standing next to you at the crosswalk. When we travel in new places, we tend to open up, because we have to (“I’m lost!”), and because we’re inspired to (“I’m free from my daily routine!”). It’s harder at home, when we’re bustling from home to school to work to activities to home, but you can still achieve the same effect with a little effort.

6. Turn off the inner noise. Tell yourself it’s OK not to think about everything you have to do, or worry about work or family conflicts. Now is the time to just be present.

7. Look around. Sit still. Take it all in. There’s always something new to discover in the town or city you live in.

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