When driving to a destination and we pass a place, a business, a quirky roadside attraction, a museum, cafe………and say to ourselves “one of these days I want to stop there” “one of these days I need to check that out” “one of these days”? Think of how many years you have driven past that same place and never took the time to stop.
For years I was limited as to how much travel I could do. I thought of travel as somewhere far off, exotic and expensive. I had the luxury of having careers that allowed local travel and state travel.
So if funds are keeping you at home and you have the urge to spread your wings and just go explore, go explore your backyard. What I mean is; go explore your town, your county, the county next to you.
I started this mind set 3.5 years ago. I had the choice to train in either McAllen, Texas (furthest south) or Amarillo, Texas (very north). It was Februrary and I knew Amarillo was going to be cold. I had never been to Amarillo and already had the attitude “I don’t like it”. I had no real reason except some pictures I’d seen. I begrudgingly chose Amarillo. I had a negative attitude from the start. As I sat in my class that I would be in for 1.5 months it occurred to me I needed to make the most of this experience. I knew the chances of me ever being back in Amarillo were slim. I started researching the Internet and downloaded the Roadside America App to find interesting things about Amarillo and the surrounding area. Soon I was posting pictures and coming back to class to boast of my new discoveries. When the locals from Amarillo started asking me questions about places I’d seen and commenting they “didn’t know that even existed” I knew that as a society we often take our own amazing communities for granted. It was at this moment my life changed for the better. I began a quest to search out my surroundings, to visit small towns and their local businesses. By the way, I ended up loving Amarillo and all of the amazing things it offers.
1. Change your attitude: be willing to be open to experience new things
2. Allow more time: be willing to leave earlier so you don’t have to rush to that next destination. Allow time to stop the car and visit and experience.
3. Travel doesn’t require going out of state to be fun. Research the Internet. Join Facebook pages. The fun of travel starts with your attitude.
4. Get off the beaten path: why take the interstate for a fun adventure? Oh yeah, it’s quicker, but is it more fun? You will see and experience more on backroads than you ever will from the interstate or major highways. I accidentally took the wrong road in Louisiana and saw more of that state on that small farm to market road. More of the real, rural communities and life of that state.
5. No money? Day trips are the ticket! Get up early. Pack a lunch and drinks. Split the gas with friends. Take a camera or your camera phone and enjoy the journey on the way to the destination. (Use tip 7)
6. No where to go? Take a quarter. Take a quarter and let the flip of the coin be the navigator on your journey. Go to a county road. Flip. Heads you go left, tails you go right. This was an awesome road trip tool I utilized in college and found my way to Paris, TX.
7. Bored? I challenge you to stop in every city/town/community on the way to your destination and find something to take a picture with. Believe me, when you are in this mindset you can see amazing things to take pictures with AND its a cheap way to capture memories.
8. No one to go with? Guess what? If you wait for someone to always go with you will may never go. You will let opportunities and life slip through your fingers. It is OK to go exploring by yourself. It may push on your comfort level, but hey it’s time to make some new levels. Being alone is really ok and in the process you learn so much about yourself.
9. These small changes will help you to see the world you live in in a different way. Enjoy exploring your backyard.