This is a two-part series in July 2021. Here’s part 1 of 2 with fun personal anecdotes and things I've done recently.
I certainly have my cranky moments but all in all, I’m an eternal optimist and always have a positive vision and hope for what’s to come; regardless of where I'm currently at. But I never let myself get too comfortable with the current “normalcy” or take it for granted. The spectrum of attitudes and outlooks over the past 18 months is rich. But one thing many of us share right NOW is a powerful urge for wanderlust.
Personally, I feel myself oscillating between a yearning for adventure and the pull of anxiety over crowded places. This isn’t necessarily a germ-driven fear but a general dislike for crowds that I’ve developed over the past several years.
Years ago, a wise friend told me, you can find novelty in your backyard if you’re curious enough. If this sentiment is resonating with you and you’d like some novelty back in your life but aren’t ready for full-fledged travel, these SIX alternative plans may just hit the spot!
1. Find an Ethnic Grocery Store
Ok, I basically do this on a weekly basis. I have a pantry-full of kaffir lime leaves, sumac, and bonito flakes. (I bet you’ll google at least one of those!) Few things can beat out culinary curiosity for me🍴. Visiting an ethnic market is like entering an enchanted wonderland (maybe I’ve been locked up too long?!). I find myself mesmerized by the myriad of ingredients I’d either never heard of before or only seen on menus of my favorite restaurants.
I recently made a new instagram friend (so funny how those digital relationships develop). He posted about "achaar", which is Indian/Pakistani spiced pickles that burst with flavor. You better believe I added that to my "discover" list. He told me exactly what to ask for when I go to the Indian market and my taste buds will be grateful soon. By meandering down the aisles and finding an ingredient or two, you may be inspired to learn more about the ingredient, how to use it, its origins, and the cultural connection it has. You never know, you may even fall in love with a new culture and decide to visit on your next trip.
2. Host an Al fresco Dinner Party (or Potluck)
I’m always delighted at how dining outdoors can stimulate the senses in ways that indoor dining may not. In LA, nights are crisp but warm enough to enjoy with a light jacket. There’s something liberating, romantic, and maybe even sexy? about dining under the stars ⭐️🌙. This is something we often do with my in-laws. They’re all about having a good time and I’m here for it. Our Sunday night dinners are legendary. Hang up those twinkling string lights, let a few candles shine, and make a small floral arrangement for the table. Ask your friends to bring their favorite dish, a few bottles of wine (or sparkling bevys for folks like me who abstain), and let the good times flow!
3. Skyline Webcams
OK, I really didn’t want to include any digital/internet-based suggestions here. But when I checked out Skyline webcams; it brought me so much joy! You can tune into a live webcam in many places around the world like Brazil, Costa Rica, the Philippines, or my favorite; Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. (Turn your sound on!).
4. Take up a Hands-on Hobby
There’s something about getting your hands dirty, figuratively, and sometimes, literally, that engages your brain in a way that a passive activity (like TV watching) simply doesn’t. I’m partial to cooking up a dish from my favorite cookbook. You may plant some herbs on the window sill, make origami, or paint-by numbers with a kit from amazon. Make candles, meditate, or start that vision board. Whatever you end up choosing, keep this advice in mind: choose an activity that feeds your curiosity but doesn’t have too many barriers to entry. Us humans are torn between a curiosity for new things and a fear of anything too new. So finding the goldilocks spot is key to keeping up with your new hobby.
5. Check Out a Botanical Garden
I find that getting out into nature truly helps my mind rest and get into a state of flow. I feel my nervous system regulating as if my body is tuning itself to nature’s vibration. That’s because it is! We know that earth vibrates with a frequency of 7.83 hertz. Interestingly, the human brain also vibrates at this frequency when it’s in the “alpha” frequency which is a state of relaxation but not quite mediation. This is the space in which we tap into our creativity that lies just below our conscious awareness. So get out there and immerse yourself in the flora and fauna. 🌸
6. Plan a Trip For Next Year
Just because you’re not ready to travel yet, doesn’t mean you can’t dream. Often, planning a trip with ample lead time is half the fun. I sometimes just pull up my Google maps 🗺, scroll around the world, and zoom in on regions that I know little about. Lately, I’ve been curious about towns that straddle western European borders. For example, Colmar and Strasbourg on the French/German border and Porlezza and Lecco close to the Italian/Swiss border. What small towns will you explore on your next adventure? Don’t forget those travel snacks.
I would LOVE to hear from you below if you try any of these suggestions OR if you have your own to share! Stay tuned next week for ideas 7 through 13.