The BlinkPack blog is really new and has virtually no followers (soon to change? I hope?). But in the few comments, Facebook responses, and feedback tweets, there has been a clear theme. Most people have a drive to spread their wings, discover something new, experience a fuller version of life. But there is work, deadlines, home-life, kids, commitments, obligations, tasks, and errands that suffocate the wild hairs under airtight hats. So, for those needing a quick adventure and not knowing where to start, here are ten ideas to get you moving:
1. The little big town
Unfold a map of your state and look for a town about a 90 minute drive away. The lettering of the town name should be fairly big compared to others around it, but disregard any town with a direct freeway link. The state-highway trip alone will rejuvenate the senses, and I guarantee you will find a great lunch spot, a good antique stand, and maybe even a street fair or festival nearby. Its an easy adventure that gets you home for supper.
2. Book a cheap escape on southwest.com
Look for a cheap seat on a Southwest flight, and book it. Do NOT research the destination, hotel, transportation first. Just buy the ticket; there will be time for details later. Roundtrip flights are findable in the $120 range if you can be flexible on dates and destinations. You will experience a rush of adventure the moment you click the ‘purchase’ button, and the next steps of arranging the trip will build excitement as the trip approaches.
3. Buy a bike and ride it five miles
If you have not ridden a bike as an adult, you owe it to yourself to hop on CraigsList and make the purchase. You will feel like you are 12 again as the wind whips by your limbs. There likely is a paved path near you that is car-free and relatively flat. The goal is not to pedal fast, but to take in the scenery, find a quiet place to sit and rest, maybe even pack a little picnic.
4. Go on a Yelp-style progressive dinner
Instead of eating at one restaurant, why not visit four tonight? Fire up the Yelp app on your smartphone and hit the ‘Near Me Now’ button. Choose the four highest-rated establishments and darken their doors, one for appetizers, one for a main course, and two for dessert (why not? live a little).
5. Visit a state park
If you search for state parks, you will likely be surprised how many there are. Make a day-trip to one you have never seen and ask a ranger for a tip on a favorite trail hike. Bring a kite, just in case.
6. Drive somewhere FAR for lunch
Get in your car at six in the morning. Arrive for lunch at noon. Return home by 8pm. From my home in Atlanta, that could mean barbecue in Nashville, Po’boys in Mobile, Crabs in Jacksonville, or maybe even a bite with Mickey in Orlando. Grab a can of smoked almonds, an iced tea in a glass bottle, and a favorite playlist, and you will be headed for a liberating feeling only the open road can provide.
7. Be a tourist in your town
You know all of those kitschy attractions that you only would visit when an out-of-town guest visits? Go to all of them in one day. In Atlanta, that would mean the Aquarium, the M.L. King Exhibit, the World of Coke, the Zoo, and the Botanical Garden. Start the morning right with a full breakfast from a local diner and hit the quintessential tourist trap for lunch (that would be The Varsity around these parts). Use buses and trains to get between venues; a transit day-pass will save you money on parking and add to the tourist-in-your-own-city vibe.
8. Ride Amtrak
Trains in the USA are overpriced, but a coach seat in a chrome railcar will chase away those work-a-day blues. Snooze on an overnight run, have some fun in your destination city, and snooze on the way back.
9. Get in the water
Rent a jetski on the lake. Float down a river in a tube. Shoot some rapids. Geographic water features are exploited for tourism by their surrounding locales. Take advantage of the offerings. Most trips are geared around beginners, so there is no need for experience.
10. Borrow something other than a book from the library
Most libraries have day-passes to museums, tickets to local events, and parking passes for state parks. Visit a local branch to see what the offerings are and select something you have never experienced.
There you have it; ten concrete ways to satisfy your hunger for adventure. If you try any of these ideas, please get in touch. I will gladly feature your story on the BlinkPacking blog.