(n) wanderlust: the irresistible, incurable desire to travel or wander.
(n) fernweh [German]: ‘farsickness’; an urge to travel even stronger than wanderlust.
(n) eleutheromania [Greek]: the intense desire for freedom in experiencing other cultures.
Evident in cultures all around the world, the desire to explore is a seed planted deep within the human heart — with some better nurtured than others, with some neglected in the pursuit of material pleasure, but with most desperate to grow, yet left seemingly without the time or resources to. It’s a struggle all too familiar to the 20somethings of today.
As a willing victim to wanderlust, fernweh and eleutheromania, I too once felt stuck between my desire to explore and the obstacles of my empty wallet and busy schedule. But with these five life hacks, I finally replaced excuses with action and routine with adventure.
1. Get lost on purpose
A gift and a curse in our generation, social media allows you to broadcast the details of your life in real-time. With a tool so available, however, you must remember to grant yourself a couple hours in this world without a Snapchat story or a play-by-play on Facebook. Recognize that it is OK to keep secrets from social media, and that in fact, it is the only way to indulge in the true human experience. In this way — whatever your adventure and wherever you end up — you won’t forget to get lost in the moment.
2. Go Local
You don’t have to fly halfway across the world to experience something new – you can see your own town, city or suburb in a fresh light every day. To start your adventure: forget the chain restaurants, the brand name boutiques and the corporate superstores. Instead, from your morning cup of joe to your evening errands, branch out and forget the humdrum routine of your everyday life. Go local for the day – and you’ll feel like a tourist in your own backyard.
3. Explore downtown
Often overlooked, aside from larger advertised events, downtown areas of any district are a goldmine of free adventure opportunities. Downtown areas were created with community and culture in mind. Whether you’re twenty minutes from the city or a mini road trip away, search and you will find:
- Music and beer festivals
- Weekly/ Monthly Farmer’s Markets
- Street shows
- Art shows
- Food truck rallies
- History/Art Museums
- Wine tastings
- Flea Markets
- Open Mic Cafés
- Yoga in the park
- Live Music
4. Step outside
Disney wasn’t far off in their whimsical award-winning movie “Up” — its central theme claiming that, “Adventure is out there.”
All that’s left to do is find it. Yet often the money in the bank or the free time in your planner doesn’t quite keep up with the spontaneity of an adventurous heart. Well, maybe it doesn’t have to. Kick it old school, step outside, and create your own adventure. Now not everyone lives where I do, in the suburbs of Tampa, Florida — halfway between the sandy shores and the downtown skyscrapers, but here’s a few ideas that can be tried and tested just about anywhere:
- Picnic in the park
- Fish in the local ponds
- Take a walk with your dog to somewhere new
- Hike/bike a local trail
- Rollerblade to your favorite restaurant
- Canoe/kayak if water is nearby
- Day trip to an adjacent town or city
- Visit a local orchard or strawberry field
- Hit tennis balls, shoot hoops, or go golfing
- Hammock in the sun
- Visit a dog park
5. Reinvent ordinary
An adventure is only as good as its company. Whether you’re traveling in pairs or roaming in a pack, with the right people the most ordinary of things can be the most spectacular of adventures. Run errands with your best friend. Drive with your windows down. Drink milkshakes in the diner. Experience old friends in new places. Lock your phone and leave it at home. Sneak chocolate into the movies. Crash a hot tub. Cook something new, together. Pick up an old book. Play a board game. Eat on the patio. Listen to music in the sun. Treat the day like it’s an adventure and you will reinvent ordinary.
A word in the English dictionary most commonly used as a noun — describing when one embarks on a single, finite “adventure.” Yet, I believe that it’s better understood as a verb — a continual act of exploration. Adventure, unrestricted by situation, distance or money, should not just be a plane ticket across the ocean, but a way someone chooses to experience the world every day. You in?