|photo by Dorien Scheltens|
there is something about traveling that makes you a tad bit crazy. you will find yourself paying double the amount for a cup of coffee than you would at home or trying a local food you have never eaten before or buying souvenir mugs or jumping in frozen Norwegian lakes. all justified by saying “well, when in (fill in the blank!).” i am not saying it is a bad thing. i have done all these things while on vacation. in fact, i am saying it is good sometimes. i makes us break out of our shell and try new things. maybe i would not jump in a frozen colorado lake after dinner but there is something so magical about the sun still being up after dinner and swimming in NORWAY!!
FIVE WAYS TO STEP OUTSIDE OF YOUR BOX:
1. eat what the locals eat:
one of the best ways to experience a new culture and break out of your shell is to eat what the locals eat! you might not like everything you try, heck, you might not like anything but you will never know until you try! brown cheese, black licorice, reindeer stew, horse sausage – i tried it all and the only thing i didn’t like was the licorice (because really who does?!). this is also something you can take part in while traveling within the States – if you are in Maine, try lobster. or if you are in Oregon, try fresh fish. or if you are in the Louisiana, try some gumbo!
2. go where locals go:
it is so fun to do the touristy thing but what really makes you step outside your box is when you do things that locals do. maybe you go to a church service that is not in english. maybe you go to the local bakery and not the hotel lobby for breakfast one day. maybe you go to “the beach” where all the locals enjoy as much sun as they can get because they only get a couple hours during the winter. find some locals and talk to them – see what they like to do. you are in luck if you go visit someone who actually lives there because they can take you around.
3. bring spending/ blow money:
every vacation i go on i budget everything. i wish i had thousands of dollars to have all my dream vacations but i don’t. i save my money, plan ahead, and look for deals (bookit.com is a great resource!!). one thing that i ALWAYS put in the budget is spending money. when you are in New York you HAVE to go to a Broadway show! or when in Harry Potter world it is too exciting to buy overpriced butter beers with souvenir mugs! and i am so glad that when i was in London i paid the money to walk through Westminster Abbey, i spent the whole day there and i will never forget it. you want to be able to do fun things on vacation. things that you would not normally do back at home (like pay $7 for a latte, but when in Norway!)
4. don’t plan every moment:
i am a planner so i do plan my trips. i just feel better knowing where i am going to stay each night but even us planners need to let go a bit and let our new world take us for some adventures of our own. go on a walk around the neighborhood and explore. plan a day where you go into town but let your exploring lead your adventures – maybe you will spend hours at an adorable coffee shop or walk past a old church just about to start a service. maybe you meet people and they take you to their favorite lunch spot. leave room for adventures or you might miss out!
5. let your heart lead you:
this sounds slightly crazy but i mean it. my little heart is the only reason i went swimming after dinner in a crazy cold lake that in a couple months will be so frozen that cars will drive over it. my heart kept telling me “you’ll regret this if you don’t jump in” & “when else can you go swimming in norway?!” and so i listened and jumped in. it was cold. we only swam for 15- 30 minutes. but i will never forget it. your heart knows you best and is sometimes the only little push you need to get out of your over thinking mind. let go and make memories.