(No copyright infringement intended by the title of my blog. 😉 We can all keep a secret, yeah?)
I’ve talked about getting away from your work area in the metaphorical sense, by reading authors we love. I’ve talked about getting away more literally in the short term, by taking dance breaks and getting exercise. But what if you’re absolutely feeling burnt out and desperately need away from it all?
…Well, it sounds to me like you need a vacation. You need to have an adventure.
Now don’t say it, because I think I already know what you’re going to say. “But Rion, I work 40 hours a week Monday through Friday for a living! I have six children and a partner and I can’t just up and take a vacation! What about my sick days? What about my paycheck? I can’t do it!” And I understand. Those six kids aren’t going to feed themselves. But the fact is that I’m not talking about an all-expenses-paid trip to Bermuda, or a cruise for ten days in the Bahamas, or a flight to Europe. You don’ t have to go far for an adventure; you just have to go. And when I say go, I mean really go.
When we go places, especially nowadays, we have a tendency to not let ourselves enjoy the places we’re at. We don’t let go of the worries or the delays or the Internet. (Yup, the smartphone and Internet junkie is calling y’all out. That being said, I know I do this too…) It’s not just the “kids these days” sitting around with their iPads and smartphones and PS Vitas. I see adults do this too. It’s all over commercials these days (and it royally p*sses me off), that you can be anywhere and catch the game? First date? No problem! Let the girl light herself on fire; you’re not missing a single touchdown. (Yes, this is a real commercial.) I watched a man in a restaurant just a few days ago, sitting across from the woman he came with, and pulled out his phone to watch a piece of the game. Let me tell you: even from someone like me who has serious trouble putting the phone away, this makes me furious.
So take a moment, get in the car, drive to that park you’ve always gone past. Take a seat by the water, if you live near some. Go away from your computer, leave your phone in the car, and just sit somewhere. (Or if you can’t leave your phone in your car for job/emergency purposes, just set a timer on it for an hour or two and then put it aside. Challenge yourself not to look at it.) Don’t care for just sitting and doing nothing? I know the feeling. Take out a map. Check Google for somewhere within a one hour drive where you’ve never been–or you’ve always wanted to go, but haven’t had the chance–or always wanted to go back to. Find a winery, find a museum. Just go and enjoy yourself in the midst of something new.
Stuck on money? Don’t want to drive? Fine. Do you live in a city? Go play tourist in your own town! Walk around and try to see something you’ve never seen before. Get a cup of coffee at a diner you’d be hesitant about otherwise. (Unless you’re really hesitant. Don’t risk life and limb or anything.) Do you live in the country? Take a walk–but really look around you. Find something new. Go look at the cemetery. See what the most interesting name you can find is, either first, last, or both.
I’ve lived in five different places, and am moving to a sixth in the next few days. Where I was born, there were two corner shops within walking distance of a small child. I used to go there all the time. At House #2, there was a hedge between me and the next door neighbors where the bushes had grown in such a way that there were almost little rooms where the neighbor boys and I could play. I remember one room had a swing made of a vine. House #3 (which I moved back to briefly after #4) was on the edge of a little town, but we had a small park/playground, and several little shops, and a family-owned market. Walk a little further and there was a graveyard, the elementary school, even the gas station market was independently run. It sat right on a lake, with a tiny little beach to sit at. House #4 was a different little town, but again, there was a park, and restaurants, and that same lake, just at a different point on it.
House #5 was a further jump, out into the middle of the state and into the middle of nowhere. But still, I could walk around the block, see a cemetery, look at cows and horses and alpaca and chickens… There was a saddlery nearby, and a posse of dogs would bark at my housemate and I as we walked by. If I chanced a car ride and went out further, I could be at any number of a handful of wineries in a matter of moments, or into the closest city in a quarter of an hour. There were all kinds of places to go on an adventure.
And now I move on to House #6. I’ll be staying again with my parents, and we’re on a busy road. It’s hard to walk anywhere, but I’ve got some ideas. And isn’t moving a great adventure in and of itself? I get to explore a whole new town, find new places, meet new people… It’s scary, since it’s also the first time I’ve moved out of the state I was born in, but it’s also really exciting.
Besides, maybe it’ll make for some good writing inspiration. 🙂
So! Get out there and have an adventure. Give yourself the afternoon and evening off. Take a Saturday and go for a drive. Do something to get away from yourself. I know I need it more often than not. How about you?
When is the last time you took an adventure? Do you have an idea of where you can take one now? Tell me where! I’d love to hear. Bonus prompt: write a story about someone who decides, at last minute, to have an adventure. Bonus points if they drag someone else along with them!