Traveling may conjure up images of exotic lands, long flights, foreign languages and pricey expenses. But sometimes the greatest adventures require minimal travel time, effort, financial setbacks and planning. In fact, there may be a new world waiting to be discovered a few blocks away.
According to writer Henry Miller, "One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."
Aside from traveling, you can gain new experiences by taking on a hobby. Learn a language at a community center or try Rosetta Stone. Then, immerse yourself in the culture. Discover gatherings of people with similar interests, where you can practice speaking your new language or engage in other activities centered on this shared passion. Check out local Meetup groups or events in your community.
If you're looking for more of a literal journey without venturing too far from home, explore discount vendors like LivingSocial or Groupon to find deals on local restaurants, plays, art walks, festivals, concerts, music shows, day-long trips -- you name it. Often the deals need to be used within 30 to 90 days, which will force you to commit to this new activity. Try exploring these sites, picking a random activity and saying yes!
For a bus trip, Seniortours is a fantastic and easy-to-use, one-stop shop for planning your next road trip. Select your region of the United States, then select how many days you'd like to travel. For most options, the fares are reasonable and include bus travel with an escort that will provide complimentary cocktails and other drinks and snacks, a good portion of your meals, sightseeing entrance fees and accommodations. This specific company also has a customer-friendly refund policy where you can cancel your trip up to 35 days in advance for a full refund (hotels may not be included in this, depending on their policies).
"For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move," said Scottish writer and traveler Robert Louis Stevenson.
If you're unattached to a destination but prefer just to have a spontaneous exploration, you can ask a friend, a relative, a neighbor or even your checkout clerk at the market to share their favorite local spot. They might send you to a lookout spot, a park, a pond with a picnic table or their favorite library. This will get people excited to share something they love, and perhaps, you may even get yourself a volunteer chauffeur and private tour guide to take you around.
Travel may not be an option due to physical or financial restrictions, but sometimes literature can do the trick. "Eat, Pray, Love," by Elizabeth Gilbert will take you to several different countries on a soul-searching quest, while the classic "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac will take you on a road trip across the U.S. during the prevalent "beatnik" revolution. Talk about nostalgia. If you're seeking a high-intensity, limit-pushing, boundary-breaking novel, "Wild," by Cheryl Strayed is a fascinating peek into one woman's journey hiking solo for months to let go of her past.
If reading is difficult due to poor eyesight, you can use Audible to purchase and download audiobooks. ITunes also has a vast selection of audiobooks available for download. If you are hard of hearing, you may be eligible for an auxiliary amplifier via disabled-world.com/assistivedevices/.
No matter how you travel, may you see the world through the eyes of a playful child, may your spirit soar to new places, and may your mind be activated and engaged. After all, life is the greatest trip of all.