Summer is the time to expand the passion for exploration, but it doesn't have to mean booking a trip on a plane or boat to have a great adventure. Here are 10 thrifty ways to expand your world without leaving your own area.
NEW ROUTE - NEW EYES Take a new route to the store or friend's house and imagine you are in a new city looking at the buildings and landscape like you've never seen it before. You might find yourself amazed at how much became invisible simply by your familiarity.
LANGUAGE COMMUTE CHALLENGE Choose a language you are curious about and only listen to that language while driving to and from work, the store, etc for 3 months. Bonus if you actually sign up for Babbel or Rosetta Stone-type app.
CAPTURE MEMORIES in a summer journal create a memory book jotting down via scribbles, drawings, keywords, thoughts, or even snippets of paper. Keep it as simple or elaborate as you want. Here's a journal link if you don't already have one!
SECRET SHOPPER Have a little fun by being your own secret shopper testing out a new restaurant or fun place once a week. For instance, one summer many years ago, my kids and I picked a different local ice cream shop to try out and compare.
THRIFT IT When's the last time you went thrifting or to a garage sale just for fun? Keep a budget of $10 - $25 or less and see what amazing goodie you can find that has a theme for the summer like creative ways to add to your yard, or looking for a way to add color to your wardrobe. Or maybe use this as the opportunity to DIY your own changes to a room in the house. Stay focused, keep it fun!
BOOK CHALLENGE For some of you, reading is already an established routine. Here's a twist. Read from a different genre every three days. For three days, rotate from poetry, then switch to a novel, switch to historical fiction, young adult, something spiritual, or something you've always wanted to learn about. You'll come out of the summer with a more diverse vocabulary and far more knowledge and imagination.
PEN PAL Old, yes, but here's a twist to an ancient method. Pen and paper are magical ways to brighten way someone's day and it gives you practice of connecting with people. Pick up 12 postcards and send one a week to a person of your choice. Keep messages brief and fun, maybe 12 ways you love them, or 12 quirky facts that will make them laugh just because. If they write back, it's even better, but just for fun and the pure delight that you know they'll be looking for your postcard this summer.
SWAP IT Create a day with a group of friends or co-workers and do a random item swap or with a theme. Nothing new is to be purchased, all upscale, re-gifts, no longer use, exchanges of "new for someone else". It could be recipes, yard art, plants, clothing, office or art supplies, books, BBQ sauces, whatever - it's your group, your theme, and the idea is to get creative in what would create fun and connection with friends. If it's fun, pick one a month and do three for the summer, like swap books once a month.
LIBRARY PROGRAMMING Many libraries have monthly, if not weekly, programming that is free, educational, and fun. I have done programs for local libraries that had topics around creativity, tea tastings, meditative drawing, coloring, and face reading. Programs can include musical concerts, financial information, crafts, and more. Take a look at what your local library has, there might be a hidden gem right down the road for something totally different for you and your family!
MAP IT Be a tourist in your own town or create a radius of 100 miles from your house and see what places have you never visited. Pick one a month for the next three months as an adventure of exploration in your area. Go curious. Be interested in the local museum, zoo, festival, bookstore, tea shop, mercantile or arboretum. Do you have a local item of interest that you've never been to? Are you a 2-hour drive from a nearby city or town you've not yet explored?
Whatever you decide this summer, it is full of opportunity. Be curious, live curly, and get creative.