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Like so many of us, I found myself stuck at home during the height of the pandemic—and perhaps because of that, I constantly looked for ways to feel a sense of excitement and adventure.
Fortunately, there are many ways to find that thrill, even if you spend most of your time at home or in an office. I have always felt travel is a mindset—you are a traveler the moment you step outside the front door or decide to seek out a new adventure. As long as you’re open to new experiences and ideas, you’ll find that sense of excitement. You might even discover some hidden gems you never noticed when just going through the motions of your day-to-day routine.
Here are five ways to open yourself up to new experiences and add more adventure to your daily, weekly, or monthly routine:
1. Go Sightseeing from Your Desk
Even if you spend most of your time at a desk, you can still fit in some virtual travel during your lunch breaks or downtime. You don’t even have to get out of your chair.
Some regions have a tourism board—like the Hong Kong Tourism Board—offering virtual tours of some of their most popular attractions. There also are independent companies, like Woyago, offering virtual and real-time tours and events in international cities like Barcelona or Paris.
Last year, from my desk, I experienced a live, interactive virtual bike ride in Paris through Woyago. It was a fantastic way to be momentarily transported to Paris with a local guide in the city.
2. Make the Journey Itself an Adventure
The prospect of travel excites everyone, but the actual journey—the act of driving to the airport, waiting at the terminal, or sitting on a plane for several hours on end—doesn’t always engender the same level of enthusiasm. This is true particularly for those busy executives who often travel for work—the airport experience becomes boring, routine, and mundane.
But if you open your mind to the possibilities, you’ll see how many opportunities there are to liven up the travel experience. For instance, there is an actual yoga room in Terminal 2 at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). It’s a perfect place to stretch or have some preflight relaxation time.
When catching a flight in Atlanta, skip the SkyTrain at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and take a stroll past the many exhibits on display throughout the airport’s concourses. One of my personal favorites is A Walk through Atlanta History.
If animals bring you comfort, check whether your departing airport offers therapy dogs. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), for example, has a program called Pets Unstressing Passengers (PUP), which aims to reduce any travel-associated stress and anxiety.
3. Step Back in Time
Travel offers an escape, and sometimes the best escape is into the pages of history. Many libraries and museums provide virtual exhibits—the Smithsonian Libraries have an array of digital book collections, as well as virtual exhibitions on history, art, culture, and natural treasures from around the globe.
Of course, we’re also now in Hispanic Heritage Month, and you can’t miss the National Museum of the American Latino’s informative virtual exhibition, “¡Presente! A Latino History of the United States.”
4. Get Out into Nature
Whether you have an hour, a day, or the weekend free, I highly recommend getting outside. Do you know how many parks or trails are within an easy distance from your house? Find out, and check whether there are any upcoming park activities you might want to attend.
There are several days throughout the year when visitors can enter a national park without charge. September 24, for example, marks National Public Lands Day: residents can not only enter national parks for free but also get involved in volunteer and environmental events.
5. Get off the Beaten Path
As you look into adventure ideas for your next day off, weekend getaway, or holiday, break outside of your comfort zone! If you usually travel by car or plane, consider a scenic train ride: Amtrak offers a variety of routes in forty-six states.
If you want to stay closer to home, play tourist for the day. Most major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City have double-decker bus tours available. Some cities, like San Francisco, Nashville, and Laguna Beach, have trolleys on which you can hitch a ride. Even if you think you already know your home city, these tours can be a great way to learn more about the area and revitalize your love for the place you call home.