Drive Around Aimlessly & Explore

Road through a covered bridge.

Do a little aimless driving this week. Maybe a little each day, or maybe one adventure, one day for a few hours. Drive around with no particular destination in mind.

Doing this helps you to see different things and clear your mind.

Go wherever you think looks interesting. Even if it is a street that you have been on before, you may see something you never have because you’re normally hurrying to your next destination. You may find a better, quicker route between places that you go every day.

My husband and I do this a lot, especially when we’re on vacation. We start driving down a road and then one of us will say, “That looks interesting, let’s go that way,” and we do. Doing this we have found all kinds of things that we otherwise never would have seen. We found a light house that we didn’t know was there in Cape Cod. We found a beach in California that had some interesting cairns. We found a train museum in PA. (Unfortunately it was closed, but we still got to take pictures of the outside.) Even here at home we sometimes do it. We may go on roads that we have been on before, but we always see something new.  

The other night we were driving home from dinner and got stopped by a train. I’m the only person I know that gets excited about being stopped by a train. I enjoy the time just to sit and take a “forced” break in the day. (Also, I love trains and the graffiti that ends up on them.) As we sat there, several other people came and parked behind us. They were taking photos over at the train station. When the train stopped, they realized it was the perfect opportunity to get an even better angle for their pictures. They could stand in the middle of the road and not have to worry about traffic. We all talked and took pictures. It was an impromptu little party. None of this would have ever happened if we hadn’t taken the time to drive around, stop for the train, and take in the scenery that we generally just pass by.

Train sitting in front of a building.

Ever since I got my driver’s license, getting in my car and driving around randomly has been the best way for me to clear my mind and process things. If I don’t have a lot of extra money for gas, or time to go far, I drive to a nearby park or parking lot and just sit (without the radio on and without playing with my phone). I’ll go the long way home just to go through a nearby park area. It always gives me time to relax and enjoy the views, instead of being stressed out by traffic all the way home.

Trees in front of a river with a bridge across it.

If you live in the city and don’t really have a good place to drive around, or don’t even have a car to drive, trade driving for walking. Walk around aimlessly, with no real destination in mind. Just let you mind wander and see where your feet take you. It’s the same concept.

If you need a little more direction and a little less random, try flipping a coin:

Pick a starting point, the end of your street, the restaurant parking lot, or where ever you happen to be. Flip a coin. Heads you go left, tails you go right. Let this be your guide and see where it takes you. If you end up at a dead end or going in circles, pick another starting point and flip the coin again. This is good for exploring somewhere that you have been before. It will help mix things up and allow you to free your mind of the decisions about where to turn or go, so that you can see more of the world around you.

Doing this is also like a mini vacation for your brain. When you free your mind from having to make so many decisions about where to go, where to turn, what to do next, it frees up space for creative solutions, problem solving, and finding things that you really enjoy doing.  

If you take the road less traveled you never know what you will find, who you might meet, or what you might discover about yourself.

You may find a cemetery in the middle of the road. You may see geese walking on water. (They were really walking on ice. =)) Or you may find the end of a road you didn’t even know you were on. Haha!

So tell us, do you ever drive around aimlessly? Or take different roads just because they look interesting? What other things do you do to clear your mind?

The Local Tourist

Brick building with tree.

Pretend that you are a tourist in your own city.

What would you do? Where would you eat? Where would you go?

Act like you have never been to your city before. Google your city name and see what pops up to do. Go onto Pinterest and search for your city. Make an entire board full of things that you can do in your area.

When my husband and I go to a new city we Google the area. We look for things to do and read restaurant reviews. We always try to eat somewhere local.

Do the same thing in your own city. Go to your local airport or welcome center and browse through the brochures there. Look for things that you have never done, but are interested in trying. It can be anything from finding the local parks and hiking spots, to taking a hot air balloon ride over the city. You can search for free things to do or budget a little and spend. Just as you would if you were traveling.

Buildings and a yard with flowers.

Walk around the city as if you’ve never been there before. Look at the displays in shop windows. Go into stores that you’ve never been in before. Take pictures of things that a tourist would. Admire the architecture. Anything that you would do on vacation in a new city, do in your own city.

Look on RoadsideAmerica.com and see if there are any oddities in your area that you could take pictures of.

Oscar Mayer Weinermobile and a spaceship.

A house near us has a spaceship in their front yard. It has been around for over 20 years now. One day we caught an icon, the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, taking a picture of a local icon.

Take it one step further and treat your home as if it were a hotel, or an Air BNB, for a night or two. I know, you’re the one who will have to clean everything up in the end, but for at least one night, suspend that reality and just enjoy yourself. Don’t do anything that you have to do. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do if you weren’t on vacation and staying in someone else’s house.

Doing all of this opens you up to new experiences. You begin to see the things and people around you in a new light. Places that you may have gone many times over can become new again if you see them as a new visitor to your city would. New experiences add to your ability to be more creative.

Once you do go back to reality, your experience of “traveling” in your own city will stick with you. Use this experience and remember to take a step back when dealing with your day to day life. If you view your life, your problems, from an outsider’s perspective you can get a clearer picture about what is going on. If you allow yourself to step out of the situation and become a silent observer, you can more easily see the bigger picture. This can help you find a solution that you may have missed because you were too close to the issue. You give yourself the chance to be more creative about problem solving, or about life in general, when you aren’t going through life on auto-pilot.

Tell us below if you found anything new and interesting in your city. Or if you went to all the same places and viewed them as a tourist would, with fresh eyes.

These are pictures from our tour around our city.

Pal’s is a local chain in our area. They have the BEST sweet tea (a Southern staple). I also love that they have a different fun saying on their sign everyday.