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?

Writing for Fun

Graffiti on a train.

Try writing, in one form or another, every day this week. Even if it’s just for five or ten minutes at a time. I’m not talking about sitting down and writing a novel. Although, if that’s something you want to do, then absolutely make time to do that.

While you’re at a restaurant, waiting on your food, write a little story about something you see around you. Make up a story about a person or group that is sitting near you. Where are they from? Why are they there? Are they undercover spies who are trying to blend in? Did one of them just get a new job or a promotion and they are there celebrating? Let your imagination take over.

If you take the subway or a bus home, use that time to write about your day. That way when you get home you can leave your day behind you, relax, and enjoy your evening. If you do this daily you will start to see a big difference in your stress levels. You’ll also see a big difference in how your relationship is with the people you live with. If you constantly bring your work day home with you, you also bring that stress home with you. Leaving it at work, or getting it out on the way home, you allow your evening to be filled with things that you would like to be doing, rather than being filled with re-hashing the day.

Can’t think of anything to write? Is your mind running in circles? Are you trying to gain clarity on something?

TRY THIS: Sit down and write every thing that comes to your mind for at least 5 minutes. Or more. This allows your brain to basically disconnect. This is also a great form of meditation.

(Check this post out for more ideas on meditation.)

Even if the words you write are: Moving over the small ball wall tall mall all saw a bug in the light of life, etc, etc, Keep writing for at least 5 minutes. It may not make any sense at all, but somewhere in there will be a seed of an idea, or at the very least you’ve cleared that out and made room for a solution to shine through.

I often do this and end up writing several pages worth of stuff.

Everyone has a story to tell. If you think you don’t, just start writing. Start with “Once Upon a Time” or begin writing little random facts about yourself. Pretty soon a story line will start to emerge and you’ll see your story develop.

This doesn’t even have to be something that you show to other people. It could be something you write and then throw away. Or something you write and keep in a notebook.

Journal with chocolate chip cookie pen.

My chocolate chip cookie actually smells like chocolate chip cookies. Yum!!

Keep a notebook, a journal, or a pad of paper with you this week and write out little inspirations. You could even put your ideas into a memo in your phone and then transfer them over to a journal when you get home. This is what I do. Sometimes you have to be creative about how to hold your phone up while your writing. Haha!

Hand on a laptop with a phone sitting in yarn next to it.

I have found that if I try to remember these inspirations, if I try to keep them in my head, they tend to disappear. If I write them down as they come, they just keep coming.

The more you open yourself up to creative inspiration, the more it reveals itself to you.

What will you write this week?

This is one of the more interesting journals I’ve had, and one of my favorites as far as creativity goes. It’s made out of elephant poop. Yep, you read that right, elephant poop. Mr. Ellie Pooh’s Handmade Recycled Paper-Elephant Conservation through Innovation. www.mrelliepooh.com if you’re interested.

Comment below and tell us how your week of writing went. Did you discover a new talent that you didn’t know you had? Were you able to solve a problem that you couldn’t before? Did you come up with a funny story?