A friend shared a brilliant idea with me. Occasionally when she has a day off and feels the need to get away she takes herself on a twelve hour vacation. She hits the road early enough to make it to her destination in time for breakfast. Then she finds a diner and treats herself to a leisurely meal as she reads the local newspaper and plans her day. She sits at the counter so she can talk to residents about the local attractions. It could be a museum, a historical site, a great hiking trail or a beach – doesn’t matter what – she’s there to explore and be a tourist. (Which means buying postcards.)
After several hours checking out the main attractions she finds a welcoming cafe where she can relax, write out her postcards, read for a bit, before she strolls through the downtown, does some window shopping and explores a couple of neighborhoods.
If she’s lucky she might find a concert in a park or a flea market or farmer’s market. With no set agenda she’s open to any and all possibilities. She makes it a point to have dinner at a local restaurant before she heads home.
She told me that the day never disappoints. There is always something interesting to see and friendly people to talk to. She loves coming home with a souvenir – a bag of peaches, a jar of jam, or – one time – a rescue puppy. Listening to her talk about these mini vacations makes me think she’d be an excellent person to travel with, but I know that her day trips are a solo pleasure.
One of my greatest joys is exploring new cities on foot. I’ve logged many miles walking through London, Paris, New York. But listening to my friend I realize that instead of waiting for the big trip that only happens once in a while, I can be a tourist in my own backyard. Living in Los Angeles it occurs to me that I could have days and days of 12 hour vacations without ever leaving the city. No baggage, no airport security, and I get to sleep in my own bed every night.
What a way to travel!