Being broke is hard. Duh, that’s why people, like, work and stuff. Being broke is especially hard if you’re a young person just starting out in “real life” and you find that real life has no summer vacations, no spring break… It is a constant barrage of tedium and doing things you don’t want to do. And even when you’re not stuck in the office, the kitchen, the lumber yard, whatever, you still can’t afford to do the fun things you used to do. (This, of course, coming from the very limited worldview of middle class people who got to take vacations with their families growing up.)
So now that we’re hitting the warmer months and the biological clock of the world’s recent graduates is screaming, “IT’S SUMMER VACATION LET’S DO COOL STUFF,” what is there to do if you have neither the money nor time to do it?
Microvacations! Check these out:
1. No Screens Weekend
Some dudes, like monks or whatever, deprive themselves of wordly pleasures in order to help along that pesky old enlightenment everyone’s aching for. This asceticism can go anywhere from denying oneself of drugs and alcohol to denying oneself basic sustenance. In other words, food.
Why not deny yourself our generation’s basic sustenance? Yup, constant electronic stimulation.
Take a weekend away from your screens – no phone, no computer, no TV, no Game Boy Color – and see how it affects your life. Just get rid of ’em. It’ll be hard for the first few hours, but once you’re used to it, it’s easy and freeing. The part of your mind dedicated to remembering to check Twitter will fill up with, like, other thoughts. It’ll be great.
It’s not a real vacation, but it’s a valuable cleansing of mind.
2. Cook Something Dope
Find a recipe for something you’ve never made before, something simple where you won’t have to buy tons of ingredients, and make it. Learn a new cooking method, something crazy like julienning or cooking pasta with your mind. Share the dish with friends.
3. Pretend to Be a Tourist
This would work especially well if you live in New York. Go see all those touristy things you’ve never actually seen, be obnoxious, take pictures, pretend to not know how to use the MetroCard machine, stand on the subway stairs like an idiot. Sounds fun, right?
But you can also do it in any town, and it might even be funnier: treat your Walgreen’s like it’s something special, make an event out of getting your local diner’s egg special and take a picture with the waitress. Try that one thing that everyone who visits your town does that you’ve never done.
4. Just Hang Out and Be Mindful
This is kinda like the last one: Take your wanderlust and desire to see new things and map it onto your existing landscape. Take a walk around your neighborhood and go down a path you don’t usually go down, or go down your usual path and appreciate things in a new way. Be mindful. I once heard someone explain mindfulness like this: if you wear glasses, remember how you looked at everything the first time you put on your glasses, and just always look at stuff with that same wonder. Just walk and keep walking until you find something new and interesting.
Appreciate that which you see every day, and use that as your vacation – a vacation that you can take for 15 minutes a day.
5. Read All the Books
You know all those books in your to-read pile? Just read all of ’em. Every last one. Challenge yourself to read a certain amount of books in the summer, and track your progress on Goodreads, which has a great system for tracking read books and tells you how many pages you’ve read.
I just downloaded Vine like 15 minutes ago and it kind of rules. If your body can’t travel, why not send seven second snippets of your thoughts across the world?
7. Learn Meditation
Hey, brains are cool, so explore yours! Get some beginner’s information on meditation (the concept of buying a meditation book is kinda silly in my mind; why do I need a guidebook to my own brain? Why do I need to buy something just to think in a certain way? But I bought one anyway) and delve into the most cool of tourist destinations: your own brain. Lucid dreaming, the act of being aware you’re dreaming and just doing whatever you want, is pretty cool, too.
8. Spend As Much Time Outdoors as Possible
Not all outdoor time needs to be the “great outdoors”! Your backyard is probably pretty chill, too.
9. Just Say ‘Screw It,’ Quit Your Job and Spend Your Savings Travelling the World.
Yeah, this rules, too.
Featured image via ShutterStock