Something I’ve come to notice is that if I spend a few too many weeks in the same place without getting away for a night or two, I become restless- though I guess being unsettled comes with the territory when you’re 19 and trying to live/see/breathe everywhere before you have to buckle down and be a real adult.
As a way to remedy this feeling, I give myself, a night, a weekend, or whatever I can squeeze in, to treat myself to something that I wouldn’t normally make the time for as a way to take a ‘micro vacation’ if you will. This time is just a quick getaway that allows you to literally get away without actually going anywhere.
Some of my favorites include:
1. FOOD- as a food lover who rarely eats out, a nice dinner is always a treat. I usually stick to the same old haunts, though finding a new favorite is always an adventure- either way sitting down to a satisfying meal and not having to clean the dishes afterwards is always relaxing. A favorite hiding spot is The Chocolate Room in Brooklyn: while it only serves desserts, pastries, and the like, it always makes me feel like I’ve jetted off to Europe for the night. Check out their menu here.
2. Pampering- it’s important to make time to take care of your body in whatever way works best for you. For some people that’s trying a new cycling class, for others it’s sleeping for nine hours or spending a weekend at the spa. For me personally, it’s a combination of the three. There’s no denying the importance of a good night’s rest, so I’ll leave that without commentary. Similarly, exercise is always a safe bet to help you center yourself; I am a big fan of running to relieve stress as it’s a fantastic way to get some endorphins flowing, get in shape, and clear your head. I also advocate for mini spa days- they will save you time and money and you can still get some relaxation in. So, go get your nails done, get a massage, or treat yourself to my new favorite, a visit to The Drybar- a blowdry salon that will shampoo and condition your hair and then style it for you, making it look like you just left a salon. Fun fact: they also offer refreshments, including prosecco and champagne, during your appointments. Learn more about Drybar here.
3. Views- the view from a city’s high point has yet to fail me; I have been consistently amazed with the vistas presented simply by gaining a few hundred feet from the ground. If you’re in a city such as New York there are observation decks galore- some more worthwhile than others. However, many european cities do things a little bit differently. For instance, in the Balkans I hiked to ancient fortresses in every city I visited and was gifted some incredible views as a return. I’ve also come to appreciate skylines, or whatever name variations may have. In Boston, Sarajevo, New York, Paris, or anywhere in between, the city lights from a distance remain a magical sight. Grab a blanket and a cup of coffee and settle in for a gander!
4. Music- if we’ve ever had a conversation you’re probably well aware of my love for music. While I keep much of it to myself, I also I share what I love with the world whenever I can whether that be sharing songs or albums on social media, spreading the word about shows, or sharing my opinions to whoever will listen, I’m there (look out for a post about some song related travel memories soon!). As someone whose music taste is slightly off the beaten path, the shows I attend are often very cheap, averaging around $18 per ticket- a price well worth it when I get to spend the evening singing my heart out to my favorite songs, something that never fails to take me a million miles away. Alternatively (and somewhat unrelated), I make it a point to try and attend a live music event in every city I visit- jazz in Paris, a sunset violin show in Rome, a live swing band in Sarajevo, whatever I can find. Having that experience sets the tone for the time I spend in a place and it always leaves me feeling at home.
5. More food! Or, well, tea- just about every culture in the world has some kind of appreciation for tea and/or coffee and it’s always fun to sit down to ‘high tea’ and relax for an hour or two. In fact, my mother and I often indulge right here in New York at Grand Salon in the Baccarat Hotel & Residences. They offer a reasonably priced menu full of teas, pastries, and small plates that will grant you a happy stomach and a few hours in the lap of luxury. It never fails to bring me back to Laudree in Paris. Don’t like tea? Look at their bar menu instead. Learn more here.
6. Art- full disclosure, I don’t actually know anything about art. However, I find great joy in appreciating beauty within visuals. For this reason, museums and art galleries have become a constant in my arsenal of escapes from normal life; they’re one of those places where reality seems just slightly altered. Everything is well lit at all hours of the day, everything seems calm and quiet even if the place is buzzing with people, it’s easy to lose yourself in the galleries as you walk from room to room- an experience that is both mindless and mindful. I find it incredibly tranquil.
7. Road trips- while not always feasible, one of the best ways to take an entire vacation in a day or less is to simply drive to a new city for the day, maybe stay the night, and explore. No matter where you come from, getting to know the culture and feel of a new place is an adventure, and doing it amongst friends only makes it all the more fun. Last year I drove down to Providence, RI for a day and earned some of my favorite memories while on the road. There’s nothing like it.
While many of these things may seem trivial I firmly believe that they are necessary; everyone needs to get out of their heads once in awhile. There are a million ways to do it, but the above are my personal favorites. They all make me feel like I’m rounding corners around the globe when I may not even be leaving my own city and allow me to quell the restlessness that comes with staying in one place for too long.
In 2017, I encourage you all to make time to treat yourselves well- do the things you like, take care of your body, read that book you bought three years ago and haven’t had time for, and get away- it’s good for you.