Last week, I opened up my calendar and gasped. Somehow (as in, it’s totally my doing), I’m slated to to be on the road and traveling for the next 2 1/2 months with very few breaks in between. My heart dropped, and I immediately felt overwhelmed. I love travel (and the idea of escaping the Texas heat), but I also really love my day-to-day routine and the comfort of having my own space, bed, coffee spots, and everything else that sets me up for success.
Since I know the only thing we really have control over are our attitudes and actions, I immediately shifted to asking, “Okay. How can I make this fun while maintaining a bit of self-care on the road? I’m no stranger to travel, so what can I do to make this interesting and produce a new outcome?”
Then I remembered a post my friend Mattie made on Instagram, recounting the time she tried something new every day for 30 days to break out of her rut.
The premise? Simple. Mattie did one new thing a day that scared her and forced her out of her comfort zone. She detailed her experience here, and one of the things that really stuck out to me was the common theme of connection to others. So much of what she did centered around connecting with people in a way that we just don’t tend to do six years later in a highly online and app-based world.
Here’s what I mean: would you go to a sports game (in Mattie’s instance, an NHL game), buy a beer for yourself and one for the first person you thought was attractive, write your number on the cup, and hand it to them hoping they’d call you? Listen, I’m the first to swipe right and make the first move, but doing something like that makes my heart race just thinking about it. And why? I’m sure part of me fears rejection, but the other part is nervous because. . . I haven’t done it before.
Recognizing that fear of the unknown caused a lightbulb to go off. This is exactly the kind of challenge I need to connect with humans on a whole new level, and what better way to do it than while I’m on the road? It feels a little less risky than putting myself out there when I’m in my own hometown, where it seems like everyone is one degree from a friend. Plus, I feel like it really fits the bill with this month’s editorial theme, no?
My first trip kicks off next week while I’m in San Francisco and Sonoma, then I head straight to the mountains in Utah, and add a few other spots like Scottsdale, Nashville, Nebraska, San Diego, and New York City to the roster. Typically, I’d go to my favorite spots and see friends in each city, but this time, I’ve got a few ideas for changing things up.
1. When I’m at a bar or restaurant solo, stay off my phone.
I typically can strike up a good convo with the bartender, but I always have my phone as a security blanket. I’m keeping it in my purse unless I need to take a photo of a ridiculously beautiful Negroni.
2. Order new-to-me wines.
I’m laughing a little as I type this, because I’m such a creature of habit with wine that I immediately go straight to Pinot Noirs, Cab Sauvs and Pet Nat’s. I’m going to be in Sonoma and my goal is mostly wine education, so it’s a must that I step outside of what’s familiar. It’s a stretch to say this scares me, but I’ve had enough bad Chardonnays that I do feel hesitant to branch too far out.
3. Take a page out of Mattie’s book and find my version of buying an extra beer and giving it (and maybe my number) to a guy.
I feel like life is way too short to not tell someone you find them attractive, or simply do something nice in a very non-creepy but flattering way. I’d want to know, and I think these things about ‘gents, yet I rarely act on them. I might even turn on my dating apps to recognize my location and go on a date in another city. Like I tell my friends, “We get one life, I’m going to live this one well!”
4. Find new workouts and workout spots.
If you follow me on Instagram you know I go to the same three spots for workouts. I’m highly predictable. It’s not that I won’t try a new workout, it’s just that I love a routine. New York City is the mecca for workouts and unique ones that you can’t get in Austin, like taking a spin class in a pool. Time to try something I’ve never done or haven’t had interest in trying and let myself be pleasantly surprised (or uncomfortable!)
5. Say yes.
Lastly, I’m going to say yes more. Yes to the things that make me nervous to explore or do. That might be the most important tip I could give myself for the next 30 days.
Readers: have you done something similar? I’d love to hear any suggestions you have, or ideas that you think I might like. I’m all ears.