(article from Megan’s Column, Weekly Wanders on Life2PointOh)
Whether we want to admit it or not, romance is often on our minds when we travel, especially during your carefree 20-something years. Even wandering along a dirt road or a crowded street seems more exciting because it is “foreign” and unknown. But let’s face it, we can’t travel all the time and no matter where you live, life is life, and at some point you are going to lose that sense of wanderlust that makes traveling so appealing. So if you are stuck at work all summer and can’t find the time to fly half way across the world, you can still get that butterfly in you stomach feeling with a few simple tricks.
Walk Slowly: Living in a busy city like New York can make this challenging but it’s actually a great method for helping you notice everything going on around you. I find that when I slow down my pace I become more observant of my surroundings. After a few minutes of walking around aimlessly, I start discovering streets and buildings that I’ve never paid attention to before. All these new discoveries will lead to #2.
Smile: When I travel I almost always have a smile on my face because at every turn I see or hear something new and unknown. Besides tourist attractions and monuments which are unique to a particular city, everything else that grabs your attention are probably things that you can find in your own backyard. Flowers, trees and brownstone apartments are not only found in Paris or Rome. It’s just a matter of changing the way you view your surroundings. If you maintain a lust for curiosity in your everyday life you will find yourself smiling at the simplest thing, which in turn makes you appear more approachable.
Get Some Fresh Air: I think we can all agree that a little fresh air can go a long way. Summer is the perfect time to wander around and participate in all the free summer events many cities offer. People are generally more upbeat and friendly in these situations, so striking up a conversation with a person will feel more natural. Even if you don’t meet anyone new, just being in a different environment or participating in an outdoor activity can give you a sense of wanderlust.
Go to a Foreign Restaurant: Sometimes eating at a foreign restaurant and experiencing a different culture is enough to activate that escapist feeling travel gives us. If you live in a big city, you will have more than enough options and most of them will probably be very authentic. For smaller cities and towns that don’t have such a wide selection of foreign cuisines, why not re-create the feeling of an exotic getaway at your local bar? If nothing else, you can buy tequila and margarita mix, slip on your bikini and pretend you are in Mexico for the day while simultaneously working on your tan.
Don’t Think So Much: The reason why many people feel more romantic in foreign countries is because they feel alive and energized by being in a new place. If you keep this state of mind and try to live your life this way, the feeling will stick. Work on making yourself happy and don’t think so much about finding Mr. or Mrs. Right. If you are doing your own thing and enjoying the life you’ve created for yourself, he or she will somehow stumble onto your path and voila! all of a sudden your city isn’t so dull.