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June 11: Blow Off Work

Work is just another 4 letter word.

Sometimes you HATE it.

Sometimes you LOVE it.

But in the end, it is still WORK.

We dedicate so much of our lives to making that paycheck, working 40-50-60 hour weeks, with time away from family and friends.  Planning vacations is fun, but typically 3-9 months in the future.

What about.. Monday?

As someone who has been part of the corporate America workforce for over 10 years, I have had many of those Sunday nights, just really, flat out not looking forward to Monday morning and heading into the office.  Hell, I have had times when that feeling hits every single night of the week.  But that is life, and that is work.  Sometimes you hate it, sometimes you love it, but it is always work.

So I am here today to tell you this:

Take an impromptu day off work, you deserve it.

You heard me right.  Call in sick.  Take a mental health day.

Here is a list of 10 things to do on your newfound free day:

  • Sleep In. Pretend it is the weekend.
  • Go out to breakfast.  Beats the hell out of the bagel or donut you would have in the office.
  • Take a mini-excursion. Get lost.
  • Make new friends
  • Take in a daytime baseball game.
  • Go to lunch. Far, Far away from work.
  • Go for a hike.
  • Enjoy a happy hour.
  • Be spontaneous
  • Relax for longer than a few minutes.

The most important thing of a day away from work is to make sure you take advantage of that time and do something you normally wouldn’t do, on a day that you don’t encounter too often.

Day 11. Way 11. Take a mental health day. Blow off work.

Have you ever taken a mental health day?

What is your favorite way to spend an impromptu day off from work?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

Hair in the wind photo credit

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June 10: First Flight

Spontaneous Travel.  Not typically 2 words that go together.  Travel is something that most American’s treasure.  They plot, they plan, they research, they save, they adapt, they change, they document and then, when everything appears to be perfect, they book their travel.   6 months in advance.

There is absolutely nothing spontaneous about it.  It’s planned. It’s mundane. But unfortunately, in today’s travel industry, for anyone booking hotels, rental cars and worst, airfare, booking in advance is the only way to ensure affordable rates.

Due to supply, demand, rising fuel costs and other factors, costs to book airfare travel can triple and quadruple in cost when comparing prices 6 months prior to travel and prices 2 days prior to travel.  That change alone is one of two factors that cause most people to plan travel many months in advance, the other being the need for a well structured plan and to ensure approved time away from work.

A few days back, we talked about spinning the globe, today, we talk about taking all of the previously discussed preconceived notions of travel and throwing caution to the wind in a new travel adventure that lends itself very well to your own house rules.  Same caveat here, this is not for the faint of heart of those light in the wallet, as this can get expensive, quickly.

Preparation

As with spinning the globe, you can do this with some traveling partners, or by yourself.  Dependent on the house rules you define, pack accordingly and head to the airport.  Only carry on bags allowed here.

House Rules

You can set your own house rules to structure the trip as needed by any outside influences or prerequisites such as picking a certain direction (north, south, east or west), international or domestic, limit to a certain carrier or a certain distance.

The Game

Grab your bag, catch a cab to the airport, and pick a departure terminal.  On the departures board, scope out the next available flight that you can get on (typically, airlines will not sell tickets within 30-60 minutes of departure time in order to ensure passengers can get through security, allow for checked bags, etc.) and get a ticket in your hand.  For the adventure hunter in you, make sure it is a 1 way ticket.  No Round Trip tickets allowed here!

The best part of the journey is the unknown.  With purchasing tickets so close to your departure, with the exception of in-flight Wi-Fi, you typically will not have time to research your destination, things to do, places to see, hotels to stay at, restaurants to eat at.  This is a fly by the seat of your pants adventure that will test your improvisation and your ability to adapt.

To me, that is what you call an adrenaline rush!

Day 10. Way 10. Get to the airport, get a flight. The First Flight.

What is your best flight booking story?

departure board photo credit

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Foto Friday – June 10, 2011

Today’s photo comes from a nearby New York Vineyard, Clinton Cellars.  This old barn is actually the tasting room for the winery and no longer functions as a barn, but proved to be very picturesque with the right photo touches.  Unfortunately, the wine was nowhere near as good as the scenery was, and the customer service was even worse than that.

The memories of this shot, besides the abhorrent wine was that this was Sean‘s first visit to upstate New York to visit us.  The winery is set off in the countryside, with nature surrounding it.

Sean had a great time during his short visit here in New York, but as our first visitor that stayed longer than 1 night (sorry Mike), it was a great feeling to have a little piece of home out in NY with us in the form of our friend.

Camera – Canon EOS Rebel XT | Lens – Tamron 11-18mm | Exposure –  F6.3 – 1/60

Do you have any photos that remind you of certain friends?

If so, share them in the comments below!

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June 9: The Long Road Home

As of January 28th, 2011, I walked away from corporate America.

Since then, I have not driven to work, or home from work. I have sat behind a computer in a hotel, driven Juliet to and from work in the snow, driven cross country, everything, except for gone to an actual job, which means, I miss the most important part of my day that I looked forward to for so many years.

I can’t take the long way home from work.

The short way home is filled with other motorists, other commuters, large, monotonous interstates, boring scenery, exhaust fumes, McDonalds, car dealerships, everything I hated about Southern California.  Only when time was of the essence did I take the short way. Whenever possible, I opted for a different alternative.

My mindset was that we, as cubicle dwelling, corporate America denizens, spend 1/3 of our day staring at computer screens, muted cloth walls, drab meeting rooms, stoic water coolers and so much more, why not take advantage of the time away from work, the time we feel is ours and ours alone.

When the opportunity presents itself, indulge your curiosity, discover your inner explorer and find a new route home from work.  Take side streets, a different interstate, a canyon road, a dirt path.

Leave the worry of work behind and embrace the unnatural path.  Free your mind, seek out empty roads.  Discover an unknown road. Don’t make your drive home just about getting home, make it an adventure.  Enjoy the journey for the journey, not just due to the destination.

Too often the drive home from work is nothing more than an extension of job that we just spent the last 9+ hours at, yet we are not getting paid to think about/worry about/dwell on MORE WORK.  The mental break needs to come when you hit the driver’s seat.

Break the monotony and change up the drive home.  Take the long way.  Change your scenery, change your view.  Arrive home with a clear mind, a fresh outlook and a renewed vigor for life.

Day 9. Way 9. Change your scenery. Change your view. Break the monotony. Take the long way home.

Do you take the short way home, or the long way?

What do you do to break the monotony?

I would love to hear your methods of breaking the work mindset, please share them below in the comments.

 

 

 

open road photo credit

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June 8: Relax!

In this series of posts, only a short 8 days in, I have brought up relevant ways for you to take action and get busy living your life.  Most include pushing yourself outside the boundaries of the social norm, outside of your comfort zone.

But what happens when you have an 8a-5p job, a spouse and 2 kids?  5 days a week you come home from work (or are home with the kids all day) and make dinner, take care of the kids, wash dishes and all sorts of other household chores

My guess is adding something like getting lost, spinning the globe, road trips and everything else just seems tedious, too expensive or just not a reality.

I understand.  I have been there.

The last thing you want is something else taking up your hard earned money and your precious little time.  This is just for you.

Once a day, when your day is winding down, instead of moving onto the next “to-do” item, instead of checking those work emails on your Blackberry, put down Twitter, log off Facebook, and do something you probably haven’t done today.

The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.

Take 30 minutes and just relax, sit on the porch and enjoy the sunset, talk to your spouse, enjoy a cigar, enjoy a glass of wine, just… do nothing.  And LOVE it.

With such a busy life, the 30 minutes should give a good time to just unwind, work through things in your mind, clear your mind even.

So, stop reading my blog, and go relax…

Day 8. Way 8.  Do Nothing. Relax. Unwind. Love it.

Do you take time out to just relax and do NOTHING?

Where is your favorite place to sit, relax and reflect?

 

rocking chair photo credit

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June 7: Spin the Globe

If you couldn’t already tell by following me on twitter or reading my blog, I am a travel addict.  I believe in breaking out of the norm and engaging new experiences.

Now, I could have made this “1 Day, 1 Way to Get Busy Livin’ – TRAVEL” but it just didn’t have the same ring to it.  I turned 31 back on June 4, so I am covering 31 ways to Get Busy Livin a more fulfilled life.

With all of the cool ways to travel, one of those ways that Mike and I have always toyed with is a game known as “Spin the Globe.”  Now, this game is not for the faint of heart, or those light in the wallet.

Preparation

First things first, find a friend (or 2) who are in for the game.  Once you have your traveling buddies, pick your timeline, preferably 7-14 days, enough of a vacation for everyone, while still allowing everyone to get the time off work.

House Rules

Now, this game can be played a number of ways, so pick your house rules amongst your traveling partners, and go from there.  You can choose to narrow the field down a bit, set certain guidelines, etc. It is limited only by your interpretation.

The Game

You can use a dartboard and a map, but we prefer using a globe.  A good, old fashioned one that has some  well oiled bearings in it and spins like crazy.

7 days prior to your departure, gather your travel buddies, and maybe a few good friends to cheer you on.  One of the travel buddies takes the globe and gives it a good, hearty spin. The 2nd travel buddy, with his/her eyes closed, stops the globe spinning and points to a spot on the map.  If the 2nd person’s finger landed on a country/city/island, that is your destination. *Note: Destination must be international and easily accessible with only a passport. if you want to add in countries that will require travel Visa’s, add ample time to allow for those arrangements

You now have 3 days to book your airfare/car rental/hotel/whatever you need.  No price shopping. No package shopping. Barely any planning. Spontaneous decision. Instantaneous gratification.

Game on.

Day 7. Way 7. Forget the bottle. Spin the Globe.

What is the most spontaneous, crazy, random, impulsive travel you have ever taken?

Share your stories and photos from those crazy travels below!


globe photo credit

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3 Months In: State of the Blog (& it’s Author)

June 1st kicked off a month long project for me as well as marked the 3 month anniversary of relaunching the Get Busy Livin’ blog with a more focused direction.  I also walked over 10.5 miles around New York City with my nephew who was here in vacation.  Pretty strong start to June, if I do say so myself.

Truth be told, this blog is little more than a labor of love.  I knew that going in, but at the same time, I never knew how much labor it would be.  I am a creative person, to an extent, but also an engineer by trade.  The creative side of me wants to write, design, photograph and share it all with you through the blog.  The engineer in me wants everything to be technically perfect.  The perfect photo, the perfect story, down to the detail.

Trying to find that ideal place known as BALANCE.

Striking a compromise between my details driven engineering brain and my free wheeling creative side has proven to be hard work, but I am inching towards that every single day.  Moving slowly from a perfectly planned out attack, complete with project plan, notes and research, to a seat-of-your-pants attack.  While one might be better for business (or battle), ultimately, I have come a long ways from where I started just 3 short months ago.

In the past 3 months:

  • I embarked upon and completed Epic Road Trip 2011
  • I started doing contract work for customers all over the U.S.
  • I completed my 1st phase of Project 333
  • I have grown my brand to over 400 twitter followers
  • I began playing more with HDR photography
  • I have explored all over NYC
  • I converted to using a MacBook Pro
  • I learned to write as it comes to me, and not to force it
  • I become a huge proponent of travel hacking
  • I lost my uncle
  • I posted 23 articles
  • I had just under 6,000 visitors to my site
  • I am slowly increasing my site traffic
  • I launched a newsletter campaign
  • I started a 31 day project in honor of my 31st birthday

Thank you for coming along with me on my journey as I have grown over the past 3 months.  Been a fun ride so far, definitely looking towards the future.

Trey, Me, Sean and Ron

3 months down, here is to another 30 (minimum).

Cheers!

 

 

 

header photo credit

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June 6: Get Lost

In today’s world we are ruled by technology.  Even our vacations and other travels have become ruled by technology. We research vacations online, we book hotels, airfare, rental cars, excursions, all online.  We get to our vacation area, put an address in the GPS Navigation on our phones or in the car and off we go.

Thanks to technology, we now know the shortest, fastest, most efficient way to get from point A to point B.  Typically, that route includes major interstates, highways, thruways and routes.  Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency.

Besides, with technology now, we don’t need to actually go out and discover the world around us.  Google Earth does that for us.

When we want to find a new restaurant in town, we don’t go find one, we get on Yelp or Foodspotting.

The examples could last for quite some time, but the fact of the matter is we, as a society, myself included, have become far too dependent on technology in our daily lives.  I even know people who use the GPS in their cars to navigate them from their house to the office and back, just so they don’t have to really pay attention to the world around them, they have a computer telling them where to go and where to turn.

For sure, you have to be lost to find a place that can’t be found, elseways everyone would know where it was.

And just when you think you are completely lost, keep going.

See what you find.  See all the new areas you discover.  Maybe you will end up in a neighboring city you had not visited before.  Maybe you will come across a waterfall and river you never knew were there.

Don’t get frustrated you are lost.  Being lost is the point (so long as you aren’t going in circles, then, by all means, be frustrated) of these excursion.  To find new things in the world around you.  To find a new you in the world.  Time to think. Time to dream. Time to enjoy the unknown.

Only when you are good and lost (or find yourself in the ghetto) go ahead and turn on the GPS navigation, get your atlas or map out, and find your way home.

Day 6. Way 6. Get Lost. Find yourself. Or at least find out more about the world around you.

Have you ever found something while lost?

Have you ever gotten lost on purpose?

What is the best restaurant/city/landmark/landscape that you have found when lost?

Share your getting lost stories and photos in the comments below!

Also, props to anyone who can name the movie which I took that quote from, without googling it.

Photo 1 Credit

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June 5: Embrace Spontaneity

Too many times in life, we want, we need, a plan. I have even written about having a plan.  We have been structured by corporate america to plan everything.  Most of us live on a schedule, at least from 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday.  This becomes the norm, so we begin to plan our weekends too.

Unfortunately, to maintain some semblance of structure, this planning is needed.

To an extent.

But what happens when structure becomes routine?  Can you really plan for something different? Can you plan for adventure?

What better place than here, what better time than now?

When the opportunity presents itself that invites you to be spontaneous, TAKE IT.

Take the road less traveled.

Take a chance.

Take a risk.

Live your life.

What do you have to lose by being spontaneous?  My guess is probably something you wouldn’t have eventually lost somewhere else.

spon·ta·ne·ous –adjective

1.coming or resulting from a natural impulse or tendency, without effort or premeditation, natural and unconstrained, unplanned

The main point here, without premeditation. Act on impulse, see where the road takes you.

To some, it comes more natural than it does to others.  Some are scared of it, scared to break their routine, change their plans, take an adventure.  And then there are those that embrace it.

I like to call it the “ah, fuck it” moment.  What happens when the opportunity presents itself to take an impromptu adventure?  You say “ahh, fuck it, let’s do it!”

The best example I can give of embracing spontaneity is one of fellow blogger Jaime.  And I apologize up front, as I will probably butcher the story a bit, but the simplicity and awesomeness of how I remember it is what makes it special to me, and a great representation.

Jamie, after a tumultuous few years had felt a longing for long term travel.  So he researched and researched it, planned and planned.  All the white, going day in, and day out, to a job that was the means to his ends.  It supported his growing savings account that would fun his travel.  Originally planning to leave in August 2011 on an around the world trip, that all changed when he came across airfare to Central America for significantly less than he planned on.  The big difference, the flight left in March, not August.

The decision to buy that discounted plane ticket was Jaime’s “ahh fuck it, let’s do it!” moment.  Since then, Jamie has been traveling around Central America, meeting up with other travel bloggers as they travel the world too.  Opportunities that might not had presented themselves if Jamie would have kept to his plan and waited til August.  Jamie took a chance and it changed his future.

You can follow along with all of Jaime’s adventures on Twitter and his blog.

So now, on June 5th, instead of having this Sunday off work, dreading returning to work Monday morning, Jamie is relaxing on a beach in Mexico with 2 great friends and fellow travel bloggers, Erica and Shawn.

This is the power of embracing spontaneity.

Day 5. Way 5. Have an “ahh fuck it, let’s do it!” moment.

Do you embrace spontaneity?

Do you love the impromptu adventures?

Please share your comments, photos and other amazing spontaneous stories in the comments below!

 

Photo Credit – Jaime

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June 4: Hit the Road, Jack!

You heard me.  Leave. Scram. Go.

Get in your car, and go.  Drive.  Pick a destination.  200 miles away or 20 miles away.  The distance does not matter.  Hell, the final destination does not matter.  The journey is the true destination of a road trip.

Do not set a timeframe, do not set a milestone, just enjoy the open road.  Do your best to take the road less traveled, or the road that you have not traveled before.

Grab a friend, grab the wife, heck, grab the dog.  Pick a traveling buddy, point your car towards some open road and get going.

I really cannot recommend it enough.

As many of you might already know, my road trips, at least my last one, have been well documented.  Me, I do it big.

  • June 2006 – 2800 miles, 4 days, 3 friends and Interstate 40. Our first foray into road tripping. This was about the destination, though we got to see a ton of things along the way.
  • July 2007 – 3700 miles, 9 days, 2 friends and a ton of open road.  This time we took the long way, purposely going hundreds of miles out of the way to see the grandiose that is America
  • October 2009 – 800 miles, 11 days, 3 friends and some amazing scenery.  Purposely planning a few stops for a hockey game on the east coast as well as being “leafers” in New England. We spent days just aimlessly wandering and it was amazing.
  • March 2011 – 3800 miles, 9 days, 2 friends, 1 dog and some epic adventures.  Mardis Gras in 3 different states, one huge rainstorm, enormous world events and great friends across the country.

I have covered over 11,000 miles with my best friend since 2006 and it has been some of the best adventures I have ever taken.  You learn things about each other and yourself.  You get to see all that this country has to offer.  You are not under a timetable, so if you want to re-route your road trip to see a National Park, a National Monument, or heck, even a car stuck in the ground, you can do it.  There is freedom in a road trip.  Freedom in the open road, freedom in the schedule. Freedom in the mindset.

2006 California to North Carolina
2007 North Carolina to California
2009 New England Adventure
2011 Epic Road Trip 2011

Now, I understand that not all road trips can be open ended, but even given a few days, a road trip can provide a great source of entertainment, education and a lifetime of memories.  In any part of the country there are a plethora of roadside attractions, hole-in-the-wall eateries, dive bars, beaches, forests, rivers, mountains and everything in between.  Get away from your daily life.  Get away from the computer, away from the desk job, away from all that is familiar. Explore the world around you.

The road awaits.

To pass along a link to one of the number of blogs out there that detail available road trips, here are 4 great road trips that are food-centric.

Day 4. Way 4. Hit the road. Roll down the windows. Feel the wind in your hair.  Escape. Enjoy the freedom and experience our great country.

Are you a fan of road trips?

What have you experienced in your road trips?

Have any favorite photos, stories, travels, share them below!

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