Here at Faraway Lucy you know I’m all for making travel more unique, quirky and spontaneous. It gets you out of your comfort zone (especially when you’re a serial planner like me) and can be a lot more fun and rewarding. It also allows you to be irresponsible whilst you still can – I’m looking at my fellow students out there. Here are a few ways in which you can make travel more exciting because what’s life without a little spontaneity now and then?!
Jailbreak or hitchhike
Remember when I had the challenge to get as far away from Exeter as possible in 48 hours without spending a single penny? Yep, that happened. If you’re a university student in the UK, your university’s RAG (Raise and Give) should offer you the opportunity to partake in an event known as Jailbreak.
The basic aim is to get as far away from your start point as possible within a certain amount of time and without spending any money. Whilst we made it to Berlin (which in itself was extremely impressive), some students have made it as far as Australia and the United States. Overall Exeter Jailbreak 2016 raised over 20 grand for local charities, so that is definitely something to be proud of!
While we only stayed in Berlin overnight (because we’d all visited before and were so ready to get back home and finally sleep), if we had reached somewhere else this would have given us the opportunity to explore a city we wouldn’t have otherwise visited. Normally when you go on holiday you have an itinerary planned out, including the main sights and things to do, but with little travel planning involved, no currency and no plans, the world is your oyster (even if the situation can be quite stressful).
In short, Jailbreak is all about doing things your parents told you not to in the name of raising money for charity. Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily recommend hitchhiking outside of the safer bounds of having your university track you 24/7, hitchhiking outside of Jailbreak offers you the same exhilarating experience.
Go on a surprise trip
Whether your surprise trip is organised by your significant other, family or friends, there’s nothing more exciting than having surprise plans! Give them a budget, dates and a few ideas, and let them work their mischief. Often the place you’ll visit won’t be somewhere you would have initially chosen, but as I’ve said before it’s fun to explore somewhere you haven’t researched previously or know anything about.
If you fancy going on a surprise trip, but one where you can still plan in advance, you can always draw a destination out of a hat or toss a coin. Have everyone who is travelling with you put a couple of destinations into a hat, and let luck do its thing. If you’re on a budget you can use Skyscanner to search for all the cheapest destinations from your local airport, then pick one of the first five destinations even if it is not one you’ve considered travelling to before! Saves money and allows you to explore somewhere potentially off the beaten path.
Take small steps towards spontaneity
Okay, so not everything you have to do has to be as crazy as travelling to a completely unknown country. Sometimes the smallest of decisions can make for the best memories, such as randomly visiting a new town down the road, trying a different restaurant, or taking a different turning and getting lost* on purpose (*disclaimer: please don’t actually get lost).
On the last day of our trip to Ireland this summer, we were driving from Killarney to Kinsale, and then onto Rosslare to catch our ferry home. As we were on our way back on an A road, with little time to spare, we saw a signpost for a cool attraction. Being totally audacious, I suddenly put my foot down on the brake and turned right following the signpost. We had no 3G, and in result the potential to get very lost in the Irish countryside, and it turned out that the attraction was actually 100 miles away so we didn’t have time to visit.
But regardless we had such an exhilaration rush because we took a different turning (a decision I spontaneously made in a 5-second gap, which in hindsight could have led to a car crash). Sounds slightly lame, but although we didn’t end up visiting the tourist attraction, it was still undeniably very exciting and fun. Sometimes you just need to live in the fast lane… literally.
Avoid reading review sites and travel blogs
Did I just advise not to read travel blogs in a travel blog? Maybe. But don’t leave just yet. This may be cliche advice but instead of spending weeks on end planning your next trip, turn up without any plans or tours booked. Ask locals what the best neighbourhoods to visit are, the best places to grab food, and other hidden gems that aren’t plastered on every review site ever. Don’t tell anyone this, but locals are gonna know better than us travel bloggers. So trust them!
If you’re a plan-aholic and following this route would be impossible for you, you could instead leave at least one day completely free in your travel schedule to do whatever the hell you want.
If you’re not ready to jump in at the deep end and put yourself in danger (I understand that Jailbreak isn’t up everyone’s street), getting off the beaten path locally is a good way to travel spontaneously. Although you will be exploring new places, you will at least have a general idea of the local area and should be within a short distance of your house, family and friends if something was to go wrong.
The photo above may not look local, but it is! Yes, that Mediterranean looking beauty (disclaimer: the setting, not little old me) can actually be found in England. In fact, it’s my favourite place I’ve ever visited in England and it’s not even wildly famous… Seriously, how do more people not know about this place? Minack Theatre, an open-air theatre carved into a cliffside, can be found in Porthcurno, near to the famous Land’s End in Cornwall.
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