Exploring a new city abroad or within the country is exciting, but also exhausting – airplane flights, luggage, lodging and currency exchange if you’re overseas. You have to be on your A game when traveling! Vacations are great, but consider a staycation if you need some time to get yourself together and explore the beauty in your own backyard.
A staycation gives you time off to do whatever you want in your city. I recently took a weeklong staycation and it was everythingggg! It was just what I needed to wrap up summer and prepare for the busy fall season. And Atlanta is a beautiful city, and often times us residents don’t fully appreciate where we are.
Just like a vacation, you must have a plan of what you’ll do during your time off. With a staycation you can be more flexible and go with the flow, but you’ll still want to have a few goals to check off. Every city is different, but here are a few things that you can do for a perfect staycation wherever you live.
Be a hometown tourist
Explore the attractions in your city that you may sometimes take for granted because you live there. Even if you’re town isn’t known for something big, look into local shops or restaurants that you haven’t been to before. Take a stroll through the park, go to the farmers market, learn more about your city and get involved in making it better.
My hometown tourist activities included going to Stone Mountain Park, Midtown and Ponce City Market. While at PCM, I discovered a pop up office called Atlanta City Design that is planning what Atlanta will look like over the next 20+ years. I moved to metro Atlanta 13 years ago, and it’s amazing to see how much the area has grown, but it also worries me that we don’t have space (per the meme below). I love that GA Tech and the local government created a space that residents could be apart of to visualize and design the future Atlanta.
Enjoy good food
Say goodbye to the frozen meals and bland sandwiches that you usually bring to lunch during a typical workweek! During your staycation, explore new restaurants in your city, or visit your favorites to thrill your taste buds. Ask your friends, family and coworkers what their go-to spots are to discover other restaurants to try. Then set up lunch or breakfast dates throughout the week with people you haven’t caught up with in awhile or new connections. You can also treat yourself to a meal if you want to go solo!
During my staycation, I visited two new restaurants that are now on my go-to list. Ria’s Blue Bird in Atlanta is a quirky, hipster spot that serves breakfast all day. I got a yummy pasta dish for lunch, but I heard their pancakes are drool-worthy.
5 Church in Midtown was another place that I went to for brunch. I loved the vibe and atmosphere. It had a modern style, and the entire text from the book “The Art of War” was written all over the walls with impactful quotes in bigger letters. I ordered a breakfast dish with eggs, sausage, potatoes and collard greens and it was delicious!
My favorite restaurant during my break was Le Petit Marche in Kirkwood. Melissa and I met up before she left for Egypt and we loved this cute little spot! It’s a Black owned business that serves the best breakfast dishes that the South has seen! I ordered eggs with spinach, olives and feta with a side of pita bread and Delia’s chicken sausage. That meal (and seeing my bff) definitely made me a happy camper!
Whether you struggle making time to workout or it’s apart of your daily routine, a staycation grants you the opportunity to get some physical activity in. Take a new workout class or go for a morning jog everyday. This break is about taking care of yourself, and what better way to do that than to exercise.
The highlight of my staycation was climbing Stone Mountain. As I listened to the inspirational tunes on Chance the Rapper’s mixtape “The Coloring Book,” I was motivated to keep moving up the mountain even when I felt exhausted. It was also a place where I was able to be still and pray.
I also rented a bike and rode it along the Atlanta Beltline and Piedmont Park. There’s nothing better than feeling the wind whip pass you as you admire the beauty of your city. The Beltline is a MUST if you’re in Atlanta. It is an old railroad track turned walking trail that wraps around the city. There is interesting art along the way and it’s a good way to explore the area on foot or bike.
Be a lifelong learner
From cooking to sewing to digital marketing – there is always something new to learn. Sometimes we get so bogged down with work and our other day-to-day responsibilities that we don’t feed our brain with new information. Find something that interests you and learn more about it during your staycation. You can go to a museum or exhibit, take a class, or go to “YouTube academy”– it doesn’t matter how you do it, just make sure you learn something new during your time off.
I took a class at General Assembly about advanced social media strategies and it enlightened me on the direct that I’d like to take my career. I also attended an event at GA featuring Atlanta’s shining social media influencers and it was inspiring to hear from people who’ve built their brand online through blogging, Instagram and YouTube. Without this staycation, I wouldn’t have gotten clarity on my next chapter, so I’m thankful that I learned more about something that interested me.
Reconnect and be social
Hang with old and new friends. Meet for coffee, lunch or happy hour. Turn up at a club or bar at least once! Enjoy the people that you’re with and look to expand your circle with more people who will inspire you and help you grow.
Find time to relax, and do what you want to do
Everyday during your time off shouldn’t be jam-packed. The beauty of a staycation is that you’re able to go with the flow and follow your heart to determine what you want to do.
Give yourself an opportunity to do nothing. Take naps, sleep in some days, enjoy a nice bubble bath, binge watch a new show. Each day assess how you’re feeling and what you have the energy to do. If you’d rather relax at home than be a hometown tourist one day, than do just that. It’s YOUR staycation.
Reflect and be still
Often times, we’re busy going through the motions and the hustle and bustle of everyday life. This leaves us with no time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we want to go. Find a moment to be still during your staycation. Pray, journal, meditate and have alone time with God to get clarity and comfort on things that may be troubling you. You can learn a lot when you’re still enough to hear God speak to you.
After my staycation, I went to work feeling like a new woman! I caught up on much needed sleep, received clarity on my calling and built on life-long connections.
Definitely consider taking a staycation this year, or plan one for 2017! It may be just what you need to recharge your brilliance and prepare to slay this season in your life.
Pieces of this blog post was first published on Thought Catalog