I don’t like to make plans when I travel, besides the basic logistics of course. I like to drop in and figure things out as I go which is the best way to travel because if you’re planning your trip then you’re creating a hyped-up future that reality will fail to match up to, leaving you feeling disappointment and sad. But, if you do something new and unexpected then you can’t be disappointed since you have no expectations, and you’re forced to step outside your comfort zone and face the unknown which makes you feel scared and excited and most important: alive.
I’m going to share with you 5 spontaneous things I did this past weekend that made my trip to Austin more adventurous than I ever imagined.
Spontaneous Thing #1: Being Offered a Free Guest House
When I arrived in Austin I had no idea what to do for dinner, so I roamed 6th street (where some of the city’s best bars and restaurants are located) until I found this Argentina restaurant called Buenos Ares Cafe and spontaneously walked inside. I sat at the bar next to this middle-aged Caucasian couple. We didn’t say anything at first until I complemented the Mrs. on her turquoise metal bracelet and said that my dad used to make those when he was younger. She really liked my complement and the three of us engaged in a fun and relaxed conversation.
When I told them I was in town to see a ballet and raved about how lucky they were to have their ballet company they found that pretty cool, and seeming to like me, they willingly offered me their guest house the next time I was in town. Shocked, I politely refused, then eventually accepted their offer. I told them they had such kind and loving hearts, to which the Mrs. responded, “Well… what else is there to life?”
Spontaneous Thing #2: Getting My Palms Read
When I met my Airbnb host Angela, I didn’t expect much out of her. She was a nice, older woman. We had a polite conversation then she mentioned that she knew how to read palm and I got excited and asked her to read mine! She studied the grooves in my hands and showed me a yin yang symbol in my thumbprint and was spot on about my personality, about how creative and driven I was. We sat on my bed, well, her bed since she owned it, and talked late into the night about us motivating each other to be our best selves.
Spontaneous Thing #3: Doing Ballet
So my only planned event for the trip, seeing Peter Pan the ballet, ended up being my least favorite part of the trip. Why? Because this work was originally created by the Nashville Ballet company back in 2013 and so they had a “copyright” status on it which meant that Ballet Austin couldn’t change anything – the choreography, costumes, or production design. It was a very basic ballet and my expectations expected something more Austin-y.
Luckily, I met this girl online who agreed to go with me to the ballet. Besides making our own commentary throughout the ballet, our favorite part was during intermission when we went to this interactive gallery and learned how to do Tinkerbell’s dance moves. We stood on this platform, got up on our tippy toes, and moved side to side, fluttering our arms around like fairies as strangers were watching us. We didn’t care, we had fun! And that’s all that matters.
Spontaneous Thing #4: Finding Hidden Shrines
I told my Airbnb host I was going for a walk one morning and she offered to show me a hidden part of Willard Park nearby. With her dog, we walked on the park’s main path until she took us off the trail and into the woods. We walked for some distance, constantly going left and right until I lost all sense of direction, crossed a dry river, and eventually found the shrines (main pic in this post).
These shrines went undetected from the city for a really long time until they discovered them and tore them down, thinking it was a homeless campground, but Angela said it was never that, it was a place where you could come and be spiritual and reflective no matter your religious views. People eventually rebuilt the shrines (though not as elaborate as they used to be), and the city’s understanding about what these shrines mean and allows them to stand today.
Spontaneous Thing #5: Buying Flowers for a Relative
I was driving back home, singing along to the radio when I arrived in Dallas and had a spontaneous idea: why don’t I visit my aunt who lives in Dallas and and give her flowers for Mother’s Day! This would be a kind thing to do and I would look cool for doing it on social media. So I stopped by the Farmer’s Market and picked up a pretty plant for $5 then headed to her house, excited to surprise her Publisher Clearing House style, but she wasn’t home. The one time spontaneity worked against me!
She was out at a painting party and had she known I was coming she would’ve been there to greet me. I regretted not being able to see her, but I felt good knowing that she most likely smiled when she saw my plant on her front doorstep.
You don’t have to travel to add spontaneity in your life — of course not! You can add spontaneity in your everyday life, like changing what you eat for lunch, reading a new book, trying a new hobby or sport, or going out somewhere new in town. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something new and unexpected and outside your comfort zone if you want a more adventurous life!