3 Ways to Shake the Funk and Have Fun This Summer
Alright. We've just gone from piles of homework, exams, long work weeks, and loads responsibilities to... summer. It all just happened so fast!
Whether your summer looks like a huge blank canvas or a tattered old rag that's still attempting to hide under piles of work, stress, and last year's sweaters, we can't wait to help you make the most of it. I wrote out three fun ways to jump-start the hibernating brain and get it ready for a summer full of travel, excitement, and energy. Trust me, we're figuring this out right alongside you.
Make a Schedule
This may seem a bit paradoxical—you’re probably yelling, “Having fun doesn’t involve a schedule, and making a schedule isn’t fun!”—but I promise, this is an all play, no work schedule! This summer, we wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t fall into the cycle of laziness like we often do when we’re gifted an abundance of free time. Over the years, we’ve found that it becomes really difficult to stay productive without a little structure. The brain really likes to weasel out of responsibility, even if that responsibility involves traveling, having fun, and staying active. To counter my brain's desire to nap for startlingly long periods of time, Andrew and I decided to make a commitment: Take 8,000 steps a day, minimum, and go on a small trip once a week. This small trip can be anything from hiking a trail we’ve never been hiked, to a full-fledged camping trip, road trip, or weekend getaway.
Sadly, for most people, the end of the semester doesn’t always signify the end of hard work—I think this may be the case for the majority of students and full-time employees or employers. That being said, this schedule should be tailored to fit your needs! For us, once a week is totally doable, but everybody has different responsibilities. Just make sure your new schedule keeps you active and challenges your normal routine. Winter was the time for hot cocoa, blankets and Netflix… Summer is the time for reading in the park, taking the dog out for a walk, and being spontaneous with those fleeting free weekends!
Take Advantage of Every Spare Moment
I am no stranger to long, busy days. I am so blessed to say that I was recently able to switch jobs, and I now work much less than I did just half a year ago. Even so, for a good portion of my high school career and on through college I was working quite a lot. It was extremely hard to stay motivated at that time. I would go to school in the morning, study, spend an hour or two with Andrew, then head straight to work. Although it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, it felt like I was circling down a tiring, redundant drain. Summer was always the shining light at the end of the tunnel during that time. It meant that at least half of my day could be spent enjoying my own hobbies, passions, friends and family. It meant having energy! Which, honestly, I rarely have.
I’ve learned now that feeling good during the workweek, appreciating the summer break, and getting the most out of the day all cohere when you try to make the most of every free hour. My days are still busy. I chalk them full of various plans, personal obligations, and odd jobs. The only difference now is that I am aware of the time I used to waste, and I’m changing that. I’m convinced that my “falling down the drain” feelings partially stemmed from my failure to be productive in those off hours. I wouldn’t feel like going outside, working on my hobbies, or moving out of my comfort zone, so I wouldn’t. I would lounge around and worry about my next shift, even if it wasn’t for a day or two. Now, despite those unsquashable worries, I force myself to go outside and enjoy nature. I force myself to write, to read, to watch educational videos and listen to inspiring podcasts. Then, eventually, I don't have to force myself anymore, and I begin to feel great! I’m certainly not perfect. Sometimes the worry catches up with me, but I am always trying with all my might to push past it and utilize every free hour I have for productivity, fun, and travel. That active effort alone can help revitalize any work-weary mind, and awaken anyone to a day they are in charge of—to a life they choose to live.
In summation, if your summer isn't all sun, all surf, and all fun all-the-time, that's okay. Work with it. Work around it. Make a point to relax, travel, and enjoy these beautifully sunny days!
Travel doesn’t have to be a rich man’s game—it doesn’t solely exist on some tropical island with chilled martinis, bikinis, and endless sunshine. Hell, Andrew and I absolutely love traveling, and my first official “martini/bikini” vacation is coming up this summer! In reality, travel can be as simple as you make it. For instance, you can “travel” to a local festival you’ve never heard of, or spend the day in a neighboring town, learning about and experiencing new foods, people, sights, and traditions. Orange County alone has a million-and-one events going on at all times, day and night. With this in mind, our grand advice to the jaded traveler would be to peruse a local events calendar, take a chance, and unabashedly attend some fantastic events! Andrew and I often pass the time this way. We scroll through the weekly announcements with a twenty dollar bill in hand, trying to find something cheap and fun to pass the time. This method helped us discover the OC Winter festival, the Tet festival (Vietnamese New Year), the OC night market(s), the Bowers museum, and the Dia De Los Muertos festival, just to name a few. Those experiences were so valuable in times of travel stasis, when we were too bogged down with work and school to secure a free weekend. Many communities have monthly event calendars just like ours, and we hope those festivals prescribe just the right amount of travel-supplement to get you through the week.
Big News! If any of you wonderful travelers are interested in finding their groove this summer working internationally, check out Search Jobs Abroad! They can help you discover fascinating jobs located all over the globe, and personally, if I wasn't halfway through college right now I'd be applying like mad. Click the link above to check it out!
Huge thanks to Search Jobs Abroad for sponsoring this article, and HUGE thanks to you for reading! I plan to update our Instagram, @thebusyratstravel, with our weekly outings all summer long. Keep us accountable, and let us know what your fundule (schefun? There is no good combination for "fun" and "schedule") looks like in the comment section!