I’d been thinking about a trip to San Francisco to visit my friends for a few weeks, but it wasn’t until the weekend before I actually decided do it.
I hadn’t put too much thought into it, but the following weekend was the fourth of July. So booked last minute flights, hopped on a plane and headed to the opposite side of the country.
I had no idea how to get from the airport to my friends’ apartment or what I even wanted to do in San Francisco. That’s the beauty of spontaneity. Sure the flights were expensive, but going to a new city with no plan can be better than having every minute fully planned in advance.
Going somewhere on a whim forces you out of your comfort zone. Forces you to get creative and explore places you might have otherwise shied away from.
Now I will say there was a little planning to my madness. I knew I wanted to do some active tour and looked at a few. I did, however, wait till the night before to snag the last spot in the Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours’ The Classic tour.
One of my favorite things to do in a new city is some sort of biking, walking or kayaking tour. They allows you too be thrown into the life of that city. More than those touristy double-decker buses (I’ve done lots of those, but active tours are better in my opinion.)
I knew next to nothing about the tour before booking it, just decided to go with my gut… and boy was I right. The tour was fantastic. We explored many of San Francisco’s famous neighborhoods and got to see it all through the eyes of a local. Not to mention all the little quirks and history the guides knew about each neighborhood.
The unplanned is one of my favorite parts of traveling you never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll see.
Nine Rewards of Being Spontaneous in a New Place
1. Keeps you on your toes
Not knowing what’s going to happen next keeps your mind sharp. You need to be alert and open to respond to whatever situation comes your way.
2. Elevates everyday stress
It gives you a break from the stresses that you deal with on a day to day basis. Sure there are other stresses that come with the unknown, but it’s refreshing to escape the usual stress.
3. Forces you out of monotony of routine
It’s a break from your everyday life. It’s different, new and exciting. It’s what keeps life interesting and worth living. It may not be for everyone, but most people I know enjoy the hiatus from their routine every now and then.
4. Learn about yourself
Spontaneous trips are a great way to get a better feel about who you are. There’s nothing like being thrown out of your comfort zone in a city you’ve only seen in photos to unmask your strengths and weaknesses.
5. Work on your character
Take me for example, I’m trying to get more comfortable meeting and talking to new people. By putting myself in a situation where there’s no one I know, forces me to talk to new people. Now, I did have my friends with me most of the trip, but the bike tour and travel days I was on my own. The only people to talk to were the people I’ve never met.
6. Confidence booster
There’s nothing quite like being thrown into an unknown city with no plan to boost your confidence. Even the most minuscule things from figuring out the local public transit to finding a cool spot to boost your self-confidence. Those little victories do wonders for one’s confidence.
7. Own your time
When you have no plan, you are completely in control of how you spend your time. It’s up to you and gives you the opportunity to reclaim your time on this earth. No deadlines. No meetings. Open to anything.
8. Helps creativity
It’s been proven that in order to improve creativity you need to experience new things. Creativity is all about connecting your knowledge and experiences in new ways; best way to expand your creativity: gain more knowledge and more new experiences.
9. Step out of your comfort zone
I enjoy going to new places, but I’m not very comfortable being in a new city I know nearly nothing about. I have to step out, be a bit uncomfortable and push myself. Otherwise, I’d just spend the entire trip in my hotel room watching Netflix.