I want to travel but I don't want to go anywhere
June 30, 2016 4:17 PM   Subscribe

I need that mind-clearing, get-away-from-your-everyday byproduct of travel. But when I open up a trip planning site, I just get tired. I don't want to sightsee, I don't want to hike, I don't want to party. So what else can I do that I'm not thinking of?

I just want to get out of my environment. I'm slowly recovering from low-level burn out, and I know that making a break from everything usually helps. But that same burn out means that I'm not thinking very clearly about my options and also I'm probably not able to judge what sorts of things I'd enjoy.

I've considered visiting family, but that would just stress me out. And I've reached the age where my far-flung old friends have their own families now, so I can't just drop in and hang out.

Can you assist my tired mind? Money's not a problem, or time. I'd be travelling alone, but I'm comfortable with that.
posted by pot suppeck to Travel & Transportation (34 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Do one of those things where you book a now-superfluous officer's room on a transoceanic cargo ship.
posted by jeb at 4:17 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Meditative or religious retreat at a monastery or similar?
posted by praemunire at 4:19 PM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Spa vacation? Yoga or meditation retreat? International work camp thingie? Go to Penland and learn a craft?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:20 PM on June 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

Go to a resort - cool or warm depending on your preferences. And just chill! Don't sightsee, or get big on activities - unless you want. Read, relax, sit by the pool, enjoy the restaurants etc. That's what I like.
posted by ecorrocio at 4:23 PM on June 30, 2016 [20 favorites]

Train across Canada
posted by zutalors! at 4:24 PM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Take Amtrak somewhere. Watch the scenery, read a book, have a glass of wine...

Or just go to any city and check out their neighborhoods. (Does that count as "sightseeing?") Y'know, just anywhere where the architecture is much different from your city. Like, say, Philadelphia. Or San Diego.

Or fly into Denver and rent a car and go check out the Rockies. Do you like car camping? Just camp in random National Forests. Or hotels. You don't have to hike; just check out Flagstaff, Telluride, Jackson Hole, etc.
posted by salvia at 4:32 PM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

What did you used to enjoy on vacation before all the craziness overwhelmed you? IME, the things we find interesting and engaging don't really change all that much over the years. So maybe think about planning a trip that pot suppeck would have loved ten years ago, and do that. You really have no one to please or impress than pot suppeck c. 2006.
posted by DrGail at 4:32 PM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

posted by Sara C. at 4:35 PM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Spa vacation! So much fun.

There is a spa resort in the mountains that I go to with my mom every year. It is amazing. We have fancy dinners, take naps, and get facials. It rocks. I haven't gone to that particular spa alone, but I really enjoy checking into the fanciest hotel in my city for a night and using that time to just sleep, relax, read, etc.

You say money's not a problem, and you're not looking to hike or sightsee, so I don't see a reason to do this on the cheap.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 4:41 PM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Nothing pushes my reset button like a road trip. That feeling of "oh, wow, I forgot how much there still is to see in this ol' world" when you turn down the first new-to-you road. You can have a plan, or not. If you have a plan, hey, you're driving, so you can change your plan at will.

It helps to get an extreme change of scenery. If you're on the plains, go to the mountains. If you're in the mountains, go to the ocean. Make yourself do something weird or out of your comfort zone, but don't overdo it.
posted by bricoleur at 4:42 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Staycation! Load up on your favorite relaxation materials, activities, foods and drinks, and either head to a hotel in town or just stay home! If you feel motivated, you can venture out and do touristy things in your atea; if not, just relax and enjoy the break from routine and pampering yourself with all your favorites.
posted by epj at 4:49 PM on June 30, 2016

What you want is a spa or resort. Like, an adult resort where people go to lay around by the pool and read, not one where kids go to get wasted and party. About once a year I splurge on a night at an Omni spa resort on the mountains near me. I book a massage, I spend time in their mineral spring waters or lolling around poolside like a walrus, I eat good food, read, watch tv on billion thread count sheets, sit around a fire pit and eaves drop on strangers conversations while sipping an after dinner cordial. It's great.
posted by soren_lorensen at 5:01 PM on June 30, 2016 [11 favorites]

Like someone mentioned above you can try a meditation retreat. There is a 10-day Vipassana retreat that will "resets" people when they do it. Although, you will feel the effect after, but it is worth it!
posted by iliketothinknu at 5:08 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Head to an all inclusive resort and chill. Hang out in a hammock, in a lounge chair, or nekkid in clean, crisp hotel sheets. All inclusive will mean that you don't have to decide about much of anything once you're there.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 5:20 PM on June 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

Do you like the beach? In February, my husband and I went to Waikiki Beach and did nothing but hike Diamondhead, yoga at the hotel, eat, sleep, and chill on the beach. I'm happy being a beach bum with a book but the hardest decisions we made on that trip were where to eat and all of the food we had was good. That's my new happy place.
posted by kat518 at 5:25 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Rent a beach/lake/mountain house and don't do anything. I'm a big fan of hammock time. Read, if you like doing that.
posted by fedward at 5:30 PM on June 30, 2016 [4 favorites]

When I need this, I pick a really cool place to stay on VRBO/Homeaway/AirBnB that is an interesting drive away and has a good kitchen, and a pool if applicable. I spend a lot of time cooking, reading/writing, soaking up being by myself if it's a husband-free trip. I find it very restorative.

If you happen to be in/near SoCal, MeMail me and I'll see if I still have the link for the awesome place I stayed in Joshua Tree.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:31 PM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would probably do one of these things:

--Go to Washington D.C. and visit the Smithsonian (which is not just one museum, but 19 plus a zoo.) I'd visit a different museum each day and have dinner at a different restaurant every night.

--Pick a random small town/rural area with nice weather and pretty scenery - somewhere touristy enough to have hotels or rental cottages - and fly or drive there with a stack of books and no plans.

--Get into my car and drive off with no clear destination, stopping whenever I felt like it. If I got to a place I liked well enough I'd stop and spend the rest of my vacation there.

My sister would probably go on a cruise. It seems like that might be a reasonable choice for you.
posted by Redstart at 5:36 PM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Just go somewhere and hang out. For my wife's birthday last year, we spent s weekend at a B&B in a little community on Lake Erie. We just walked around and hung out, not really doing anything. It was a ton of fun. If you have time, you could fly somewhere instead. It sounds like just being physically somewhere besides your home will have the desired effect. Maybe just pick a cheap city and fly there. Figure out what to do once you're there.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:42 PM on June 30, 2016

I'd go someplace with good public transit, find a bookstore, buy a book, find a coffee shop, and read the book. I have pursued this strategy successfully in Philadelphia recently (with bonus gelato and mussels), but many major cities will suit.
posted by yarntheory at 5:49 PM on June 30, 2016 [3 favorites]

> Rent a beach/lake/mountain house and don't do anything.

This. Our favorite place to travel to is Sea Ranch, which is a couple hours north of San Francisco. You rent a house. You go to Gualala (the town just north) for groceries. Then you come back to your rental and sit on the deck with your feet on the railing and look at the trees/ocean/meadow. The big decisions every day are: walk north or south on the bluff trails? Get in the hot tub before or after (or during, or all) having coffee? In the evening, make a simple supper and build a fire in the wood stove or fireplace.

That's it. There is nothing else to do except take scenic drives up or down the coast. It's glorious to feel so unobligated to Do The Things.
posted by rtha at 6:09 PM on June 30, 2016 [24 favorites]

I found a spa/resort retreat to be an excellent antidote to burnout.

And if you are not a spa/retreat kind of person, go someplace you have always wanted to visit but have never been. Read. Watch movies. Find a park nearby and dream. Eat an indulgent meal. Spend hours in a coffee shop, surfing the Internet.

The beauty of vacations is that you can do what you want. And that includes going someplace unfamiliar and doing nothing at all.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 7:11 PM on June 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

When I went to Dublin this past fall, I just did whatever the hell I felt like. If I wanted to shop, I shopped. Eat at a restaurant? Sure. Go visit other cities? Yep. Ride the train up the coast and go look around? Why not.

You don't have to "do" specific travel-y things in order to enjoy your trip.
posted by Autumnheart at 7:13 PM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Pick a place with nice scenery. Get a hotel room with a view of that scenery and a balcony. Go there. When you get there, sit on your balcony and read or nap or stare at the scenery. Sometimes you'll need to eat something. I did this in Maine when I was in your exact position and it was exactly what I needed.
posted by Mavri at 7:18 PM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Go stay in a resort somewhere you've always wanted to go or heck just go to the nearest one in your area if the idea of air travel has you down (lord knows it puts me off going on vacation). If you feel up for it while there go on a a few nice organised tours to actually see the place, or if not stay at the resort & sit by the pool & have your biggest decision be if you should have a margarita or a pina colada with lunch. There is nothing wrong with going somewhere with nice weather & staying at a resort, you don't have to see all or any of the things.

Cruises also fit this bill as you get travel & accommodation all in one.
posted by wwax at 8:05 PM on June 30, 2016

Pay no attention to what other people do on vacations, like sight-seeing or lying in the sun. I like cities and towns versus resorts and the countryside. My perfect vacation is just plunking myself down in an unfamiliar place....walking around, looking, having good coffee (maybe at the same place every day). Eating good food, whether it's sold on the street or in a restaurant. Just being away can recharge you. It gives you perspective, even if you're just observing how people live in a different locale.

If you like to read, then read, even if it's in your hotel room. There's nothing wrong with being in a richly layered city like Rome or New York and just reading and eating the local specialties. You can do the same in Minneapolis or Chicago.

Once you decide on a place, you can evaluate the sight-seeing opportunities. Maybe you'll decide to visit one or two, or maybe none. People will ask what you did on your vacation...just say you observed the locals, or soaked up the atmosphere.

I'm going to London in a few weeks. I plan to go to some grocery stores; go to a movie; shop for ordinary, everyday shoes; take walks in residential neighborhoods; see if there are any shops related to my hobby. Who the hell would go to a major city and waste a vacation in such a way? To me it will be very interesting and refreshing. Ignore the usual approaches in your own way. Think about what you like to do at home and consider doing all that somewhere else. If you think you might feel awkward explaining it to friends later, practice so you're be ready.
posted by wryly at 8:51 PM on June 30, 2016 [2 favorites]

Let me suggest: not traveling. I was on medical leave for two weeks earlier this year and was essentially banned from going to work or doing anything strenuous. Except - I was encouraged to get out and walk around slowly to help recuperate.

It was the most liberating two weeks I've ever had; a vacation without leaving my city. I got up at midday, I took a slow walk to buy bread, I came home and taught myself to cook perfect poached eggs. I didn't feel guilty; I didn't try to do the hundred chores that had piled up; I didn't try to achieve anything productive; I just did everything at my pace. I treated getting well like it was my job. After two weeks I was ready to go back, and I was (and remain!) much more chill than I ever was before.

So don't feel like you need to go anywhere, if all you actually want is a break. Just give yourself permission not to do anything and cut yourself off for two weeks.
posted by citands at 12:09 AM on July 1, 2016 [6 favorites]

There are a few ways to do round-the-world plane tickets that might work for you here since you are so flexible in terms of budget and time.

Many people with limited time or budgets might obsess about getting in the maximum number of destinations, but you can do a minimum number of destinations and still have a great time with a simple booking. All three major alliances let you book online now, and all three alliances' tickets are flexible - call your airline up mid-journey or pop into a local office and they'll change your itinerary for you. Tickets are usually valid for a whole year!

Star Alliance

A sample itinerary that's pretty easy to autopilot and wouldn't require much planning (I mean, you could go tomorrow, without a visa, to any of these places), and that you could do on any of these tickets, might be something like:

- leave US, fly across Pacific to Japan
- hang out in Tokyo for a while, maybe see some stuff you like, maybe just eat everything
- when you decide to move on, head for somewhere else like Thailand or maybe Burma
- explore, or not - head to the beach? mountains?
- head to Europe, sort of irrelevant where as it's all so close to each other - somewhere sunny might be nice if you go this fall/winter, somewhere cooler if you're going next week
- have some great coffee and pastries and sun yourself on a piazza/smell the rye bread and admire the pine-forested hillside from your cabin
- head home

This might seem like a lot of flying, but again, it really only need be four days of flying: home-place 1-place 2-place 3-home. Maybe you take a boat or an internal flight to chill out for a week on Crete or Ishigaki if you are an island person.

You could possibly something like this even cheaper by buying two open-jaw tickets:

home to place 1/place 1 to place 2
place 2 to place 3/place 3 to home

...but then you're in more normal-ticket territory without the benefits of the flexibility a RTW ticket gives you.

As far as accommodation goes, this is the kind of trip where AirBnB might really come into its own - you don't need much other than a place to rest your head and a safe place for your things. Hostels, if you wanted to meet other people but still have your own space, often have private rooms.
posted by mdonley at 1:09 AM on July 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Rtha and fedward - yes. OP - I'm in a similar situation right now. I love traveling but at this moment I need some time to myself to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I've booked 5 days at a hotel with a sea view and a kitchenette and a bath and WiFi for Netflix. Theoretically i won't need to leave the hotel room. I probably will, for walks on the beach, and day trips. But I don't have to. And that makes me feel safe and relaxed just thinking about it.
posted by finding.perdita at 2:05 AM on July 1, 2016

Once every couple of years, this stressed-out single mum feels the same way. So I book a motel in my nearest city (usually via Wotif mystery hotel deals, because I don't care where I'm going), I pack a couple of books and some needlework, and I just chill by myself. I usually end up eating at interesting places, sometimes seeing a show or a movie because it's nearby and I've always kinda thought I might like to see that, and having conversations with total strangers on the street, because I have time and I'm not stressed and I don't have to be at point A by B o'clock.

The most relaxing part is I don't plan anything. I do whatever I want, whenever I want. I don't have to cater to anyone else's wants or needs. I get time to just be Malibu, not Malibu's kids' mum or Malibu's employers Senior Customer Service Officer or Malibu's parents' daughter. If I feel like sleeping until 11, I do. If I feel like ordering room service, I do. If I feel like stocking up on yoghurt and fruit and just eating it with no regard to 'normal' mealtimes, I do.

And I come home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. I can't recommend it highly enough. Book somewhere to sleep and don't plan anything else.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:14 AM on July 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

If money is no object, I would choose a little hill town in Italy (like Sienna) and just go soak it in and plan nothing except wandering around and eating good food and rereading your favorite books. Or book an all inclusive resort in Mexico and ignore all thoughts of authenticity...just hang out at the hotel pool, get a massage, etc.
posted by rainbowbrite at 7:25 AM on July 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I throw my hat in with the suggestion to just AirBnB a flat in a city you think you'd like, and then spend your days going to cafes, restaurants, parks, and shops (in walking or very close public transport distance!). Pretend you live somewhere else. Spend the week becoming a regular at a coffee shop near where you're staying. eat good bread and good butter every day. Sleep in. Stay somewhere where you don't have to do your own laundry.

I find this to be the perfect rejuvination vacation. It's just different enough from home to feel like a "reset" -- but isn't strenuous and doesn't require much by way of planning.
posted by sazerac at 8:09 AM on July 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Since you say money's not an issue, how about booking a flight to Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, getting a cab to the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, and staying in an oceanview or oceanfront room for a week? This would be your view from a room like this or this. All you need is a good book and a willingness to call room service when you're hungry.

If you need a change of scenery, walk downstairs and grab a hammock or a cabana on the oceanfront lawn instead. Or eat an enormous brunch on the patio at Manta.

Then, if you feel reinvigorated partway through the trip, or you get tired of sitting on your deck and reading/staring at the ocean/napping (I'm not sure that's possible, but speaking hypothetically), talk to the concierge. I'm sure they can set you up with pretty much anything you'd like to do (and help you figure out what you might like to do), including golf, snorkeling, scuba, seeing Manta rays, drives around the Island including to waterfalls/Volcanoes National Park/the Mauna Kea Observatory. Or you can use the pool/exercise room/yoga classes/restaurants/etc. at the resort.

I mean, obviously do whatever you want, wherever you want. But if you are having trouble making decisions because you're burnt out, here's a specific suggestion, with very few decisions required :)

My husband and I did a version of this last year at Mauna Kea (with a little more planning, since we rented a car, drove around the Island, etc.). The best part of the trip was just hanging out at the hotel near the ocean, listening to the waves, and reading. And we're not even hotel/resort people!

Good luck!
posted by bananacabana at 12:50 PM on July 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm still recovering from burn-out but I did this cruise up and down the coast of Norway (previously recommended to me here on the green) and it was incredibly restorative. I didn't have to think about much other than which excursions I wanted to sign up for, everything was taken care of, I was fed three times a day with really good food, and the landscape was mindblowingly soothing and restful and beautiful.
posted by raw sugar at 1:35 PM on July 1, 2016 [4 favorites]

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