Get thee from a nunnery!
January 26, 2008 11:42 PM   Subscribe

Any suggestions for places and events I could take part in to help me get out of my rut?

I have to say that I'm jealous of the places my friends and family have been. To give you two examples: my boyfriend has been to Coachella and is on a Mardi Gras float as I type, and my family has planned round-the-world trips without even asking me if I wanted to go, simply because they assumed I wouldn't want to (untrue and tremendously hurtful).

I haven't been on a real TRIP trip in a couple of years, and I'm feeling how narrow my horizons have been. Traveling is one of the biggest ways for me to feel self-sufficient; I'm not really worried about my skills and comfort, but I just haven't had a lot of chances to take a really fun break within the last few years. I just want something I can point out as a really exciting time that not everyone gets to do.

Things I have enjoyed:
--a week in Toronto at shoemaking camp (stayed with another MeFite -- hey, Jacqs)
--exploring San Francisco on a scavenger hunt
--good food! yay!
--Key West
--a place with good public transportation (this could include scooter rentals :P)

--I don't currently have a passport. There's half the problem. I'm working on it!
--I'm willing to do slightly wacky stuff, but something like Burning Man is likely not really up my alley... nothing ultra-counterculture or something that would be best enjoyed in an altered state :P
--I have a little cash and time, but not a lot. (I'm a grad student.) Something long-weekendy or a nontraditional spring break would be good, as long as it doesn't involve me working all the time -- I do want a break!

posted by Madamina to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
So, where are you located? That'll help get you more suggestions for long weekends on the cheap. Unless you're up for buying plane tickets?
posted by salvia at 11:57 PM on January 26, 2008

Response by poster: I'm in Wisconsin, and plane tickets are basically called for -- I'm tired of just driving to Chicago or the Twin Cities to get out of town.
posted by Madamina at 12:07 AM on January 27, 2008

Alright, well, here are some ideas:

Ride the bus or bike around various cities like San Francisco, Philly, NYC, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles. Seattle is cool because you can also take the ferry around. Check out Gas Works Park and the troll. In Portland, maybe go during the Village Building Convergence and get messy doing strawbale projects, or at least check out the City Repair Project's work. (Sorry, is that too countercultural?)

I ended up in Rehoboth Beach, Maryland, in January, which was absolutely the off season. The beaches were really beautiful, and silent. Equally great was Portland and the coast of Maine. It was a pretty great road trip.

Go to Telluride, Colorado in the summer. Go during the Bluegrass Festival if you can stand amazing crowds and have $250 for tickets or think you can sneak your way in or get hired on at a food booth or something. But most likely, don't go during the festival. Just walk around town, take the tram up to look at the mountain wildflowers, and see if you can spot Suri Cruise. ;)

For spring break or something, go to Zipolite, Mexico and sleep on a hammock for $3/night (uh, or that's how it was in 1998). This probably does fall into semi-countercultural, but my non-countercultural friend and I enjoyed it, too. I would bring a friend, because iirc, the logistics involved flying into Mexico City, taking a train, then a bus, then hitching a ride on the back of a pickup truck.

For stuff closer to you, there was a good AskMe thread about day trips near Chicago involving ideas like tallgrass prairies, Amish pie stuff and lakes in northern Indiana; Athens, Ohio, or Yellow Springs, Ohio, particularly in the fall, Kentucky's Red River Gorge...
posted by salvia at 2:17 AM on January 27, 2008

You might also mention to your family that you'd like to be included on those kinds of plans in the future, and that although in the past you've been reticent to include yourself in travel, you're trying to change that about yourself and their support would be appreciated.

South by Southwest is coming up very shortly, if you know anyone in Austin (sounds like hotels are already at capacity)
posted by softlord at 9:25 AM on January 27, 2008

Response by poster: The planning with family point is moot. I'm 28 and we haven't been on any family trips since... well, when they took my brother to Asia in 1998. So I basically got screwed out of that and will need to do it my own self. Fine by me.
posted by Madamina at 10:57 AM on January 27, 2008

Sign up for an overnight at the Mansfield Reformatory.

It's a former working prison where The Shawshank Redemption was filmed. You pay $50 and have free run of the entire prison from 8pm to 6am the next day. It's an absolute blast, and is definitely something that not everyone gets to do.

It's in Ohio, so coming from WI you could make a road trip weekend out of it. It costs $50 for the entire night, and the experience is only offered about once a month and sells out very quickly. I can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by madforplaid at 8:43 PM on January 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

How about New Orleans for French Quarter Fest in mid-April? It's a little more locals-oriented and less touristy than Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest. Great music and great food. When you're tired of the French Quarter, go hang out in the Faubourg Marigny (Marigny Triangle) for an even better food/music scene. In fact, you can find great places to stay in Marigny (and elsewhere, at a variety of price points) via TripAdvisor -- I'm a particular fan of the Elysian Fields Inn. Also, jetBlue goes there, so YAY.
posted by somanyamys at 7:16 AM on January 28, 2008

Is there any reason you couldn't, say, go to Coachella with your boyfriend this year?
posted by herbaliser at 12:36 PM on January 29, 2008

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