Memories of past vacation locations dancing in my mind, from New York City, West Virginia, and Milwaukee to Minnesota, Salt Lake City and Wyoming, bring me the excitement of new places for the senses to find delight in. But with unemployment still too high and travel challenging, many of us may keep our adventures closer to home right now.
The trick, I find, especially in visiting the wonderful places that we all know and love here on this God-blessed peninsula, is to see them in fresh and creative ways. One way you may have experienced as a kid in the schoolyard can be applied to any of our natural wonders. It entails one person being blind-folded while a partner verbalizes directions for the hiking and/or adventure. Depending on those involved, you can be more or less elaborate with this game.
For true thrill-seekers, this exploration of the mind can start from the minute you pack food, water and weather-appropriate supplies into the car.
The less adventurous may need to wait until arriving at the final destination before being blind-folded. Either way, the process can provoke much laughter, excitement and anticipation for both the sightless and storyteller alike. If more than one set of partners is involved, be certain to have someone oversee the entire group for safety’s sake. Keeping the person in suspense is a great imagination developer for young ones and being the description person helps verbalization skills while improving communication skills for all involved.
Another fun and creative way to enjoy local hotspots is to pack some art supplies, such as glue, cardboard, tape, crayons or charcoal. When you get to that beautiful spot, lay out a warm blanket, pull out the tools and knick-knacks, then have everyone create what they see or are inspired to create using the gifts nature supplies such as sticks, leaves, snow, ice, stones, etc., depending upon the season, with the help of the supplies you brought. Remember, everything is perfect, as this isn’t being graded for artistic abilities, rather enjoyed for what the surroundings evoke in each individual.
Then, while eating if you choose, each person can share their creation and what inspired them to make it. Keeping it casual and offering praise can get the ball rolling on this insightful adventure. Substituting musical instruments for the art supplies can be an interesting alternative. You can have the group come up with a song, rhyme or rap about what they’re seeing or experiencing, or just freestyle it for awhile, grooving to the beauty of the day. Even sticks, stones and body parts can become great percussion instruments in the moment!
Being flexible and going with the flow are two very important ingredients for all of these creative ways of experiencing some of our old favorite places anew.
Kevin McGrath can often be found driving down the highway of life blindfolded.
Adapted with permission from the Fall 2011 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.