Lately, I’ve felt the need to do something new, to add a bit of thrill to my life. I think it’s easy to get caught up in a lot more work than play — it’s just how life can be at times. I came up with an idea to plan one thing every month that I haven’t done before. Something I can look forward to and involve my friends and family in; a way for me to get face time with them, stay active and get outside in nature, away from the daily grind.
There’s an article in The Atlantic called “Buy Experiences, Not Things" that talks about how it’s experiences - and looking forward to them - that give us the greatest happiness, not material things. In fact, even a bad experience, like a rained-out vacation, provides a good story, and at the very least, quality time spent together. Looking forward to an activity (it could be as simple as spending the day apple or pumpkin picking), participating in it, and then relaying the story to others, is a whole lot more interesting and beneficial, according to the article, than purchasing a new pair of boots or the latest iPhone.
It’s not necessarily a novel idea, but it can be tough to implement. One new activity a month is doable for most people (you might be doing this already!). What’s important is that you plan something that’s a challenge to you, that’s within your budget, and that’s in a pretty accessible location. Here are a few ideas from my adventures from this month and last…
What: Yoga and wine tasting at Clovis Point Wines vineyard (below) in Jamesport, NY. (The classes should start again next year when it’s warmer out. Look for information here.) I looked into other wineries in the area that offered yoga followed by a wine tasting and Clovis had the best deal with the most tastings (three of its wines).
With: My sister and our dear friend Jen.
Why it was worth it: We happened to chose the perfect Saturday in September weather-wise to head to Clovis Point. Feeling the sun on my skin, looking out at the seemingly endless vineyard stretched out before my feet, a sort of peaceful bliss settled over me.
After the yoga we got to try the three wines in the tasting room (I think we had to choose from either reds or whites). The whole thing cost $22! We felt like the tasting was just enough wine (and we had to drive), so we headed into a neighboring town, Mattituck, for lunch at Love Lane Kitchen, a cool restaurant with a homey, beach town vibe.
Taking in the view before the yoga class started.
Doing yoga in the sunshine at the winery felt so good. So did the wine after!
What: Oktoberfest and hiking at Bear Mountain, off the Palisades Parkway in Bear Mountain, NY.
With: My partner-in-crime, Tom.
Why it was worth it: By the time we arrived, in early afternoon, tons of people were at the Oktoberfest, checking out craft tables and dancing to the German band. Tom and I grabbed a beer each and ate some German-style food, like knockwurst with caramelized onions and a warm, tangy potato salad. We hiked all the way up the mountain and back down, climbing stone steps (see top photo), manuevering up inclines and encountering lots of hikers and their dogs. It probably took us two plus hours to hike to the top and then back down. (It was freezing too!)
The best part? The warm Belgian waffle with chocolate ice cream that I had as soon as we got back to the Oktoberfest. Apologies for no pictures of the waffle. Trust that it was worth the trip to Bear Mountain alone. You know how food tastes better after you’ve been doing something somewhat athletic? Yeah, that good and more. (I do realize that I just spent a paragraph talking about a waffle.)
Being in the wild makes me giddy.
I look like a small child in this picture, which is fitting, because being surrounded by nature fills me with a sort of wonder; I usually think of it as a childlike wonder. I like being able to examine a bright red leaf that’s on the dirt trail or imagine how the sprawling, bumpy hills in the distance came to be. That sense of wonder, to stop and think about the rocks and leaves and earth… I think it’s the best kind of vacation for the mind.
I hope you find yourself on adventures this month… and the next! If you don’t, then plan one. There’s nothing like fresh air and new landscapes to bring perspective to life.
Winery photographs taken by me; Bear Mountain photographs (including image at top) taken by Tom Schelling.